There are plenty of books, some extremely successful, about autistic people; they can and do make a useful plot device. But I’ve yet to see a work of fiction written by someone who is herself ‘out’ on the spectrum.
Vian and Madelin are no more autistic than I am. They don’t conform to the Aspie stereotype, but then hardly any Aspies do. Some of us are no more confounded than anyone else when the local supermarket decides to revamp its layout, or we get sent round the houses by a flood diversion on the road, or a backfire makes us jump out of our skin. We’re not all meticulously tidy, we don’t all have to have our food carefully arranged on the plate, we’re not all brilliant programmers.
But I did recently get my diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and the general feeling was ‘that explains a lot’. It explains why my comfort zone so often evaporates unexpectedly; why I haven’t had a career even though I’ve got three degrees; why I still blow it, time and time again; why I’ve always wondered whether I’m spiritually disabled.
The trilogy is my attempt to sort it all out for myself. The first two books have practically written themselves; once I established Vian’s post-apocalyptic situation, they just flowed out on to the page in four months. The second book needs a bit more tidying up, and will be out soon. So far I’m in familiar territory; the third book will venture into the unknown. But like the others, I expect it will make itself up as it goes along.