Is (W)hole about me?

My first novel, (W)hole, went through a lovely promotion earlier this month which got it exposure to a much wider audience than normal. I think most of the people reading the book have been other devs or people with disabilities who have heard of devs and are curious.

With the promotion, I think most of the readers are people who are curious and intrigued by the highly unusual subject of the book, but may have never heard of it before.

I got a new review at Amazon that I found really interesting. Two things stood out to me about it.

“My only complaint is that the book is written clearly for an audience who is into this fetish and because of this, it is a bit too technical, especially early on, with the ins and outs of this fetish. I visited the author’s website and after doing so, it seems to me the book is more of a fictional biography.”

First, I was surprised by calling it technical. I did not realize that. It wasn’t my intention to create a “how-to guide” (as another part of the review said). The intention that I had when writing (W)hole was to explore and expose to the light this unusual sexuality. Not the best intention for writing a book, probably. It wasn’t just entertainment that I had in mind. I wanted non-dev people to come to a better understanding of sexuality by reading it. So there is an element of propaganda to it. I think I’ve improved on that score! I hope, anyway.

It is a manifesto, in a way. But I never saw it as technical. I find it very emotional, but I’m too close to it. And I’m not sure I would recommend handling one’s devness the way that Elizabeth does! Keeping it a secret from the man she dates is something that I don’t condone, for example. I’ve never kept my sexuality secret from any man that I’ve dated, whether disabled or non.

The second thing is the “fictional biography.”

I would say that is somewhat true. Elizabeth is not me. But she is extremely similar to me. We have a lot in common, more than just both being devotees. I’ve always said that the facts of the story are entirely fictional, but the emotions are the truth.

I did not have a boyfriend like Stewart. I didn’t date at all until I was 19 and didn’t date a disabled man until I was 26.  The review mentions the masturbation scene in the first chapter. I never tried that until I was 22. Elizabeth’s family is not like my family. I had some issues with sex that are very different from her issues. Her experiences are different from mine, but her self-analysis and the struggles she has psychologically with devness are all me.

(W)hole was written as my explanation.

Now that I have it, I can write the romances and erotic short stories with disabled heroes with characters that are not based on me and my life at all. But I felt that before I could start putting those stories out, I needed to have a book that drew back the curtain and explained why I am telling those stories.

It’s a strange book that doesn’t really fit well in any category. I’ve never known how to categorize it and I’m not that happy that it ends up being called a romance, but there doesn’t seem to be a better place for it. I do hope that it will continue to spread and allow new people to learn about devs and to see life from our perspective at least long enough to learn that one does not have to be afraid of us or horrified by us.

(W)hole is about me, even though it is almost entirely fictional.

1 Comment

  1. I often find it entertaining to read book reviews, especially on a site like Amazon. You so often will see reviews of people who clearly completely misunderstood the book.

    I personally am not sure why this particularly reviewer saw the book as too “technical.” I don’t think it was at all – and this is someone who comes from a medical background.

    As far as being a “strange book” that doesn’t fit one category – how is this a bad thing? Shouldn’t all writers strive to create their own categories instead of limiting themselves to one checkbox? (W)hole is a coming of age story, a romance, but it’s also more than that. How is that a bad thing?

    As far as it being “about you” – every story a writer writes, no matter how far the characters or plot may seem from their own life and personality is essentially about them. It’s inevitable.

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