My Autistic Perspective as an Author

Tomorrow is #WorldAutismAwarenessDay, and I thought it was fitting to write a post about that on the day I send my next novel to my editor. Because I’m rarely so autistic as I am after I’ve finished a big project. 

It happens the moment I click save and send it off. Like a flip of a switch, the research brain that’s been running on fumes with 74 open tabs begins to power down, and I find myself sitting on the couch with a Coke Zero, staring off into space, without the ability to grasp what’s going on in my head. My thoughts become jumbled, exhaustion kicks in, and I become hypersensitive to new impressions. 

This is the wrong time to ask me what’s for dinner, because chances are I won’t be able to make up my mind and I’ll just start crying instead. Which sounds way more dramatic than it is; it’s just how decompression works for me. I need space, and I need quiet to untangle the mess in my noggin’. 

At times, it almost feels like I’m drunk. I get sluggish and a bit dopey. 🙂 Because it’s a release too. All the tension from intense work starts to fade away, and that’s definitely a nice feeling!

I do wish I was better at sharing personal thoughts about this on social media sometimes, not necessarily for my own sake, but because I know there are many undiagnosed people out there who grow up thinking there’s something wrong with them. That was me for the longest time, until I was in my twenties. I process things differently, whether it’s humor or grief, my daily schedule or my long-term goals in life, the news or music I’ve listened to, etcetera. I compartmentalize like a pro, and it’s a coping mechanism to keep my organized chaos somewhat tidy. 

Different doesn’t equal wrong, though. Sure, there are things that get lost in translation with neurotypical people, but mishaps are part of life. It’s partly why I enjoy writing autistic characters, because it gives me a chance to journal my own experiences behind the face of a character. So while I may not often share personal thoughts on Facebook, there’s truth in every fictional character I produce. A bit of it, anyway! It’s also a way to show readers how autistic persons might process something, or how some of us reach certain conclusions. 

An added bonus, a humbling one, is having readers reach out to me—often mothers of autistic children—who worry about the future. Parents want their kids to grow up happy and have the same opportunities as everyone else, of course. Find love, work, friends, and so on. Things that no one can ever promise anyone—but the scenarios we paint, those of us who write autistic characters in contemporary fiction, can at least show possibilities. We can, to an extent, bridge a gap between questions and answers, worries and hopes. And that’s pretty cool to me.

Of course, this is still fiction. While I think extensive research is the backbone to any good book, I’m not one of those who demand 100% accuracy in every portrayal. Sometimes I stumble upon posts on Facebook and Twitter where people more or less lose their shit over something they’ve read, and they found it entirely unrelatable. Yeah, well. Someone else might relate. I’ve read autistic characters that make me cock an eyebrow and go, “Yeah, right!” But you know, we’re not all the same. Far from it. Not everyone will relate to my characters either. They’re not meant to. I’d like for my characters to stand on their own, and if someone finds themselves nodding along and thinking, hey, I’m just like that, it’s another bonus. 

My point is, I appreciate authors who want to challenge themselves and write something new. They don’t need to know someone with autism, they don’t have to be autistic, just give it a go. Research and write your heart out. To me, intentions matter.

Awareness is always good. It leads to discussions and open debates. 

It leads to more perspectives. 

This is just mine.

xo,

Cara

Exclusive Content from Cara (Plus a new release!)

Hi there! 

I’ve copy-pasted my newsletter here today, because I wanted y’all to get a look at the changes I’m introducing. Because, free outtakes and stuff. So here goes!

Starting right now, my newsletter will look a little different. You’ll receive an update from me once a month—no more, no less—and you can count on exclusive content. For instance, every newsletter will have a free outtake from one of my books! Or rather, from the couples I write about. Sometimes it’ll be a one-page shorty, sometimes a 30-page monstrosity 😉 More often than not, somewhere in between.

But first! A hot, spankin’ new release that goes live tomorrow, on Nov 19. Available for preorder!

MM | Autism in Romance | Roleplay | Age Difference | Standalone
Nicky Fender retired from sex work two years ago and never looked back. Then an offer he can’t refuse comes his way, and he agrees to one last exclusive arrangement. But when he meets Gideon, this older, smoking hot, uncertain, filthy, autistic businessman on a quest to explore his sexuality, Nicky wishes sunrise would never come.


Available in Kindle Unlimited!

Join us for release day shenanigans in my Facebook group on November 19-20! You can find my group here.

Nicky and his brother are musicians, and they have their own playlist on Spotify. You can follow it right here.

Before I unleash the first outtake on y’all, I just wanted to mention that I’m currently working on several projects, including Kellan and Shannon’s story (an MM standalone spinoff from the This Life Universe,) the next book for Gray and Darius, a secret project, and an MF titled Her All Along. If you’re a fan of Darius in the Auctioned Series, not to mention the rest of the Quinn family, Her All Along will give you a big glimpse into their past. But more on that later!

Here’s your first outtake, and I will see you in the next newsletter, which will be about the release of River and Reese’s taboo prequel. Speaking of River and Reese…

Okay, so here’s where the outtake goes, but if you wanna read it, you’ll find it in my newsletter right here. And to make sure you don’t miss the future outtakes, you can subscribe here!

One last thing before I go. My web shop is live again. Until next time!

Allowing myself to be proud

We have an unwritten rule and a culture in Sweden that’s so deeply imbedded in us that it always catches me off guard when I see authors promoting their own work. This rule, this culture, states, not-so-roughly translated, don’t believe you’re better than anyone else.

We’re not supposed to toot our own horn and boast about anything where the credit belongs to us.

You have to be modest, and it’s like that old…

“I love your shirt!”

“Oh, this old thing?” It’s brand new. “It was on sale.” It cost half a freaking fortune.

It goes without saying that I absolutely suck at promoting myself, and it’s been a problem since I started publishing. It just wasn’t something that was encouraged when I grew up. It’s a stupid culture, and I’m trying to let go of some of it. Because you know what? I’m proud of the characters I create in my head. I’m proud of the universes I build, and I’m proud of the work I put in when I research and keep track of all the tiny details.

The Game Series is a new universe. It’s The Touch Seres 2.0, not necessarily new and improved but certainly heavier and more developed. This kinkster community gets their freak on in DC, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂

Top Priority was the first novella, a prologue of sorts, yet it stands on its own. It centers around Lucas and Colt, two Daddy Doms who fall for each other despite the fact that their kinks don’t match. And now…the second book. Their Boy went live today(!), and we meet Lucas and Colt once more, this time from Kit’s point of view. It can also be fully enjoyed as a standalone; you don’t need Lucas and Colt’s background story.

Tattooed bearded male sits on a chair.

Left all alone in the world—and in a very big house—after the loss of his parents, Kit Damien has struggled to find his place in society and in the kink community he longs to be a more active part of.

Daddy Doms Colt and Lucas have been a happy, committed couple for eight years. But two Tops need a bottom, and their quest for a Little to make their lives complete has led them to Kit’s empty doorstep.

But just as with his physical wounds, Kit’s emotional scars won’t heal overnight. Colt and Lucas must challenge him at every turn to force him to open up and let them in, to let them use their own individual methods to make him whole again. Together, the three will embark on a journey to learn about true love, growing up, the importance of sprinkles, and the rules of The Game that can make them all winners.

UNIVERSAL AMAZON LINK

So here’s me, promoting myself, and if Daddykink and triads are your jam, you should totally give Their Boy a chance.

*hyperventilates*

Nailed it!

As I write my book, I think some crazy shit

I’m going to focus. Concentrate. Hard. I’m going to write this bitch so good. I see the scene in my head, the one that will end up somewhere in the middle of the book where the hero shoves the heroine up against the wall and growls “I’m done pretending” before kissing her until her panties are ruined. Y’all know that scene. I see it, so I’m going to focus. Concentrate. Hard. I wonder how different the scene would look if I wrote heroin instead of heroine…

Focus!

*puts on headphones and stares at empty document.*

A familiar sight. New chapter. I should upgrade from Office 2003, but I hate change so much that… I just don’t like change. To some, it’s a regular personality trait. To some, it’s autism. It’s been a while since I went on Pinterest to look for Aspie memes…

Fuck, now I lost concentration. I’ll just play Blossom Blast on my phone for ten minutes, and then I’ll be ready to write this bitch. So. Good.

Ten minutes is silly, though. I have five lives; I might as well stick it through until I can’t. I’m no quitter!

*plays Blossom Blast.*

A human interrupts me. “You hungry?”

I glare at him. Can’t he see I’m busy? “I’m working! How many times do I have to tell you that when I’m wearing my headphones, I’m busy–”

He points to my phone. “It doesn’t look like work.”

I suppress a sigh. He wouldn’t understand. Muggle.

“I’m not hungry,” I say, returning to my Blossom Blast game.

I run out of lives and rub my hands together. Then I lose track of time as I write my next masterpiece. Oh it’s going to be so good. My hero’s past is tragic. He doesn’t have any parents. They died because I don’t want to write them. Boring. Now I don’t have to include them. I don’t have to think about them. There won’t be any in-between takes where he goes to visit his folks, no boring phone calls from his mother. It’s really easy to kill off parents in books.

*tilts head.*

I wonder how many orphans there are in fiction. Many. Do other writers kill them off for the same reason? Or just to build up the hero’s tragic past? Ugh. This is not original. Maybe mine will simply be a bitter bastard, not because he lost his folks but because…um. Oy, this is getting complicated.

*kills off parents.*

There. Done.

“How was work, hon?”

“Good, I killed some people.”

I have five lives on Blossom Blast again!

I get to the next level before I’m out of lives. It was a good break. I check the time and wonder where the time went. Shit. Well, I did refill the lives a couple times… A two hour break is perfectly fine, because now I’m ready to write this bitch so good.

Two paragraphs later, I’m hungry like whoa. I’m also stuck, so it’s best to take a break again. I cook dinner and get my fill of human interaction. I do human things, and it gets me thinking on realism. I like that in my books. My characters get hungry. They go to the bathroom. You rarely see that in the fluffier romance novels. Even rarer in BDSM books. They can go out for a Mexican bean fest for dinner and then they hit the lavish playroom for some good ‘ol anal sex and maybe even a fisting. Or a bondage session. And I’m sitting there, wondering if the sub never has to pee.

“What’re you thinking about?”

I snap out of my thoughts. “Um…realism?” I raise a solidarity fist. “Buttsex before burrito.”

He’s looking at me funny. “Right… I’m not sure if you’re asking for anal or if you’re still hungry.”

“I’m full.”

“So you wanna…?”

I forget to answer, already getting back into work mode. I make sure my character goes to the bathroom before he gets on his flight, because really, he’s six foot two and airplane bathrooms were built for…children. I don’t know the PC protocol. Is it okay to say midget? Dwarf? Little person? I’m useless about that. When I’m around people I’m comfortable with, I use the r-word and justify it with a diagnosis. I’m entitled to use the word like some black comedians can’t crack a joke without that other word. You know the one.

Another word many seem to dislike so much in books is cunt. I think it’s about exposure. I used to think it was too crass, or best used as an insult. But I’ve changed my mind after reading smut where it was all cunt, cunt, cunt.

It can be hot when used right.

I snicker. That’s what she said.

I’m such a fucking dork.

Focus!

Right. It’s been a while since I played Blossom Blast…

Then I realize it’s late, so I might as well call it a day. I got little to fuck-all done, but I’ll write this bitch so good tomorrow instead. Grammatically, I know it’s write this bitch so well. I’m not completely r-worded.

I’m asked how work went today.

I answer, “I put on my headphones but forgot to push play. How was yours?”

The next day, I’m unreachable. Everything just clicks, and I write forty pages in no time at all. I don’t understand it sometimes, how motivation and determination work, but I’m thankful it does work on occasion. Otherwise I’d have to get a normal-person job.

Gross.

 

Dear Reviewer, You’re Wrong

In the past few days, I’ve been going through my Twitter account. I figured there’s no need to follow people who haven’t tweeted anything in three years. Plus, I wanted to find some new reviewers to follow.

As I was tracking those down, of course I saw their short bios, too. And let me tell ya, if I see another “I’m not an author, just another reviewer,” I’mma go postal. So this is my open letter to Just Another Reviewer.

You’re wrong.

You clearly don’t see how invaluable you are. A while back, I tried the promo thing. I paid x amount of ka’ching to have Breaking Free and With Brave Wings promoted like nothing else. Bloggers signed up, and I saw links being tweeted to left and right for two days. It felt…notsogood. I was invisible. I became an ad, and in today’s society we filter those out.

But you, Just Another Reviewer, take the time to read my book. There’s no one I’ll throw a book at faster than a reviewer. You make notes, rate it, and post it on social media for readers to see. You are not just another reviewer. You are my biggest support in getting the word out there.

My sales didn’t spike after doing promo. Every now and then, however, they spike because a reviewer liked my book and told people about it. A couple months after I released With Brave Wings, my sales skyrocketed, and I knew it was because of a reviewer or two. Same thing happened with Northbound and Northland, not to mention Aftermath for which I still get tagged on Facebook almost three years after the publishing date.

I don’t give a flying fuck about how small you think your following is—if you have thousands or you consider yourself a reader who “only” chats about a book online with a few friends after reading it. Publishing in the jungle that is today’s book industry would be a whole lot more difficult without you.

Sincerely,
Just another author.