What is cerebral palsy?
Hello, I’m Chris T. Kat, visiting The Novel Approach again. :) I’m here to talk about my new release, Despite the Odds (Odds Are: Book One). Despite the Odds is the first book in the Odds Are series, and was published by Dreamspinner Press on June 3rd.
One of the main characters in Despite the Odds, Joshua Stone, has cerebral palsy. It’s a disability that’s caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. The problems occur mostly during pregnancy, but sometimes also during childbirth or shortly after. The cause for cerebral palsy is often unknown, and the effects it has on people vary greatly.
Symptoms can include poor coordination, stiff or weak muscles, and trouble speaking. Problems can also arise in the areas of sensation, vision, hearing, and learning. In about a third of people with cerebral palsy, seizures occur. In no way does it mean someone suffering from cerebral palsy can’t lead a joyful life with as much independence as possible.
For me, it was important that Joshua show some symptoms of cerebral palsy and how he deals with them. Since he has trouble with coordination, he uses a walker and a tricycle to get around. His self-esteem is affected by his disability, and he doesn’t see himself ever having a loving relationship. That is, until Michael Campbell breezes in his life.
Michael Campbell can’t hold a job for more than a few days. He’s lucky his foreman is giving him another chance with the solar panel project at a primary school in Atlantic City. When he spies a man walking strangely in front of the school, Michael laughs, assuming he’s drunk or high. Little does he realize that Joshua Stone, a teaching assistant, has cerebral palsy, and he’s having a bad muscle control day. Taking a tumble right in front of the handsome construction worker is just his luck.
When Michael learns the truth, he feels badly for his cruel behavior. He offers to give Joshua—and his tricycle, the Racing Rhonda—a lift. Joshua accepts the help, and suddenly there’s a gorgeous man breezing into his life, turning his world upside down. But Michael has more issues than his inability to hold down a job, and neither man is sure if they’ll be able to overcome their fears in order to be together.
Buy link: Dreamspinner Press
Excerpt from Chapter Four: No, no, no. Why did this have to happen now? Joshua didn’t have a speech problem per se, just sometimes when he was stressed the words slurred together. From the uncomprehending look on Michael’s face, his slur was bad. After biting back another groan, Joshua drew in a deep breath and tried again.
Michael blinked at him. Wow, the guy had the most beautiful hazel eyes he’d ever seen. In combination with the thick blond hair and the tanned skin, he was a stunning sight. Like a surfer maybe.
Joshua gasped when Michael cut the engine. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but I couldn’t understand you.”
Joshua’s right hand contracted, and for a moment panic blinded him. He wouldn’t have a seizure now, he refused to have one. Not that his body seemed to be inclined to listen to him today, but he couldn’t have this happen. He’d be a crying mess if he seized in front of this handsome stranger.
“Joshua? Are you okay? Should I call a doctor? You’re slurring, and even though I’m not a doctor, I don’t think that’s a good sign.”
Joshua shook his head frantically. No doctor and no hospital! His right hand stopped spasming, and he pulled at his backpack. Thank God he’d chosen one with Velcro clasps. He opened the backpack to grab his phone. He held it up for Michael to see. It took him a while, but he croaked, “Address is in my phone.”
He wasn’t sure whether Michael understood his words or put the pieces together, but Joshua sighed in relief when Michael said, “Oh, the address is in your phone, right?”
About the Author: Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.