What is Preston by Amy Lane – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Lane who is celebrating today’s release of Silent Heart, the second book in her Search and Rescue series.

What is Preston?

I know we live in an era in which we love for everything—disability, sexuality, neuro-atypicality, etc.—to have a label, but speaking from experience, that doesn’t always happen.

When my son was a toddler, he went through test after test to diagnose what had gone awry in his noggin—why was speech so hard for him? Why were his nerve endings not connecting for his motor abilities? Why was too much motion in his day too hard to comprehend? They never made a diagnosis—seventy-five years ago, they would have told us, “He’s retarded, ma’am—he should go in a home.” Which would have been a shame because he’s about ready to graduate from college, and he’s been working and living on his own for three years. But I remember, in the thick of the testing, when his father and I were exhausted and trying so hard to figure out how to deal with a kid with a big heart and not many words, we got a big batch of test results that we pored over for an evening before my Mate lost his patience.

“They keep trying to tell us what’s wrong with him. Don’t they see he’s perfect?”

And that’s where we left it. As the years went by, the doctors who fixated on diagnosis for what was wrong as opposed to modifications to help him achieve what he could do tended to be our least favorite people.

And it’s not that I think all labels are bad—after living with my own ADHD for years without being diagnosed, learning that all of my quirks had a name and that all of my coping methods were valid certainly gave me some much-needed confidence in the “I swear I’m not crazy,” department.

It’s that limiting a person to their label, and forcing them to live by that label because it makes parents, teachers, or doctors happier is the kind of thinking that would have crippled my son’s future. Just dealing with his limitations and focusing on what he could do was so much more helpful than a label ever could be.

So when I decided to write Preston as neuro-atypical, I didn’t want him to be labeled. Following the example of the character of Newt Scamander (and Creedence, the Obscurial) I didn’t want anybody to say, “Oh, he’s autistic,” and simply categorize him in that little box. Newt Scamander is never labeled—he’s identified as a very specific, very unusual person to work with, but nobody ever says “autism” or “spectrum” in his movies. He is simply Newt, and he is, as a result, so much more than his diagnosis. Like a teacher in a playground, or a parent at a back-to-school night, I knew Preston’s diagnosis—but I wanted readers to interact with Preston as he was, not as his diagnosis said he should be.
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That’s how Glen and Damien treated him—as a valuable friend, and someone they cared for, who needed certain things in order to function in an extraordinary situation. For his part, Preston’s uniqueness made him one of the few people who could crack past Damien’s self-protectiveness and fear, so he could remember the hero he was capable of being.

People don’t wear labels as they go through life. Not a lot of people want that T-shirt that says “bi-polar”, “ADHD”, or “Autism Spectrum” across the chest. If we wore those shirts, everybody would be staring at our chests, and nobody would be listening to the things we say, or see the things we do or give us credit for the workings of our hearts.

So while sometimes the labels can be helpful, I wanted us to deal with Preston without the label—so we could see that he was a person, and one very, very capable of loving Damien and being loved in return.

Dog wrangler Preston Echo has been in love with his brother’s best friend, copilot, and business partner since high school—and Damien Ward knew it. As Preston grew into a stunning, hard-willed man, Damien began to dream of Preston too.

Then Damien almost died in a helicopter crash. While his physical wounds are slowly healing, the blows to his self-confidence and goodwill are almost worse. His body is broken and he’s afraid to fly—how can Preston love him now?

When Preston’s brother goes on a search-and-rescue mission and disappears in an earthquake zone in Mexico, Preston and Damien are thrown together in an effort to find him and bring him back. Preston’s merciless honesty—and relentless passion—may leverage Damien into his bed, but can Damien overcome his fears to allow himself to stay there?

About the Author: Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. Two of her books have received a RITA nomination, she’s won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

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Buy the book at Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.

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