A Note About Jo

2/18/20241 min read

I wanted to write a quick note about Jo, a character in my book Together in a Broken World. Aiden and Zach come across Jo, living in an abandoned amusement park. Jo, in my mind, was autistic. This was simply how I had conceived of the character. In the book, the boys mention her autism. I wanted to treat it similar to how I treat other aspects of people, like Aiden & Zach’s sexuality. Mention it, then move on.

I considered removing this mention, but my first developmental editor, who is autistic, encouraged me to keep it, saying they liked the representation of an older autistic woman living independently and enjoying her life, something they said there is very little of in fiction. My editor even helped with the language for how the boys talked about it.

Since then, several advanced readers have said they were uncomfortable about how the boys discussed Jo’s autism. It was not my intention to make anyone uncomfortable; therefore, I have removed the two lines where the boys discuss it. It will not appear in the final version of the book. If I make a sequel to this book, I may address Jo’s autism in a way that feels more natural, perhaps with a conversation about it with Jo.

Thanks to everyone for their comments and helping to make this book the best it can be.