Writing Disabled Characters #OpenBookBlogHop

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do you write diverse characters? If so, how do you avoid cultural insensitivity?”


The only diverse characters I’ve written are those with disabilities. In my first novel, We Shall Overcome, my main character, Lisa, is visually impaired. She falls in love with a policeman whose sister is also visually impaired. Lisa participates in a support group for the visually impaired, which consists mostly of senior citizens.

In The Red Dress, Eve, my main character, has a sister-in-law, Polly, who is blind. Although Polly doesn’t appear in the novel, she is mentioned. She lives independently and works as a computer programmer. Also, Eve’s mother, who lives in a nursing home, is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from dementia. My new novel due out this fall, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, is centered around a grandmother, who also lives in a nursing home and is confined to a wheelchair and also suffers from dementia.

For fifteen years, I worked as a registered music therapist with nursing home residents, most of whom suffered from dementia. I facilitated a support group for visually impaired adults, which has consisted mostly of senior citizens. I used these experiences, along with those associated with my own visual impairment, to portray these characters as realistically as possible.


If you’re a blogger, you can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what others have to say.


For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.


New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.



My Amazon Author Page





Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

9 thoughts on “Writing Disabled Characters #OpenBookBlogHop”

    1. Yes, it was hard, but not nearly as difficult as being a family caregiver for someone with dementia. At least I could go home at night. I’m so thankful that my late husband Bill stayed alert almost to the end.


  1. The only disabled character I’ve successfully integrated into one of my books is Carl, who is a schizophrenic neighbor of the Delaneys in Transformation Project. He’s based on the clients I worked with during my 15-year stint working in behavioral health. But Javi is a mercenary killer going blind and that’s been interesting to write as he slowly adapts to his coming dependence. One of the things I had to confront in writing an apocalyptic series is what would happen to disabled and elderly people in such a survival situation. Are they capable of contributing to the community? Because when half your population is likely to die of starvation and illness by the end of the series, a character’s contribution to the community will matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting point about disabled individuals contributing to their communities. I believe everyone can contribute to their communities no matter their abilities. Good luck with your project.


      1. I believe that too, but I found it an interesting thought experiment. When everyone needs to be producing so people don’t starve, what will the neighbors think of the person who can’t physically do hard labor? When I first asked that question of a group of friends who have often acted as my sounding board for this series, they were like “oh, no, we’d never do that!” but then they thought about it a while and came back with “Milgram Experiment. Of course we’d do that.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree which is why Carl was involved in several community projects and Javi is taking on new roles he previously would have avoided by being the strong guy with the gun. But I don’t think a whole community (of starving people) with that attitude is going to be realistic. How they deal with the conflict between their past beliefs and their present circumstances will be an interesting writing challenge.

        Liked by 1 person

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