Truth and Trauma in Fiction

In my upcoming release, The Botanist, one of the main characters, Aled, suffers through a massively traumatic event, which results in him dealing with PTSD. It’s a short story and romance, I wanted to do my best to show how much it can affect every aspect of someone’s life. A bit of reality in the midst of a fictional romance.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

It’s important to show the gamut of emotional experiences in a story. Life’s never all good or all bad. Even a romance needs a dash of realism, but it’s equally important to have a happily-ever-after or at least, a happy-for-now.

I try to never shy away from showing disabilities, neural diversities, or similar things. It’s not easy. You have to put a lot of work into respectfully getting it right. I’m definitely not perfect, but I do my best (and I have brilliant betas, editors, and a publisher who help).

Aled is one of my favourite characters. Even though his story is a short one, I think you get a real sense of his struggle and who he is. He’s suffered. He’s suffered greatly, albeit it briefly, but he doesn’t give up.

He’s stronger than he thinks.

For more on PTSD, particularly with military veterans, check out: