Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Give a warm Welcome to Aleksandr Voinov/Riptide Blog Tour Stop

Discovering the truth about your characters: Silvio in Dark Soul
The characters in Dark Soul, my gay mafia mini-series, are really old characters; they’ve been with me for twenty years, and I’ve grappled with them every now and then (when a writer has a character, the aim it to wrestle them into a book). But only recently did I understand what was at the heart of Silvio Spadaro, the enigmatic killer in Dark Soul, or his brother Franco.
Both men struggle to connect, each in their own ways. Franco doesn’t even enjoy touching or being touched and considers all tenderness a form of unwelcome “pity”. Silvio, on the other hand, is much more hedonistic and connects almost exclusively via sex. It’s his way to vent steam, to feel alive, to break his inner isolation.

Throughout the book, Silvio struggles reading people, and responds in unexpected ways. He’s slightly “off”, which only enhances his reputation as a fearsome mafia killer – people can’t predict what he’s going to do. They call him “barracuda” for his “soul-less”, blank stare.

But for many years, I didn’t know what was different about him, where the root cause for all of this was. Then, one morning, I woke up and thought, “Crap, he might be autistic.”

I mulled the theory for a while and discussed it with two of my friends online, one who displays some strong autistic characteristics, the other who is an Asperger. Both allowed me to run this theory past them (both knew the books), and both agreed that, yes, it rang true to them and that, indeed, Silvio is somewhere on the autism spectrum. And then everything made perfect sense.

The autism grew very much out of the character—which is how my characters work. They show up, I know something is “different” about them, and during the writing, I discover what it is, even if this can be a risk and means a fair amount of research.

In the end, I’m glad I did it, too, because I don’t think there are many sympathetic characters with autism in m/m, as far as I’m aware. Obviously, the “savant” – the super-gifted autist like we’ve seen him in Rain Man—is probably the more romantic character; the child-like disorientation and the gift with numbers or music, or whatever, makes for interesting developments.

Silvio is not one of those romantic savants (he’s dyslexic and can’t even read very well), he’s just emotionally off, compared to non-autistic people and struggles to parse emotion—that of others and his own, at times, and he really struggles to express emotion. Sex is a handy shortcut for him, and he doesn’t see the way he thinks and responds as a problem at all. But his autism, while it affects him, it doesn’t define him. As a character, Silvio is not about autism, and autism is not an illness—it’s just how he is, and he copes with that perfectly well. 

Check out the entire tour stops HERE

March 19 - Joyfully Jay
March 20 - Jody Faltys
March 21 - Erotica for All
March 22 - Chicks & Dicks
March 23 - All I Want and More
March 26 - Amara's Place
March 27 - Dawn's Reading Nook
Get Aleksandr's entire Dark Soul series in a print volume as well as individually in E-Books.
Find out more at Riptide Publishing 
Love lights even the darkest soul.
A killer's moral compass rarely points true, and among made men, being gay is a capital crime. But Silvio Spadaro, deadly prodigy and heir to a Family fortune, is determined to find his own way—at the feet of the man he loves or by the barrel of a gun—no matter the dangers or costs.
Stefano Marino lives a comfortable—some might even say enviable—life. As a mob boss at the top of the food chain, he has it all: money, respect, a beautiful wife he loves as much now as the day they wed. But he also has a turf war on his hands, and far too soft a heart for this dark business.
When Silvio is sent to help Stefano with his turf war, sparks fly. Stefano loves his wife, but he wants Silvio. It's a desire he hardly knows how to process, but Silvio, ever the patient predator, maneuvers Stefano closer and closer to his bed each day. Stefano resists; giving in to these dark desires means giving up on his marriage, and exposure would surely mean death. Yet there's no denying Silvio's magnetic pull, or the long-repressed urges inside himself. Yielding is inevitable, but he may yet find a way to hold on to everything—and everyone—he loves.
The Dark Soul Series is as follows:


Kassandra said...

Having two special needs daughters myself and working in a childcare center that takes a higher % of special needs children the past 7+ years has in no way made me an expert but has def allowed me some insight into the special needs world. (and that was a REALLY long sentence, meh) I can't say that I had guessed Silvio had autism but it was one of the handful of options that had occurred to me when reading the stories. He has quite a few of the same characteristics I have seen over the years and I agree that it rings true within him.


Loveless3173 said...

I absolutely loved this post.
When it came up that Silvio is autistic I thought, Hm, well, that makes sense. But to be honest, at the same time, I drew a complete blank. I wouldn't know if it really did, I just went with it because I have never known or met someone with autism. Only what I see portrayed on TV and stuff. Sadly...
But from what I have seen, yeah... I had a better understanding of Silvio's actions.



Aija said...

Thank you for the added insight on Silvio's inner workings. :) Fascinating to no end.
And this only confirms my belief that I couldn't handle him. :D But I'd certainly appreciate him from a distance!

Again - thanks for sharing. :)

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