Hi there, #TeamAtticus.
So, some of you may know that I recently ran a poll. It turns out that what people would like to know more about is Atticus’ autism. Well, that is a complicated subject, isn’t it?
I should preface by saying that most of Atticus’ traits are based on my own, though I have never been formally diagnosed. I thought it was best to work from what I already knew than to try and come up with a “realistic” autistic character from what I knew about others. As we all know (or if not, now you do!) autism is a very individual thing. I didn’t want to end up with a stereotype. Some have begrudged my choice of a white male lead, but that was more because that was what I identified with and because I can not pull faces out of a hat. It’s one of my own traits. I can not imagine people (their looks anyway) who don’t exist. So, that said, many of you already know who’s face this character was based on.
So, what is Atticus’ story?
Atticus was diagnosed as a teenager, not horribly late, but enough that he never had a circle of autistic acquaintances or anything like that. He’s mostly a loner anyway, preferring his own company and that of his plants or that of animals. He can be highly stressed by the chaos of busy places or of people he doesn’t know. As a museum tech, he mostly cleans, catalogues, and conserves artefacts so his boss lets him work after the museum is closed. His special interests include archaeology, in which he has an MA (as well as a doctorate in Museum Studies), photography, gardening and detective shows/books.
As well as enjoying growing his own food and working with the land, Atticus also prefers to live off the grid, has no phone, television or computer. This simplicity is part of what keeps him sane even though he lives in a city. Edinburgh is the only city he can stand, though. He learned to mask pretty well and is actually more verbal and expressive than the average person. He has a tendency to go off on tangents, bouncing on the balls of his feet, rubbing his hands together, or running a hand through his hair while he quickly talks about something he loves or that has made him nervous. If overtaxed he begins to forget his words, though. When he’s stressed, he has a tendency to shake his head or repeat words. He also has sensory issues, preferring loose, comfy clothes and to be cocooned under a pile of blankets when he sleeps. The man has enough jumpers for half a dozen people. He hates hot, sunny days and much prefers clouds, and especially rain.
I’m sure there’s more I’m not remembering, so don’t hesitate to ask!
Also, we have another treat for you. As you’ve seen, the $100 incentive is a caricature of some of the characters. Here’s a preview of that artwork!