HomeDiversityAust. & NZSteffanie Holmes is the blind leading the visually impaired

Steffanie Holmes is the blind leading the visually impaired

Steffanie Holmes poses with her cat for this author photo. A rare photo of her not with her red-lensed glasses. A tattoo is visible on her forearm.Today’s podcast guest is author Steffanie Holmes.

Dark Matter Zine Acknowledges this recording is taking place on the unceded Country of the Bunurong Peoples’ of the Kulin Nation as Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Introducing Steffanie

Steffanie Holmes is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the paranormal, gothic, dark, and fantastical. She lives in New Zealand with her cantankerous drummer husband, a horde of cats, and their medieval sword collection.

I adore Steff’s books. So far, despite reading other books at the same time, I’m up to Nevermore book 3: THE JANE AUSTEN STORY. Loving the series although anything other than monogamy pushes my boundaries. As does tying people up, but Mina is more than willing.

I am euphoric about finding a visually impaired author writing visually impaired characters with agency. Also, I cried. Because I felt seen. It’s so rare for good representation of vision impairment in any pop culture medium.

Vision impairments discussed in this podcast

Steffanie Holmes has achromatopsia, a rare vision disorder. The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus defines it as “Achromatopsia is a non-progressive and hereditary visual disorder which is characterized by the absence of color vision, decreased vision, light sensitivity, and nystagmus“. There’s more at the link. Oh, goody, didn’t know Steff had nystagmus too [like me]. The joy!

Mina, the protagonist in the Nevermore Bookshop series has retinitis pigmentosa. The AAPOS describes it here.

For those interested, I have albinism. The AAPOS has a useful page on albinism too. Well, actually I have Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome, which is a type of albinism. Albinism is rare and HPS is rarer still. I should by a lotto ticket. [snark] The AAPOS doesn’t list HPS but this website does. The short version: bright lights blind Steff and me. I also have night blindness like Mina. Dr Barry Tarranto diagnosed my vision impairment/disability when I was 6 months old. And my first school had “for the visually handicapped” IN ITS NAME. Now my eye sight is deteriorating.

I should not have said “good luck with that” to Steff. Usually I’m more tactful. But I’m still pissed off that “they” said my eyesight wouldn’t get worse, but it is. It really is. And I hope Steff’s vision remains stable.

If you’re looking for more…

Steffanie talks about her process in this episode of Attitude TV.

Thanks

Thank you to today’s guest, Steffanie Holmes! This was a Dark Matter Zine podcast and I’m your host Nalini Haynes. Thank you for listening, stay safe and have fun.

Acknowledgement of Country

Dark Matter Zine Acknowledges this recording is taking place on the unceded Country of the Bunurong Peoples’ of the Kulin Nation as Traditional Owners and Custodians of this Country. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

(I have occasionally acknowledged Country in podcasts. This year I aim to lift my game in many areas, so I plan to Acknowledge Country in every podcast. An Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners can be done by anyone. It’s a way of showing awareness of, and respect for, the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of the land where a meeting or event is held. For more information about Country and respect for Australia’s First Nations, read this post that also has links to useful websites.)

Nalini
Nalinihttps://www.darkmatterzine.com
Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.

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