Wednesday, September 14, 2022

D.R. Todd and the Mystery of the Deaf Royals - a guest blog

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It's always a special day when one of our lively commenting community members steps out onto the front page of the blog, and I'm so happy to be hosting our own D.R. Todd - whom you all know as "Bibliophile." Born into a hearing family, Diana was deafened by meningitis at the age of two, and she and her parents learned British Sign language together. 

Diana isn't just a widely read commentor who delights in sharing her love and knowledge of mystery fiction - she's also working on her own cozy historical mystery, enriched by her own experiences as a member of the Deaf community. She's pulling back the curtain on her process, and in doing so, sharing some fascinating information on various deaf royals. And if you stay to the end, she has some great tips to share on communicating effectively and respectfully to Deaf persons.

 

 

Julia, thank you for introducing me and for inviting me here on Jungle Red Writers even if I am not a published novelist yet.  Since September is Deaf Awareness Month, I thought that I could write a guest post for Jungle Red Writers. 


As a fan of mystery novels, I read everything from cozy mysteries to historical mysteries to suspense to traditional mysteries.  I have always loved to write since I learned how to read and write at the age of 4.  Whenever my English teachers would give us Vocabulary drills, I would create short stories that included the new words.  When Ellie Alexander, author of many mysteries including Torte Bakeshop mysteries, told me about the Author Academy, I decided to buy this as a birthday gift to myself because I always wondered if I could write a novel.  I wanted to write a novel with characters that I wanted to see in novels.  I had an interesting conversation with an author about a well known deaf person and I was saying that if I ever publish my novel with deaf characters, I really want deaf actresses and deaf actors if my novel was adapted for film or television.  I remembered that Colin Dexter had it written in his contract that he only wanted John Thaw to play Inspector Morse. 

 In brief, my novel will be a historical cozy novel with an amateur detective who is an anagram of my favorite detectives and several deaf women I have known in real life set in the years between the First World War and the Second World War.  My detective would be an aristocrat whose godmother is Queen Alexandra.  Her family would be neighbors of a future Royal bride and they knew each other socially.  And Princess Alice of Battenberg, the Princess Andrew of Greece will make an appearance too.

Speaking of trivia, I wanted to share some trivia about several deaf Royals.


Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who became the Princess of Wales then Queen of England, was deaf like her mother.  I remember seeing an exhibit at Buckingham Palace about Photography in the Royal Family.  Queen Alexandra was the first member of the Royal family to learn how to use a Brownie camera and she took many photos of the Royal family.  She went to the Deaf church in London.  She had a wonderful sense of fashion.  I thought that she accomplished a lot as Queen Consort to King Edward VII of England.


Princess Alice of Battenberg was born deaf.  Her brother was Earl Louis Mountbattem.  Her son, Prince Philip would become the husband of the current Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.  I read somewhere that Queen Victoria learned finger spelling to communicate with her great granddaughter Princess Alice.  I recall a TV interview with Lady Pamela Hicks, whose father was Earl Mountbatten.  She mentioned that the family decided that Princess Alice would never be treated differently because of her deafness.  That resonated with me because my family never treated me differently because of my deafness.  
 

I read this wonderful biography by Hugo Vickers and I keep on going back to the book and rereading certain parts of the book.  Princess Alice married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.  She was a nurse on the front during the Wars.  (I need to reread that part because I forgot which wars).  She could speak and lipread in four languages!  She became religious later in life.  During the Second World War, she sheltered a Jewish family from the Nazis in Greece.  For this heroism, she received the highest honor to a non Jew from the nation of Israel.  Her story is incredible.  She lived through sad times.  I wanted to focus on the good stuff here.  

Princess Diana of Wales was the Royal Patron of the British Deaf Association until her death.  Now the Queen is the Royal Patron.

And Princess Diana's son Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge communicated in Sign Language when a deaf person received a honour at Buckingham Palace several years ago.



Question:  Have you ever read a biography about a deaf person, besides Helen Keller who was Deaf And Blind?  Have you ever read a fictional novel with a deaf character?

 
Here is a Partial List of Books by Deaf Authors And Books with Deaf Characters

Partial list of Books by Deaf Authors:


Partial list of Biographies and Fiction about deaf people



Here are some tips from a British Deaf organization:

*Make sure that you have the attention of the Deaf person before speaking.  (my note:  Eye contact is essential!!!)

How do you get the attention of a Deaf person?

*Stomp on the floor to make noise because Deaf people often are alert to vibrations

*Wave when you are facing the deaf person from a distance

*Tap on the shoulder ( my note:  Gently tap on shoulder)


*Places with good lightning and little or no background noise are best for conversations

*Use plain language, normal lip movements and facial expressions.  (My note:  facial expressions are parallel to a hearing person using the tone of the voice)

*Check whether the person understands what you are saying and, if not, try saying it in a different way.  Never say "do not worry about it".  (My note:  I grew up with this understanding and I was always repeating myself in many different ways, which could be annoying because some people did understand me the first time but I thought they did not because they dropped eye contact.  LOL)

*Learn finger spelling or some basic British Sign Language (BSL) or American Sign Language (ASL.)

And I would add another tip:

Turn the light switch on/off to flash the lights to get their attention.

Let me add a few things from my personal experience.

When I met a member of the British Royal Family, I had a Sign Language interpreter and I noticed that he talked directly to me instead of to the interpreter.  The same thing happened when I met Lady Antonia Fraser.  She talked directly to me.  

This was very unusual for me because often people talk to the Sign Language interpreter, Not to the Deaf person.

Tip:  When you are talking to a Deaf person who is communicating with you through a Sign Language interpreter, Please talk directly to the Deaf person.

D.R. Todd was born hearing into a musical family.  She spoke at 6 months old and was deafened by meningitis before her 2nd birthday.  She learned Sign Language with her parents when she was two years old.  She read history at Oxford. Her day job is paralegal for a workers compensation law firm, and her night job is her novel-in-progress. Diana's hobbies include cross country skiing, ice skating, knitting, and learning Norwegian to read the instructions in the knitting book featuring Princess Martha Louise of Norway.

She shares book reviews and recommendations on Instagram at wonderwomandbookish.


92 comments:

  1. This is so interesting, Diana . . . your ideas for your book are intriguing and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    At the moment, I cannot think of a biography about a deaf person I’ve read aside from Helen Keller, but Ashleigh Stevens’s delightful “Mooncrossed” includes a deaf character.

    I recently read that American Sign Language was undergoing some “updating” with signs [such as the one for telephone] evolving to reflect something more current . . . is the same true for British Sign Language?

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    1. Joan: Thank you for the book recommendation! It is a New to me novel and I tried the library.
      They did not have it though I found it over at Apple Books. I am adding the book to my reading list! And a Big Thank you so much for your great question! I recall that there are new signs like "laptop" in American Sign Language. I tried to google your question about British Sign Language. All I could get from Google was about the British Sign Language becoming Law in the House of Parliament. They passed a Bill recognizing BSL as a language..

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    2. It's also available as a paperback from Barnes and Noble and from Amazon [where you can also get "Mooncrossed" as an eBook] . . . .

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    3. Joan, thank you and much appreciated! I was happy to find it at Apple ebooks.

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  2. Thank you for sharing so much with us, Diana! I'm glad you're working on a book and look forward to seeing you back on the front blog after it's published. Thank you, too, for sharing the list of novels.

    Another tip might be to keep hands away from face when talking to a Deaf person. I'm a bit hard of hearing, and if someone is talking with their hand covering their mouth in some way, I can't hear them as well. Masks, of course, have been brutal for that.

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    1. Edith, thank you so much for the reminder! That is another great tip for hearing people speaking to people who rely on lipreading. And thank you for your kind words.

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    2. HI Edith, if I may ask, I wonder what happened to our friend Jay? I was looking for his comments and I noticed that he has not commented for several days. Hope that he is OK!

      Diana

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  3. DIANA: It's wonderful to see you at the front of the JRW blog, and congratulations on writing on historical cozy novel! I had no idea that several royals were deaf.

    Several mysteries featuring deaf characters that I have read include:
    THE SILENT WORLD OF NICHOLAS QUINN by Colin Dexter and THE SILENT HOUSE by Nell Pattison. Nell is a teacher in the deaf community in England/Scotland and I learned about her series at a virtual British mystery conference last year.

    Great tips about talking with a deaf person. The wearing of masks during the past 2.5 ye.ars must have made communicating really difficult.

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    1. GRACE: Thank you for your kindness to a Deaf friend and me at the Left Coast Crime in San Diego. And thank you for your words of support. Thank you for reminding me of THE SILENT WORLD OF NICHOLAS QUINN by Colin Dexter. I have a funny story. When I was a student at Oxford, another American student (way older than me) managed to insult me and mocked my deafness. Then he tried to apologize by giving me a copy of the Colin Dexter novel. And no, he never said "I am sorry I insulted you".

      There are masks with "windows" so you can see the mouth. I got a free mask from Tive Technology because a friend is a co-founder of that start up. I have seen ads for that type of masks. it took me a while to figure out how to wear my cochlear implants with my mask!

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  4. Welcome Diana, and thanks for sharing so much--about your experience, deaf figures in history, and so much more!

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    1. Lucy: Thank you for your kind words. I remember meeting you at my first Bouchercon and you seemed to understand what I said despite my deaf accent. This was a honour for me to write a guest post here and I love to write!

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  5. Good luck with your story, Diana! A very good memoir of deafness is Henry Kisor's WHAT'S THAT PIG OUTDOORS? Henry became deaf at three due to meningitis. He grew up to be the book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. (The title is a joke referring to the challenges for even the best lipreader: so many words look the same on the lips. One of his sons cried, "What's that big loud noise?" and Kisor had rushed to the window to look for the pig.)

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    1. admilkmaid: Thank you so much! Yes, I have that book "WHAT'S THAT PIG OUTDOORS?" by Henry Kisor. I first heard of him when he wrote a travel column for the Chicago Sunday papers. He wrote about his experiences travelling to Paris, France as a deaf person. I met him in person several times. I do not think that he signs. He grew up Speaking. Here is another trivial information. Henry is a private pilot. I think he is a member of the Deaf Pilots association. Deaf people can fly small planes to small airports that do not depend on the radio The most important thing is the visibility! I am sure that they do not fly at night because of the visbility issue.

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  6. Diana, what an interesting essay. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for your advice on communicating with deaf individuals. I have not read any of the books you recommend yet, but am making a list.

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    1. Judy: Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to seeing which books you read from the list and hope that you enjoy reading. The list is widely varied from deaf people who only Speak to Deaf people who only Sign.

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  7. Thank you for this so interesting post Diana. I’m always happy to learn more about and from commenters of this blog.
    I’m sure your experience and your extensive research will be reflected in your novel.
    I don’t remember having already read about deaf persons or characters but I will choose one of the books you suggested.
    One of your tips « …lip mouvements and facial expressions « resonate with me. As a French speaking person, it is always easier for me to understand an English speaking person face to face than on the phone by exemple.
    And thank you Julia for inviting Diana
    Danielle

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    1. Danielle: Thank you for your kind words. I studied French in school and it was always fun for me to learn new languages. Perhaps learning Sign Language at age 2 set me on a journey of learning? I remember discovering that the Deaf Adults signed differently from Hearing Signers. What I learned later was that the difference was American Sign Language and a signing method that borrowed many signs from ASL though the words were in the English order. The American Sign Language is NOT English. it is really like a foreign language.

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    2. I had seen that somewhere, Diana. It's fascinating that ASL isn't a direct translation of English word to signed word, but it's own language with a different grammar.

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    3. I’d that why you use British Sign Language? Where do you stand In the speaking versus sign language for those who are deaf? In other words shouldn’t both methods be used to help the deaf person communicate, given their handicap?

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    4. JULIA: ASL isn’t a direct translation of English word to signed word. Isn’t it fascinating that it’s own language with a different grammar and also culture and customs. I remember being bilingual so young. I could understand ASL and once a frustrated Deaf man was trying to ask a Hearing signer a question and she didn’t understand. I asked him if he meant that and that? He said yes and I translated what he said into signed English order for the hearing signer. Perhaps that’s where I honed my language skills? I can automatically translate ASL into the English language.

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    5. JULIA: forgot to sign my name. Diana

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  8. Excellent post, Diana, and I can't think of a single book I've read with a deaf person in it.

    My husband is profoundly deaf in one ear, and has age-related partial deafness in the other now, so I've lived with someone hard of hearing for more than 40 years. Other family members have or have had hearing problems, as well, including my mother, whose hearing was severely damaged by her bout with Covid. None of us knows ASL, sadly, but I always try to position myself on Steve's "good" side so he and I can converse in normal tones. It's the reason I almost always drive when we go someplace by car, too, since he hears on his left side. My own small disability of a voice tremor makes it difficult for him to understand me, especially when we are not in the same room. It has been a source of frustration for us both, but his hearing aid has helped a lot.

    We have a remarkable younger friend, Matt, who was born deaf, and he lip reads in four languages. I didn't realize he was deaf the first couple times we met, but now I make an effort to use your excellent suggestions when we talk, especially to make eye contact and speak directly to him.

    Diana, I notice that you capitalize Deaf at times, and not at others. Can you explain how you choose? Thank you for sharing your background and research!

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    1. One of my sewing students thirty years ago had two deaf parents. It was interesting to see how my student and her younger brother adapted. Their "alarm clock" was lights turning on, and their doorbell was also hooked to lights that flashed. I spoke with Laurie's mom via the telephone relay service once, which was so cumbersome, but a godsend for me and her both. I suspect today's systems are much more efficient, yes?

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    2. Karen in Ohio: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I had similar experiences. My grandfather, an attorney, started to lose his hearing like his parents when my Mom was a teenager. When I lost my hearing, there were two people in the family with hearing loss - my grandfather and me. However, my hearing aids were too loud for him! A family member is married to a man who is deaf in one ear due to Meniere's disease. They are still married and just celebrated 28 years of marriage! Your friend Matt reminds me of a family friend. Before I was born, my Mom taught at the same high school where they had a Coach (football?). My Mom met the wife of the Coach. My Mom told me that she Never knew that Marion was deaf until after I lost my hearing. Even though Marion grew up Oral and often used her voice, she ALWAYS signed with me because my parents felt it was important for me to communicate in Sign AND voice. Now I can see how challenging it is to sign and voice at the same time. I can do either but not both. Thank you for making to effort to use eye contact when speaking to a deaf person. Yes, your story about the deaf parents resonated with me. I have met many Deaf families and they come from all walks of life. I knew one Deaf lady who was a teacher. Her mother was Deaf and it was just luck that her mother got out of Europe just before the Holocaust. I was blessed to have met her once and she was a gracious lady. Her granddaughter is an actress and you may have seen her on Supernatural and Jericho?

      Yes, I often use deaf to describe someone who has hearing loss and that includes someone who could be born deaf. These people are not "culturally deaf". When I say "Deaf", I mean someone who was either born Deaf into a Deaf family or a deaf person immersed in the Deaf world. They prefer the word "deaf culture". I always said "Deaf world".

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  9. Congratulations on the work in progress, Diana. Rochester Institute of Technology is well known for its National Technological College for the Deaf, and we have a huge deaf population, well integrated into our population. Many, perhaps most, sign, and I think all lip read. Julie's brother, an attorney, is deaf from birth. He has some partial hearing assisted by an impressive hearing aid. He does not sign however.

    My mother and her father were deaf by the time they were in their sixties, and I've wondered over the years if I would also. I think my hearing is challenged a bit, noticeable in noisy situations but fine in normal conversation. One of the effects of aging and parts that are out of warranty!

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    1. Ann Mason: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I have heard of RIT and its excellence. I have met many deaf people like your friend Julie's brother. And yes, hearing loss is part of the aging process. I recently took a DNA test and it said that I genetically will lose my hearing as I get older. I am laughing because I ALREADY am deaf! You may want to look into learning Sign Language to communicate? Or perhaps bring a notepad and pen to write notes? Or type on your smartphone? I was at the airport and people often forget to write notes even if I ask them to. And I figured that I can turn on the microphone on my smartphone and it will type out all of the words that the hearing persion said.

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  10. Diana, good luck with your book and thanks for a fascinating essay. I remember Colin Dexter's book but can't think of another with deaf characters. I'm very aware of the sign language interpreters during a political speech, because their signing is so evocative and pronounced. I spend more time watching the interpreters than listening to the politician!

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    1. Margaret S. Hamilton: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I have often heard that people watch the Sign Language interpreter rather than listen to the speech. Sometimes the speech can be dry, right?

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  11. Good morning Diana, though if you’re in England I realise it’s later in the day. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book staring deaf people but I shall start now. I found myself in the supermarket the other day and masked. It turned out that the packer on the checker line was deaf as I asked for certain items to be packed together. As she finished I felt most inadequate as any sign language I knew had flown away so I used the universal namaste sign to thank her and she smiled at me. Masks are the best and worst. Good luck with your writing, I can’t wait to read the book - celia

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    1. Good morning Celia, I am actually in California. Thank you for your kind words. I was too excited to see my guest post that I got up early! Perhaps when you go to the supermarket, you can try using the dictation on your smartphone that will type out what you say Or write in block letters on a piece of paper with a pen? pencil? when communicating with a deaf person?

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    2. Celia, I meant to tell you that I love your guest posts here on JRW with your wonderful recipes and stories!

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  12. Diana: How lovely to see you this morning on this side of the blog. Are you in England?

    Over my years of teaching, I had several deaf or hard of hearing students in my classes. I learned a lot about how to communicate most effectively with/for them, including to never walk in front of their interpreter as it had the same effect of turning off the volume for them. Oops! I made that mistake only once.

    I cannot think of any book I've read that had a character in it who was deaf, so I'm glad to have the lists you shared. Thank you. Congrats on your post here today -- and best wishes for continued writing on your novel!

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    1. AMANDA: This is the third time I am going to try replying!!! Alas, I am across the pond in the States in California. Thank you for your kind words, And thank you for sharing your stories about your deaf and hard of hearing students. Glad that you liked the list and I look forward to finding out which book you pick to read and like. It is quite an honour for me to write this guest post, especially for Deaf Awareness Month. I read this blog every morning.

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    2. Hope that the comment I just wrote for the THIRD time stays!!!

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    3. Thanks for persevering, Diana. Your comment is there and I appreciated reading it.

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  13. Congratulations, Diana! At the moment I can't think of a book with a deaf person in it (besides Helen Keller), but there is a deaf character in "Only Murders in the Building."

    I knew about Princess Alexandra, but not Princess Alice.

    I look forward to seeing you front of blog as a published author!

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    1. Liz: Thank you for your kind words. Now I need to get Hulu so I can watch "Only Murders in the Building". It was quite an honour to write this guest post. It is interesting for me to learn from you and everyone what is known about Princess Alexandra of Denmark and Princess Alice, I remember reading a letter that Queen Victoria wrote. She mentioned the Danish Princess' beauty AND deafness. I remember that her son Bertie would only marry someone who was beautiful. I think it was Bertie's older sister Vicky, future Empress of Prussia, who introduced Bertie to Alexandra. I always thought that Alexandra was brilliant. I can imagine having conversations with Queen Alexandra and Princess Alice.

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  14. Wow, so interesting. I love Royal everything! But I had no idea about the members of the Royal family who were deaf. I can't wait to read your first novel. Namaste!

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    1. Anonymous: Thank you for your kind words, I am such a Royalist too. I am honoured to write a guest post here today. And I am so excited about writing my first novel. Though I am doing a lot of background research.

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  15. What a fantastic and informative post!! I had no idea about all these Deaf members of the Royal family. I remember watching the portrayal of Princess Alice in The Crown and I remember the religious stuff and her mental health struggles, but don’t remember them portraying her as Deaf. Am I misremembering that? Your WIP sounds great!!

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    1. Blair: This is the SECOND time I try to comment here. I wrote a reply and it disappeared!!! Thank you for your kind words, Did you see your book in the book stack photo here on JRW? You remembered correctly. The Crown series on Netflix was quite different from the "behind the scenes" book about The Crown series. I was disappointed.

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    2. BLAIR: I thought I mentioned this then I think that comment disappeared! The first season of The Crown had the Deaf actress from Shetland and Midsomer Murders portray Princess Alice, The second actress to play Princess Alice was NOT deaf at all!

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  16. Flora here, blogger hates me. Diana, I loved your persistence--learning Norwegian to read the knitting pattern instructions? Now that's what I call a dedicated knitter! (From a person who can only knit scarves--one row of stitches after another). I can't wait for your book to come out--fascinating history about the Royals!

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    1. Flora: Thank you for your kind words. it is an honour to be here as a guest. Learning new languages is always fun for me. However at University, I enrolled in Norwegian language classes and had to drop out because the Sign Language translators did not know how to interpret for foreign language classes and it took a while for us to figure things out. Now they know they can listen to audiotapes so they can develop an ear for foreign accents and foreign languages. I kept my books from the Norwegian language classes even though I dropped the classes. And I learned how to knit from a housemate in college.

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  17. This was such an insightful blog post! Thank you for writing, Diana. I enjoyed learning about the deaf members of the royal family, and the tips you listed are so helpful. Hope to have you back here to talk about your novel when it is published!

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  18. Jessica: Thank you for your kind words. It is an honour for me to be here as a guest. I always loved to write, though I had forgotten that for a while.

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  19. BLAIR: I am commenting here for the SECOND time!!! I was disappointed in THE CROWN series on Netflix. I have no idea WHY whoever made the decisions decided to focus on the mental health issues and religious issues and OMIT the part about Alice's deafness. Ironically the behind the scenes book did mention Alice's deafness. In an interview with Alice's niece Lady Pamela Hicks, she mentioned that her father told her a story. Her father, Louis Mountbatten, said that his family decided that they were NOT going to treat Alice differently from the other children because of her deafness. This resonated with me even though I was an only child. My family expected me to have good table manners. Be polite. Be respectful of my elders. Pay attention in school. Be kind. I had ballet and ice skating lessons like other children in my neighborhood. I never ever saw my deafness as a disability even though I was the only deaf person in my family. My grandfather lost his hearing late in life though he still had some hearing. I always thought that my deafness was a superpower because it enabled me to know Sign Language. (Now I know that some deaf people never learned sign language). I have been signing since age 2 though I was still talking with my voice (auditory memory?).

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  20. Fingers crossed that my comment above stays!!!

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  21. NOTE: At the time I wrote this guest post the first week of September, things were different. On Thursday 8 September, the Queen of England died and Prince William the Duke of Cambridge became the Prince of Wales when his father, Prince Charles, became the King of England.

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    1. Oops! I never even noticed that! I guess it's going to take some time to get used to referring to the KING of England...

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    2. Julia: Yes, that takes some time to get accustomed to the idea of a King Charles III.

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  22. I learned so much from your post! Good luck with your book!!

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    1. Brenda: thank you for your kind words. I am excited about the book!

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  23. A fascinating essay. I did know about some of the deaf princesses. My mother was and my sister is very hard of hearing, which is not quite the same but it is important to follow the same guidelines when speaking to a person who does not hear well.

    In the Gaslight mystery series by Victoria Thompson there is a child who is deaf and the reader learns a lot about understanding that mentally he is just as bright, if not more so, than any other child.

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    1. Judi: Thank you for your kind words, Thank you for reminding me! I read that book too and I met Victoria Thompson at my first Malice Domestic conference. To my best recollection, Victoria mentioned that a deaf person married into her family. I loved that deaf child in her book. I think that child was my favorite character in the series.

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  24. Lots of fascinating information in here. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Mark: Thank you for your kind words. It is a honour for me to write a guest post here since I read the JRW every morning! I am so excited about the novel!

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  25. I have read books about both Princess Alice and Queen Alexandra. As part of a grade school project, we were taught the manual alphabet and worked with deaf children. The alphabet came in handy when a neighbor brought a childhood friend and his wife to Thanksgiving dinner. We had rollicking side conversations using finger spelling!

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    1. Kait: Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories. Not many people knew about Queen Alexandra and Princess Alice. Love that story about thanksgiving.

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  26. Hi Diana! Thanks for the fascinating post. I didn't know much of that about the Royals, and I love the lists of books. I was curious about your parents teaching you BSL rather than ASL. Is there much difference? Also, as I have severe hearing loss in one ear due to Meniere's disease, I loved your tips. With pandemic mask wearing, I've discovered how much I rely on lip reading.

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    1. Hi Debs, this is completely my fault. Since I am always commenting on British stuff, I think people automatically thought that I was British. Sometimes I feel more British than American. When my parents and I learned Sign Language, the signs were actually borrowed from ASL. However, the signing was in the English order as if you were writing a sentence, For example, I would sign "you were writ-ing (two signs for one word) a sentence". The reason the "ing" was signed was to make sure that the deaf child knew the difference between past tense and present tense ? I will need to ask my Mom for the specifics since she taught English for many years! Yes, you sound like my relative's husband who has hearing loss in one ear due to Meniere's. Regarding ASL, the roots are in the FRENCH sign language because Laurent Clerc came to America from France to teach Deaf children in America at the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut. ASL uses the one hand fingerspelling. The British Sign Language uses two hands for fingerspelling! I learned a little BSL while I was living in England.

      Regarding masks, I figured out eventually how to wear my CI and the mask. There are also some masks with "window" for the lips. There is also Sign Language, though I realize that not everyone knows Sign. Another option is the dictation that will type out the words on your smartphone. Or the old tried and true method - paper and pen. I used the paper and pen all the time donkey years ago!

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    2. Thanks for clearing up the sign language difference, Diana. That is so interesting, and I will remember if I have British characters signing. You will know that the huge thing in the UK last year was the Deaf actress Rose Ayling Ellis competing on Strictly Come Dancing--and winning! Not only was she amazing, but it was such a tremendous boost for Deaf awareness there. I highly recommend everyone look up some of her competition dances on YouTube. Especially this number--the silent section brought everyone who watched to tears. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QejOzrlovTQ

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    3. Debs: Thank you so much for the link to Rose's dancing on TV. I posted in my stories about Rose and thought she could play Princess Alice. And I remember you talking about Rose.

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  27. Fascinating post, Diana! The tips are a nice reminder too. My poor dad was so deaf in his old age. The pitch of my voice didn't carry so I wrote a lot of notes to him. He suffered aphasia after a stroke so his communication was very limited but we managed. Good luck on your manuscript. I love historical fiction so that will be a must read!

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    1. Pat D, thank you for your kind words. And thank you for sharing your personal story. I am excited about the novel. I love historical fiction too. My novel will be a crossover between cozy mystery and historical fiction.

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  28. I found this guest post fascinating and learned so much. Thank you. Years ago, I DID read a wonderful novel about a deaf family with a hearing daughter, Joanne Greenberg's "In This Sign". She (Greenberg) really opened up the world of deafness and made it accessible to hearing readers.

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    1. Elizabeth: Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for the reminder. Actually I met Joanne Greenberg my first year of University at the same event where I met Jessica Mitford. And Joanne knew some sign language. Interesting story. She sold the rights to her novel for one dollar to a Deaf producer who adapted the movie into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and the publishers ere NOT happy about that! It was wonderful because the team made sure that the Deaf roles went to Deaf actor Edward Waterstreet and Deaf actress Phyllis Frelich.

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  29. Hi, Diana, What a fabulous post. I had no idea you were writing a cozy historical with such a strong cast of Royals. Very exciting. Do keep us posted on your progress and thank you for raising our collective awareness - I love the lists of books you included and your tips for successfully communicating with the deaf.

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    1. Hi Jenn, thank you for your kind words. I am so excited about this writing and I have been doing a lot of background research for the novel. Look forward to seeing which book you want to read. It was wonderful meeting you in person at my first Bouchercon in Toronto! And yes, I will definitely keep you all posted!

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  30. This is fascinating, and consciousness-raising, and I am SO grateful to read it! Thank you!

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    1. Hank: Thank you for your kind words! It is an honour for me to be here writing the guest post for this fabulous blog. I read this blog every day even if I sleep in late some mornings! And yes, thank you for reminding me about Heather. I remember her from another post here on Jungle Reds!

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  31. ANd you know the wonderful wonderful Heather Gudenkauf has a significant hearing loss, as does the main character in her brilliant book NOT A SOUND. https://heathergudenkauf.com/book-clubs/not-a-sound-book-club/

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    1. Hank: Thank you for the link to Heather's book!

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  32. Diana - Thank you SO MUCH for showcasing this great information, making us all kinder and smarter and better at connecting with each other. Love the tips... Looking forward to reading your cozy historical and hosting you again on the 'front side.'

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    1. Hallie, thank you for your kind words. I remember meeting you and Lucy at my first Bouchercon in Toronto and you seemed to understand what I said despite my deaf accent. I am so excited about my novel in progess. It is such an honour to me to write a guest post for this wonderful blog, which I read every day!

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  33. Thanks for the post and tips! I've read Elizabeth George's FOR THE SAKE OF ELENA, which centers on a father having the wrong expectations for a deaf daughter. But I need to read more books by deaf authors--thanks for the links.

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    1. Priscilla, thank you for your kind words. I remember FOR THE SAKE OF ELENA and I saw the screen adaptation of the book on PBS.

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  34. Diana! So awesome to see you featured today on one of my favorite blogs. I've followed you for years on Instagram and love your cozy mystery posts there. I didn't know all the royal history either so thanks for sharing all of those facts. High five on a great article and can't wait to read your novel too.

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    1. Hi Kelly! Thank you for your kind words! I follow you on Instagram too. And it is such an honour to be here writing a guest post for one of my favorite blogs! I am still writing my novel.

      Diana

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  35. Diana, this is fabulous!! Thank you so much for sharing such interesting and valuable information. I'm going to check out the list of books you shared and keep your tips handy. Your WIP sounds wonderful. I LOVE historical mysteries. You go, girl!

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    1. Ellen, thank you for your kind words. Quite an honour for me to write a guest post for Jungle Red Writers. I read JRW every day! Look forward to finding out which book you like.

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  36. Kelly, let’s see if my comment disappears again. Diana

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  37. Kelly! This is Diana. Thank you for your kind words. I do love cozy mysteries and JRW is one of my favorite blogs. It is such an honour to write a guest post for this blog. I remember at the age of 5 being surprised that there was a real Royal family outside fairytales. Ice always loved to writeZ

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  38. Diana did you go to Cal for undergrad? I went there for law school?

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  39. What is your name?

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  40. Anonymous, what’s your name? Yes, I went to Berkeley. I have friends who went to law school there. Diana

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  41. Anne McCaffrey wrote some books about a planet mostly settled by deaf people because something on the planet made that an advantage. Also, you can make your phone talk in a robot voice. My sister-in-law did that when she lost her voice due to ALS. She also used a whiteboard and texting. She just died. I saw Tessa do that on The Young and the Restless when the character had a voice operation.

    I had heard about both Princesses and also read the Victoria Thompson books.

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  42. Sally from PA: Thank you for the recommendations. I will look for Anne McCaffrey on the online library and maybe Apple books too. The story of the deaf planet sounds intriguing! I used to have a wyndtell device that talked in robotic voice and it was hilarious when I used it on a political campaign trail many years ago. I am so sorry about your SIL losing her voice due to ALS though I am glad she could use a whiteboard and texting. My condolences on her death. I lost a family member two years ago and it still feels recent to me.

    Wonderful that you read about both Princesses and the Victoria Thompson books.

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