13 May 2009

Killing off Mom

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday - Happy (belated) Mothers Day, to all the moms!

Instead of writing this morning, I started to think about mothers in the books I write. I was chagrined to realize there aren’t any.

In Hunting the Huntress, my first release, the heroine’s mother was not in the book. In my next release, Flawed, coming out June 30th (shameless plug) the mother is dead, and the father has remarried to a pretty horrible woman.

In the Christmas novella I just finished, the heroine is an orphan. Sorry Dad, looks like you got to die this time too. She spent several years in the foster care system, so may have had some decent mother figures, but if she did they didn’t make it onto the page.

My current work in progress? You probably saw this coming – the mother is dead. She died before the first page, and rather painfully. It may have made her death a bit easier to know her daughter tried desperately to save her life.

Even in the first book I ever finished, the wretched space opera I’ve since re-titled Cliche on Planet Nine, the mother was dead.

So what does this all say about me, and my mother? Nothing at all, I hope! My mother is a remarkable woman, who I love very much. I think we have a pretty normal mother-daughter relationship. She has supported me in pretty much everything I’ve ever done. I can’t remember that she has even once tried to tell me to play it safe, even though I know some of my ideas and efforts must have made her clench her teeth as she looked the other way.

And she always, always encouraged me to go for my dreams. Her quiet support gave me the confidence I needed to take chances and try things even when the odds were long for success. Things like writing.

So why have I killed off all the mothers in my books? It wasn’t ever a conscious decision. In three years of writing I never thought about it until this morning. As a writer I look for ways to give my characters hard times to learn from, tragedy to overcome, situations that force them to question everything they know and come out a better, stronger person. I guess maybe it speaks to some dark, hidden corner of my mind that I think losing a mother would be one of the hardest losses to face, and not one I want to even think about in my own real life journey.

So to all the moms I have killed of in writing, I am sorry. I’ll have to find a new source of pain to inflict on my heroines, since I sure don’t want to become predictable. And the next mother I write? I’ll try to make sure she is every bit as wonderful , loving, and alive as my own.

Post a Comment