Ok, so, I think if you’re a writer, any writer, you come to your stories with some sort of emotional baggage and that usually crops up in your stories somehow. Maybe in ways you aren’t even thinking about.
I’ve personally noticed that once I stop to examine my work the theme of fatherhood kept cropping up. Most especially in my YA Fantasy “Heir to the Underworld” (Coming out in a few months from Sapphire Blue!).
This preoccupation, or interest in fatherhood on my part comes from a fairly obvious source: I never really got to know my father. He passed away when I was just three years old.
<—-Me and Dad (I’m the baby. :D)
But don’t worry, this blog is not going to be all weepy. Right now I’m more interested in discussing how this preoccupation manifested itself in “Heir to the Underworld.” Namely, in my character Colin.
See, Colin is the heroine Freddy’s dad, and he is, if I do say so myself, a really freaking good dad. Fun, affectionate, and protective as hell when it comes to his daughter. Just in my personal opinion, I think he’s the kind of dad a lot of kids would like to have. He dotes on Freddy, and they spend a lot of time together, hacking at each other with pointy objects. (Colin’s hobbies include archery and sword play, and he’s passed this love of the martial arts on to his daughter). They even go to RenFaires together.
As the book goes along Freddy’s relationship with her dad necessarily gets complicated as things from the past crop up and events around them explode. (No spoilers. :D)
It isn’t even just my heroine who has the complicated relationship with her dad, my hero has one too. He’s in his father’s shadow; he’s eager to please a man who will never be pleased. His father is distant, cruel and calculating.
So, simplistically, there’s a dichotomy in the book between the uber-good dad and the not-so-nice dad, and how the influence or lack of interest in the fathers helped shaped the characters. It sort of became one of the big themes of the book without my realizing it until maybe my second or third editing pass.
Ah, the blind spots on our souls. How they creep up on us.
I suppose this is my rather roundabout way of saying sometimes the influences of our lives can help shape our books, adding a richness and texture we may not have found without them. If I didn’t have my little preoccupation with father figures, I might not have written Colin into “Heir to the Underworld”, and that would have been a shame. Because he really is awesome. If I do say so myself. ;P
I mean, how can anyone who looks a bit like Sean Bean not be awesome, right?