I’ve been thinking about my own work lately and I realized that I have something in common with Disney: a whole lot of motherless heroines.
In Twisted, her mother’s murder is the major event in the heroine’s life. That’s not giving anything away, as the book’s cover copy reads:
Lucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now. She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.
Tara, the heroine of Lost, which comes out in May, is also motherless, though not for the same reason. Her mother’s death isn’t even mentioned in the book. (It’s actually mentioned in Twisted, though just in passing.)
Evie, the heroine of this summer’s Toying with His Affections, was raised by her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death by aneurism.
I have two more books in mind, and in both the heroine’s lack of parents is key to the story. It’s not as if the deaths need to be violent because they’re not inciting incidents for the action of the story, but they are necessary. So for the foreseeable future, I won’t be working on anything with mothers in the picture.
Now that I’ve noticed the trend, I have some suspicions as to why I am so obsessed with motherless adults even though my own mother, thank goodness, is alive and kicking. (And I mean that literally–she goes to the gym more often than I do!)
But now I am beginning to wonder…can I write a heroine with a mother in the picture? Do I even know what that woman would look like? I don’t write YA or NA, and my heroines tend to be late 20s to early 40s, so it’s not as if they’re living with their folks. You’d think I wouldn’t be so busy eliminating perfectly acceptable parents. I mean, why can’t my heroines just call their moms in another state once in a while the way normal adults do?
So I am determined that I will write a heroine who has some kind of relationship with her living mother. Good, bad, it doesn’t matter. The mother just has to still be around. But it won’t be for a while.