When I began writing my series, family was not a very important concept to me. I was 17 years old, looking forward to college and getting out of the house on my own. But as I have grown, so have my characters.
*warning – spoiler alert for those who have not read both of my books*
From the beginning, family was an important issue for my characters. My first book, “Wolf of the Past,” showed Nicole Cameron, an orphan who had recently lost her adoptive parents and was fairly alone in the world. She meets David, who also suffered the loss of family at a young age. Like Nicole, David was “adopted” by someone who took him in and treated him as family. Also like Nicole, David lost that person and found himself pretty much alone. They find each other and have to overcome their fears of loss to make real their hopes of actually finding someplace where they belong, someone they belong with.
In my second book, “Wolf of the Present,” Meghan hates the concept of family. She never knew her father, and her mother left a lot to be desired. She was absent and neglectful before finally being put in a coma by an angry, drunken boyfriend. Meg bounced around in foster homes, never finding a place to settle or a family to call her own.
Mark also faced great tragedy in his early family once his werewolf abilities were discovered. He and his sister were attacked by their parents and neighbors, resulting in the death of his sister. Although not as isolated as some of my characters, Mark was left scarred by what happened.
Later in the book, you learn of a family connection between Meg and other characters. This tests her deep-seated fear and resentment of family and makes her re-evaluate how important having a family can be.
I have worked a great deal on the books that are yet to come in the series, and I found that family plays an ever larger role in the story. What makes a family? Is family important? Is family a good or bad thing? How do you get past bad experiences with your family and not become jaded to the concept of being a part of a family? There are many different types of relationships. Be they romantic, friends or family, each have their own role and importance. And each play a big part in developing who we are and who we become. You can’t ignore one without losing something in your characters or your story.