Maternal Figures: Happy Mother's Day
I recently received a message from a reader asking about the 'mother characters' in my novels. She pointed out that I tend to have a lot of deceased maternal figures in my writing. I have to acknowledge this as accurate. If you've read any of my work, you'll know that many of my characterisations centre around intimate family relationships, especially sibling to sibling, and parent to child.
In honour of Mother's Day, I've gone back through my work to look at a couple of my maternal characters and what I've given those protagonists I appear to have robbed of their mothers:
Always a Princess: In Always a Princess, the heroine Syeira's deceased mama was a deliberate choice. I needed her to be more mature than your average Regency-era eighteen-year-old. I wanted her to be a spokesperson for her people which meant her mother had to be gone.
This opened the way for moments of connection with our hero ,whose mama (the Duchess) died while he was a boy. I intended to illustrate that both mothers cast a long influence on my protagonists, despite their non-life status. The character of Mrs Edwards ('Eddy') is a mother figure to the hero, and also his young sister. The character of young Lydia developed a caring sentiment between the hero's love interest and his little sister. The connection between Syeira and Lydia is sisterly more than maternal, ahis had to be the case. Why? Simply that having Syeira mothering Wil's sister seemed a bit too close to having my heroine mothering her mate. It's not that sort of book! Read for yourself.
The Christmas Salon:
In The Christmas Salon both protagonists are again motherless. However, there are two maternal figures in the novella because the heroine Louisa is one herself by the time our hero tracks her down for love. The other mater is Louisa's artist teacher and mentor, Madame Vignee. Their relationship is very much in the style of mother-daughter.
Madame was such a fun character to write. She's based on a lady I once worked with at a publishing house. She was full of sage (and scandalous) advice, like her Friday night bon mot: 'Going out dears? Leave your brassieres at home - why waste time?"
Madame treats the hero in much the same way as she does the heroine. I always intended my protagonists to provide this good lady with a second chance at a family. For those who have not read the novel, Madame loses her entire family, including two sons, in a brutal fashion. Find more details here.
The Case of the Black Diamond:
Another one with motherless protagonists (my reader certainly has a point), but again, not a novella without maternal figures. There's Mrs Skarsgard at The Soho Club of course, and the protagonist Clare Ryan herself her much younger sister after their mama passed. If any readers wondered if the decade-long age difference between my Ryan sisters was a subtle reference to the years between Mr Darcy and his sister in Austen's P&P, you are correct.
The hero of this novella is also an orphan and needs no mothering from anyone. However, he does have a much older half-brother who is part-sibling, part-parent and they are all annoyance to each other. The briefly-mentioned Mrs Campbell is also a maternal figure, though a minor one, who feels the death of the young maid deeply. This death forms the heart of the mystery and the solution to it is fully revealed in my sequel novella releasing 30 Nov. Preorders are live as it appears in the new Soho Club collection.
If you'd like to review the first instalment, let me know in the comments, vie email, or find me on SM.
Love's Sweet Arrow:
Here we are with a heroine who has a living, breathing mater - but she's not terribly pleasant. In fact, she's the source of much woe for my heroine and I confess there's a little Lady Susan in her. She's not the coquette of Austen's novella, but she nevertheless manages to discomfit her daughter who, like Frederica Vernon, prefers not to marry the gentleman chosen by her mama in her own interests.
As for the hero, I gave you lovely readers another orphan I'm afraid, but my naval officer was not without filial support. Still, he had no mother from a young age and again, my maternal reader seem to be correct: I do leave out a lot of mothers. Find out more about this one here.
So today, I'd like to say thank you to mothers everywhere. I am grateful and well aware that without you, I would not be here.