I’m fairly youngish in terms of life expectancy and all, but over the course of three decades, I have written a lot of words, and quite a few of those words made up books. Not all fit for human consumption, but some are, and yay for that.
Of the almost twenty books I’ve written to completion, over half of them feature a main character very positively and very directly affected by their grandparent’s influence, whether living or dead.
The first book I ever finished, the hero’s grandfather passes away and this is sort of the turning point for his choices. The next two books featured the hero’s brothers, who were also affected in some deep way by their grandfather. This is a pretty consistent theme throughout many of my books. You’ll see it in the Harrington Airfield series, the Antiques in Flight series, and likely again and again.
I don’t do this intentionally. I don’t set out to write about people influenced by grandparents. It evolves in these stories because I cannot imagine who I’d be if I did not have my grandparent’s influence. It is hard for me to imagine people who don’t have these shining beacons of amazingness in their lives.
This is not to take away from my parents. My parents are awesome too. I am very lucky when it comes to family members and the people I come from, but I think there is something about the grandparent-grandchild relationship that makes it that much more special, especially in your childhood/early adulthood…when you are constantly under your parents’ feet. When they are trying to shape you into a decent person and you are all NO LEAVE ME ALONE, GOD.
My maternal grandmother made me feel like I mattered during those adolescent years you feel like you don’t.
(Feel free to be jealous of my Harry Potter-esque glasses).
My paternal grandmother works harder than anyone I’ve ever met.
My paternal grandfather is the kindest person in the world.
My maternal grandfather has pursued his passion for decades.
My son’s both have pieces of my grandfather’s names in theirs. My maternal grandmother’s death was one of the defining moments of my adulthood.
Everything I am is because of so many people, but they are the base of me, and so it is hard for me not to write characters who have that same base.
I dedicated Flight Risk to my maternal grandparents. My grandfather’s antique airport was the inspiration for Antiques in Flight. His passion for making what he loved a career inspired me to seek publication years ago. In the book, the heroine goes through a scrapbook her grandmother made her. In my mind’s eye, it is the scrapbook my grandmother made me.
I don’t put a lot of myself into the books I write. No heroine is a direct representation of me, no hero some weird amalgamation of words to make up my husband. These stories are not my life, but in every character there is some seed of myself, some thread of understanding between us.
Oftentimes, that thread is grandparents, and it always makes me so grateful for mine.