Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fictional Mothers

All my novels and short stories contain at least one mother, whether she is on stage or not. Why is this? Many novels I read also present at least one mother. But I have read many others that did not have a single mother character. It seems natural to me, because most of my stories tell about a couple and their families, and several comprise a series based on characters in the previous novel.

Mothers aren't always portrayed as the perfect, loving, nurturing type. In my first novel, All My Hopes and Dreams, the villain is the mother of the hero, and becomes the mother-in-law of my unsuspecting, perfectly groomed, proper heroine, Miss Cynthia Harrington. Wow, is she in for a surprise when she arrives hundreds of miles from her home across Texas with her new husband, Ricardo Romero. Immediately, she learns her mother-in-law Felicitas hates her entire being. Felicitas made a good evil mother, even making her husband and son miserable. But as in most of my books, I must find the good side of our dear Felicitas.

In Texas Promise, Jo is the product of a rape when her mother, Marilee, was only fifteen. Marilee was abandoned and isolated by her father, because he was ashamed of her pregnancy, even though she had been a victim. Marilee learned to be a good mother all by herself, because she, herself, had been raised by only her father. Marilee is the epitome of The Good Mother, protecting, nurturing, and loving her child, and Jo in return adores her mother. Even though she acted strong and capable, Marilee's heart and mind were scarred, causing her to feel unlovable and damaged. Buck Cameron, though, taught her to love not only herself, but him, as well.

for Most Beatiful Cover 
In my contemporary Texas novel, Crystal Lake Reunion, I include two mothers. The mothers are connected by two babies--one who died at birth, and one who grew into a beautiful, brilliant  young woman. The surviving daughter has no inkling that her life is not as it seems, and when she begins to ferret out the truth on her own, she learns no one has told her the truth, and her world begins to unravel. Who is her mother?

The story revolves around the women in the story, but a young doctor also plays a big part in the heroine's life, adding romance to the tale.
***For the Month of May, Crystal Lake Reunion is available on the Whiskey Creek Publishing website in electronic form for 99Cents.****  
Twenty-five-year-old Houston realtor, Dana Dawson, has no reason to believe her life is not as it seems. When Ruth Dawson, her mother, travels thirty miles to Crystal Lake for her twenty-fifth high school reunion, she becomes ill. Dr. Grant Adams summons Dana to the small town she has never seen. There Dana begins to unravel a secret about her past she did not know existed.

Dana keeps her suspicions to herself and remains in Crystal Lake when her mother goes home. During the next week, she becomes acquainted with the charming young doctor and elicits his help to discover her true birthplace. There she finds a shocking truth that not only changes her life, but also almost destroys her mother and another entire family.
Prologue and part of 1st chapter:

Thank you!
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. I always find mothers to be interesting in romance novels. In my mind, a large part of how the heroine acts is either in defiance of or to please her mother.

    Many authors make their characters stronger by keeping Mom offstage or, worse, in the cemetery, so that the daughter has to fend for herself.

    While its sad that moms don't get a lot of print space in romance novels, it's lovely that the daughters get to have such a great character arc and become mothers (or become better mothers) themselves.

    Great post to make you think!


  2. MAGGIE--I agree about keeping most mothers off-stage, and I pretty much do that. The evil MIL had her own POV and really drove the story. In fact, she almost upstaged the hero and heroine. Too many readers mentioned how they hated her, meaning...she got the most attention.
    I'm reading a novel now in which the heroine lives with her mother, and while the plot of complicated, the heroine carries all the burdens. It's working, but generally I don't like a mother to have such a big role.
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  3. My 'mothers' have had a small but important role to play in both 'Fragrance of Violets' and 'Changing the Future'. In both cases, they had reasons (different but very genuine) for disliking the hero, at least to start with. Not had any MILs (evil or otherwise) in my novels - yet!

  4. Paula--youu know I never had a MIL. She had died years before I even met my husband. But I know for a fact from her 12 children and the way my husband talks about her, that was a lovely, sweet, kind woman, very religious. This MIL in my book--it just happened. You know how that is? My heroine and hero had married spontaneously, and she had no idea where she was going, all the way across Texas. She expected a warm welcome, but by that time I knew the MIL would be a thorn in her side.
    I don't like to have a mother present at all times--they are either discussed, or appear early on and go away, or appear at the end for some reason.
    But the mothers in CLR began and ended the story. They had to be on stage a lot.
    Thanks for you comment--as usual, I always look for your comment.

  5. How large a mother's role is varies in my books, but your post got me to thinking, Celia. None of my heroes have mothers. Oh, wait. I take that back. Andy Morgan in Something Special lives with his mother (she's ailing and he's taking care of her) but he's the only one of the lot who has a mother. Most of their mothers died or disappeared from their lives when they were young.

    Great, now I'm going to spend the day wondering if I have repressed issues with my own mother. :-)

  6. I have a very contentious relationship with my own mother so I gotta remember moms like Marmee in Little Women or Ma in Little House when I portray then. Yet my gramma was my absolute hero. my mom's mom...go figure.

    Thanks for the interesting post.

  7. I like it when I read a romance where the mother is nurturing and encouraging. Of course, I love stories where the heroine becomes a mom and proves to be a good one.
    I have a serious lack of mothers in my stories. Maybe it's because my mom died when I was in my twenties. I felt sort of orphanish. (I know. It's not a real word. LOL) Mother's Day leaves me feeling a bit sad.
    In my WIP, I do have moms--lots of 'em.
    Great post today, Celia.

  8. You've made me realize something about the mothers in my stories. I don't have any. They have all died before my stories begin. How utterly sad. Not going to happen in my current story either as she is an orphan. :(

  9. Keena--all of us probably have suppressed issues with our mothers. Some to a greater extent than others, but it's there for us all--I think.
    Poor heroes--no mothers around. No wonder they cause so much havoc.

  10. Tanya--you're not the only one who had a better relationship with her grandmother than her mother. I'm not saying it's common, but it does happen.
    Sorry about your relationship...I loved and adored my mother when I was younger, and I try to remember those years. As she aged and I did things she didn't approve of--like go to college with preschool children at home--she became more and more contentious. Just normal, I guess.

  11. Sarah--I think Mother's Day make a lot of people a little sad. Or nostaligic.
    I feel for those women who were never mothers. I know some, and they seem to get along just fine. One lady I know had a grown step-son, and she says in her heart she feels like a mother. Truly, she is the most nurturing, caring person in the world. She had to do something with all that love.
    Your 20s would be a hard time to lose a mother.

  12. Paisley--how strange..not one? I don't really think it's that common, though. I've read a lot of romance authors who don't mention family members--just the hero and heroine. It can be done!
    Thank you...

  13. One hero was orphaned at nine, but loved his mother's memories. He also spoke of his foster mother and played his violin at her grave when he needed consoling.

    One hero pitied his mother because his father treated her like a mouse and she never stood up to her husband.

    So, the Mothers did get in there somehow. :) How could we not have them?

  14. Paisley--well, at least you got a couple of mothers in there. Right--where would we be without them?

  15. Thank you,, too.

  16. Celia, mothers feature strongly in all of my books, either with their presence or their absence. MILs feature strongly in a couple of them. So do fathers, though; I don't discriminate. ;-) I can't imagine creating and developing characters without their family backgrounds.

  17. Another great post, Celia!

    I have mothers in my stories - most are wonderful like my mother was.

  18. Hi Celia!
    Soorry I'm late, but I wanted to tell you I agree that mothers are important characters in books. Sometimes, I don't have the opportunity to write many secondary characters in my category length romances, but I often refer to a mother or grandparent.
    I loved being able to write about my hero's mother in One for the Road - I even named her after my mother.

    Your premise for the contemporary Texas novel sounds great! Off to check out that 99cent deal. :)

  19. LK--I knew your stories had parents in them. Like you, I find it difficult to write anything with at least mentioning the mother or father, and often they appear.

  20. Diane--I can understand that. However, none of the mothers in my books are like my own mother was. I guess she was one of a kind. But I do use things she did and ways she said things for characters. I love hearing what others do in regard to this topic.

  21. Lynne--was One For the Road the story of the woman with an RV and somehow she shared it with this man? I read that, but right now my brain is on overload, so I can't recall the details. I do remember it was a sweet story.

  22. Great topic, Celia, I have a mother in almost all of my books. Their characters mimicked my mother and mother-in-law's: loving, protective, worried, meddling, pushy... Their roles enhance the tension and add humor.

  23. Celia - regarding your question - Yes. (story with the woman, the RV, and the has-been country singer on his comeback tour). Tyler's mother had a big part in the book.

    thank you for reading the book.

  24. Mona-oh, I knew you had mothers in your books! You have great models for good mothers--not everyone does, so you were doubly blessed. Personally, I like mothers in stories.

  25. Sorry to be post-Mother's Day with my comments. This blog caused me to stop and think. Yes, I have mothers in most of my books, some good, some not so good. I just create them and then let them be what they will. Strange, the close resemblance some have to my own mother! Linda