Parents seem to be extraneous characters in romance. Often they’re long dead, which I get from a character-development standpoint (the main characters, not the dead ones), because this makes our protagonist wounded/alone/amenable to making mistakes that a parent might have cautioned against. I largely read historical romances, in which a deceased parent is understandable, but when they are present, they are often absent-minded, out of touch, or given to hysteria. Yes, yes, I’m indulging in gross generalization, but bear with me a moment.
I’m wrapping up a novella that serves as a prequel of sorts to The Unconventionals, a three-book series set in Regency England. Our intrepid heroine has, in fact, lost her father, and has helped her elder brother manage their land. Her mother was one more thing for our heroine to oversee…until it occurred to me that her mother would have been my age. Yes I should have realized that from the get-go, but I was in Eudora’s head, not her mother’s. I practically heard the proverbial record screech (wait! I AM old. What modern sound indicates an abrupt full stop in the action?). Suddenly, Eudora’s mother’s character was trite and one dimensional and I had to rewrite her. Nothing changed plot-wise, but I suddenly had a character who could add so much more to my main character’s evolution.
So many romances are, understandably, about young people falling in love and I still greatly enjoy reading and writing those, but I’m also enjoying the wealth of life experience we “mothers” can bring to a story as secondary characters…but perhaps also as main characters (cue gears in brain whirring—yes, another antiquated reference).
Great, all I need is one more reason to procrastinate! As if Instagram wasn't enough...