My first cousins both live in Arizona, meaning I don’t get to see them very often. I haven’t been to Arizona since I was in high school, but my cousins, first and second, and their families, are a huge part of the fabric of my life.
I may not be there for the daily interaction, but across the distance we still share each other’s joys and triumphs, and our losses. We have “watched” each other’s children grow, through photographs and through our parents’ conversations. We still end our phone calls with “I love you”, and we mean it, and I know that if I needed them they’d be there in a heartbeat, with no questions asked.
A person doesn’t have to be beside you to be necessary to your life, and knowing this myself I try to give my written characters a family that extends beyond the people we can see.
I like to find this as a reader, too, in books like Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten, where Elena’s “family” member Logan, far away and on the phone, is such a vital part of who Elena is, and what she does, or in Lucilla Andrews’s The First Year, in which her brother Hector’s words of wisdom, from the wings, guide Rose’s interactions with the men she meets.
There’s something about family I can’t quantify or name, but it connects us to each other all the same, for good (in my case) or for bad, and I like to let my characters experience that kind of deep connection.
(And to my cousin Kerri down in Scottsdale, Happy Birthday! Love you.)
Don’t forget to come back Sunday, to catch up with Julie Cohen…