Annie in MISCONCEIVE: Close to father; difficult relationship with woman she thinks is her mother.
Amanda in SCATTERED MOMENTS: Alcoholic father; mother deceased.
Quinn in FANTASY MAN (2/16): Mother deceased; raised by father and brother.
Cleo in CLEO’S WEB (11/16): Abandoned by father; raised by struggling mother.
Bree in (ANIMAL 4/17): Abandoned by parents; raised by grandparents.
I’ve mentioned before that in most of my books there’s a child who doesn’t belong and that child is a part of me. But what I also notice (look at the list above) is that there is never a strong mother figure for my heroines. The mothers have died, been unfit or untrustworthy. The fathers are either alcoholics or non-existent. The heroines are looking for love, of course, but also for someone they can trust who’s going to stick by them…forever.
In how many historical romance novels are the heroines orphans? Rich or poor, parents died young, leaving children to fend for themselves. Often there is an unscrupulous relative in charge of the child’s life.
In my career as an amateur psychologist I’ve always been fascinated by patterns. Nothing has fascinated me more than seeing authors’ life themes played out in their fiction. Show me a happy family with little conflict and I’ll show you a writer with nothing to say. Dysfunction drives everything in fiction, especially internal conflict and motivation.