By Gregory Allen
Families come in all shapes and sizes. I happen to have one of those that share everything – nothing being off limits. I have friends that say they have a complete 'surface' family and never discuss anything of importance. (They even freak out a little by how open I am with my own family.) But they are the people that will be there for you through it all...whenever you need them.
As close as I am to my own, I'm still not close in miles. I moved from Texas to New York in the late 80s at 18 years old and had to form a family unit away from home. And I did. I can still recall several people from my college who had grown up in Texas all getting together for that first Thanksgiving away and going out to Dallas BBQ to find some sort of southern roots. We had created a pseudo-family and gosh-darn it: we were going to enjoy the holiday together.
But not everyone knows those 'roots'. People who are adopted or grow up in the foster care system may not have a direct link to the past and therefore need to create that unit. That's what I worked through in my novel PATCHWORK OF ME. Sara Butler is in her 30s with no parents. No blood family to speak of. No ties to anyone. That lack of family has shaped who she is as an adult and she has spent years attempting to find a connection. (And trust me; she goes through many bad relationships and choices in her attempt.) So (in time) she creates that bond with her closest friends and has to discover how to let her walls down and let people in. She has spent a lifetime of building walls and her demolition skills are not great when it comes to breaking through them.
Families have been something I enjoy writing on. All kinds. I think relationships are what makes books interesting. How people choose to interact (or not in some cases). It says so much about who the character is much as a mirror does to reality. How we treat those 'family' members in our lives speak volumes on who we are as people. That’s what draws me to the phenomenon of what really makes up a family. I especially love to create those very different from my own. I know that world and I find great comfort in it. But to create a completely foreign one to my own excites me as an author (as well as a reader) and allows my characters to go on a journey that a reader can travel along. And just maybe, the reader will see something they identify with and might cause them to ask a question. If my writing can assist in something like that: then welcome to my family!
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Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating - PG13