Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Touch

On Mother’s day I have to take a few seconds to honor my mom; she is a huge reason why I write in the first place. My mom was very young when she had me but she didn’t let that stand in her way of a wonderful, supportive, and loving mom. When I was little I loved to read, and be read to, enter my mom, who read to me night after night, even when I chose the same books over and over again. The Monster At The End of This Book with Grover was my favorite for a while, and I can still remember the suspense she would build up as she flipped each page, growing ever closer to the monster….
She later told me that I made her read that book so often that she hid it under the couch cushion just to get me to pick something else to read. From Grover, to Ramona, to Dear Mr. Henshaw, to the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, to Sweet Valley High, then Christopher Pike, then Dickens, then Hemingway, then Austen, then two English degrees later, none of it would be possible without my mom.  So Mom, this is for you.
In my first drafts of A Marked Past I wrote Leah, Lyla’s Mom, in as a major character, mirroring her after my own mom. I gave her a positive outlook, an outgoing, bubbly personality, and a forgiving heart. Leah was front and center in the action, teaching Lyla about the importance of family, loyalty, and honor; but my literary agent told me she had to go. She advised me that “teens do not want to read about parents, cool or not” so Leah’s role changed; I cut it to one of a static character, removing her from the main storyline, pushing her to the background, but still being careful to keep her as part of the larger story. She may not be part of the everyday action, but she appears when Lyla is at a crossroads and needs to be reminded of what she’s fighting for. Most of our moms are probably in the same situation. They may not star in the everyday drama we call our lives, but they were there in the beginning shaping us in to the people we are today, and even now, they always seem to make an appearance when we need them most.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, especially mine!

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