Which is why this month's Beautiful People is so brilliant! Cait and Skye have concocted a set of questions revolving around parents. You may think of said parents as those pesky individuals who are ridiculously hard to deal with when your main character is underage ("No, you are most certainly not invading the bad guy's fortress with only a gun and your boyfriend to keep you safe! You have a curfew, young lady! Where in the world did you get that gun in the first place? And excuse me, but that boy never asked for my permission to take you out.") . . . or perhaps you see them as those helpful beings who provide your character with lots of angst and emotional ammunition . . . or maybe they're part of a supportive cast for your main. Or all of the above? Anyway, parents play such a vital part in our own lives. It only makes sense that they affect novels too.
As soon as I found out what this month's theme was, I knew instantly who I was going to pick. I later had a secondary idea come to mind, but felt that option #1 was significantly more interesting. (No, it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my knowledge of option #2's characters is about the size of a pea. Not at all.)
(Regrettably, I have no picture to show you. I don't know enough actors/faces, nor do I have a Pinterest account. Help! If you think of anyone falling under the "16-years-old, brown-ish blond hair, grey eyes, intense gaze" category, tell me!)
Swinging the door open, Josiah peered out again. The hall was empty. He treaded softly toward the kitchen, his socks noiseless on the hardwood floor. The ting of cutlery and the upbeat melody of a song on the radio filtered down the hall. Mom hummed along for a few notes. Josiah paused at the entryway. What's my problem? Why won't I just go ahead and tell her? He leaned against the wall and called to mind an image of Mom's face, framed in loose, dark curls, her sparkly eyes laughing at the world. Her face shrank to give room for the rest of her—arms quick to pull him into a hug and fingers ready to muss his hair or flick his arm just to get a silly reaction out of him. Her concern over his disturbing dreams wouldn't merely provoke a phone call and a psychologist appointment. She'd be absolutely sick with worry. Fear would silence her song and wrap her heart in its icy clutches. How could he subject her to such imprisonment?1. Does he know both his biological parents? Why/why not?
Yes. Josiah's grown up with both parents (whose names are Robert and Jessica Williams, in case you were wondering), along with his three younger siblings.
2. Has he inherited any physical resemblance from his parents?
He has his dad's grey eyes and brown-ish blond hair, although his dad's has darkened with age. Josiah's facial structure is more like his mom's though: well proportioned and not bad to look at.
3. What's his parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!
4. Does he share any personality traits with his parental figures? And which does he take after most?
He makes quick decisions and is very passionate about certain things, which are traits his mother gave him, along with imagination and a love of life. And Josiah may not realize it, but he and his father both have a deep-seated desire to protect those they love. They just express it in different ways.
5. Does he get on with his parental figure(s) or do they clash?
As you may have guessed, he gets along with his mom really well. The two have an easygoing, loving relationship. They banter back and forth together, and she seems to understand his soul. But things are strained between Josiah and his father these days. Robert has high expectations of his son, who doesn't feel he measures up. From Josiah's perspective, his dad doesn't listen, doesn't hear when Josiah tries to show him who he really is.
As I planned book two's rewrites, this father-son conflict unspooled even more in my mind. When Josiah comes home after book one, full of stories about his adventures, and Robert doesn't believe him . . . well, let's just say things get simultaneously very cold and very fiery between them. Josiah's relationship with Jessica also takes a considerable weight, because she has trouble believing him too.
6. If he had to describe his parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?
7. How has his parental figure(s) helped him most in his life?
Robert has instilled in Josiah strong morals (perhaps not in all areas, but some—I have to give him a bit of credit). Although rare, the words "Well done" spoken by his father have impacted Josiah as well. Jessica has always given him a safe place to be, all while encouraging his various pursuits.
8. What was his biggest fight with his parental figure(s)?
As I was saying earlier, the beginning of book 2 will see a lot of conflict between Josiah and both of his parents. Jessica honestly doesn't know what to think of her son's claims, and Robert angrily labels him a lunatic, yet still hopes to shake his son out of his 'delusions.'
9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in his ancestry?
He has British blood somewhere on the Williams side, and a trace of Jewish ancestry on the Soloway's side (his mom's).
10. What's his favorite memory with his parental figure(s)?
Right before he hit his teen years, Josiah and his dad went on a weekend fishing trip in the mountains. Robert seemed lighter then, as if by shedding his suit jacket, he'd put off his unyielding ways. The two of them actually connected that weekend, actually laughed together and had a good time. Unfortunately, the connection faded afterwards.
His favorite memory with his mom was when she helped him with a school project in middle school. Together they built a model castle, complete with working drawbridge and miniature knights. She surprised him the day before the project was due by giving him a homemade dragon to add to the display. That whimsical touch has stuck with Josiah. He still keeps that dragon on his desk.
That's the Williams parents for ya! So what are your thoughts on fictional parents, either as a reader or as a writer? Are they a nuisance? Do you enjoy reading about them? Do they add depth? And hey, can you think of a best and worst set of parents?