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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It’s in the Genes

It’s in the Genes

I have an obscene amount of shoes. I don’t wear most of them, but they sure do decorate my closet prettily. My shoe obsession is inherited from my mother, whose own shoe collection makes mine look like a dinghy to a luxury yacht. My father instilled his own virtues in me – most especially his belief that when it comes to money, women buy and men pay. My sister is my polar opposite. Where she makes a mess, I clean up. Where she shops at thrift stores, I shop at Nordstrom. Where she takes public transportation, I take cabs.

On the surface, these may seem like silly little personality traits with no more effect on life than a mosquito bite – the red, super-itchy, annoying kind of bite that fades, forgotten within days.

Yet, these traits make up our personalities, our very souls, and influence our relationships in ways that can change the course of our lives.

My quirks translate to this: I spend more than I make on shoes, and would choose a pair of patent leather red Mary Janes over dinner. The man I marry will never raise an eyebrow when I come home with a Coach purse and his credit card. And my husband’s evil twin will be my sister’s perfect match.

Family’s influence on our personal lives is a theme in my novels. In my debut novel, A Date for Love, their parents’ marriages heavily shape the hero and heroine, Jordan and Abby. Abby’s looking for the kind of devoted, everlasting love her parents shared, while her best friend (and secret crush) Jordan is as serial in his dating as his mother is in marriage.

In my recent release, The Baby Interview, the hero, Cole, learned from his parents that money can buy anything, even a family. Everything he believes tailspins when he meets the one woman he can’t buy – Lucy.

And just as in life, the happily ever after doesn’t only end with the hero and heroine proclaiming their love, it also ends with confronting – and accepting – the family that made you who you are.

To read excerpts and reviews, and to learn more about me, visit my website at http://www.robbieterman.com.


George said...

Hi Robbie --

Yeah, it's weird how family has influenced us. How many time did I swear when I was younger that I wouldn't do things like my mother? Yet, how often do I catch my self now and bemoan "Gwad! I am my mother!"

You mentioned the marrige thing -- that is true with my husband and I.

His parents have been married for 57 years! His grandparents remained celibate after their spouses died. His three brothers have all celebrated 25+ years married to the same woman. He was influenced by them and waited for years until he found the perfect gal for him and vows that if something should happen to me, he will never marry again.

I on the other hand, got married at 18 (just like mom and grandma and my aunt) and have no qualms about multiple marriages. My mother married twice (widow), my grandmother 4 times (all widowed), and my aunt three times (all divorce). Myself, I'm on marriage #3 (one divorce, one widowed) and I know with out a doubt I will remarry again if something should happen to this marriage.

Great blog -- I'll be thinking about it all day - in the little things that I do, to catch more of my families influence!


Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Great post, Robbie! I find that theme coming up often in my own books. Sometimes it gets the characters together, and sometimes its what they have to overcome. But I think our family background is an important part of who we are, and writing it makes you characters so much more real.
Oh--and I think you should wear the shoes!

Elizabeth Heiter said...

Hi Robbie,

This is a great topic, especially since family plays such a big role in all of your books. I think it’s fascinating to see how two characters from the same family or the same type of family dynamic can be so different. In my WIP, my heroine and my villain both come from difficult family backgrounds, but made hugely different choices that impact where they are now – and who will be triumphant in the end.

I loved the blog! And I can't wait to see how family shapes the characters in your next book!

Jodi Redford said...

Hi Robbie! Great blog. Wow, I can so relate to the shoe obsession and being the polar opposite of your sister. Guilty on both charges. ;-)

I love the idea of using family dynamics to shape the novels and characters we write. So much of that impacts who we are as individuals and it really gives a book that extra layer of realism and emotional conflict.

Both of your books sound awesome. Can't wait to read them!

Abbey MacInnis said...

Hi Robbie,
It really is amazing how family dynamics can both consciously and subconsciously influence us and our writing. It makes for much fun though.
My sister and I have some of the same dynamics that you share with yours--I'm the neat one, while she doesn't blink when her place is a mess. She's big on checking out thrift stores. Me, though, as long as it fits and it's comfortable I couldn't care whether there's a label attached. :-)
Excellent blog! :-) Can't wait to see what's coming next from you.

Evangeline Collins said...

Hi Robbie!

Wonderful post and so very true! Family dynamics shape so much of our and our characters' personality.

Isabel Roman said...

I spend more than I make on shoes, and would choose a pair of patent leather red Mary Janes over dinner. I can so relate!! Macy's is my store to shop. Always has been and I blame my mother for that, too. (OK, it was what, Bamberger's first?)

But it's true, that family ties, lack thereof, the close ones, the distant ones, really do affect characters' lives no matter what. In their personalities, decisions, even whether or not to shop! :)