- by Barbara Meyers
Supposedly, every fiction writer has a theme. Have you ever noticed a pattern with your favorite authors? The heroines in their stories are always bumbling or a bit quirky. The heroes are always dark and forbidding but have a well-hidden soft spot that is key to the story. Or maybe in each book there’s some sort of bizarre family situation.
I realized as I wrote The First Time Again, the third book in The Braddock Brotherhood series, that each book in the series has a similar theme. I call it “The Misplaced Child.”
Starting with A Month From Miami, Molly wasn’t so much misplaced as she was abandoned by her mother. Her fervent wish for “a mommy who lives with me” comes true when Kaylee arrives on the scene and makes a deal with Molly’s father Rick: child care in exchange for car repair.
In A Forever Kind of Guy, the silent Fletcher is also semi-orphaned and in the custody of his step-aunt, Hayley. Mothering does not come naturally to Hayley, but Ray instantly connects with Fletcher.
Enter Matty in The First Time Again. Baylee’s adopted mixed-race brother has been abandoned twice, by his biological mother’s choice and by his adoptive one’s death.
In each book the misplaced child is a key player in the story line. As I work on book four, the heroine has adopted a child who is the result of her ex-husband’s affair with the maid.
I’m not sure where these misplaced children in my stories come from. Perhaps I watched too many soap operas during my formative years. Does anyone remember As The World Turns and The Edge of Night? I’m sure my mother didn’t want me watching those during my childhood, but how could she say no if it meant she couldn’t watch them either? I loved the drama and the secrets and the intrigue.
I can recall playing “house” and creating entire scenarios for my friends to follow which surrounded adopted baby dolls. I don’t recall why but I once got in big trouble for this.
As a child I occasionally wished I had been adopted for that would have explained why I felt such a disconnect from my parents and siblings.
The misplaced children in my stories are looking for a place to belong or a way to reconnect to or create a family. I’m sure each one is part of that misplaced child inside of me.