Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Late

Twenty-eight years ago (also a Monday, May 14) was the day I officially became a mother, with a birth certificate that proved it. Now, as then, that special occasion fell on the day after the national celebration of Mother’s Day. 
Missing out on a presidentially-designated day of honor didn't bother me. However, as much as it means to be a mother, I've noticed that romance writers tend not to focus on motherhood.  
Is it akin to the dead parents syndrome? The built-in personal tragedy angle that simplifies a writer's work? 
I’m sure some writers successfully include children in their stories.
It’s just that I can’t think of any.  
Oh, sure, darling twins may arrive in an epilogue, but bring those bundles of joy into the story too soon, and the romance is gone. 
Or is it? Do you have a favorite romance that successfully incorporates a realistic child or two? Not one that went to summer camp. I mean one that’s underfoot. 
Tell me so I can put it on my reading list!


Heather said...

I was born on a Monday, May 14, on a day after Mother's Day!

RedPeril said...

I too have noticed how rare it is to find children depicted in romance-oriented novels. They do seem to muck up the plot a bit, but I think they tend to get pared out for simplicity's sake. Hailey Edward's paranormal 'A Hint of Frost' did handle a number of children pretty well, though they were the much younger siblings of the heroine. I really appreciated how much the hero's reaction to small children endeared me to him.

Of course, I've also seen it done poorly, where the child is little more than a prop who doesn't seem to have an age-appropriate vocabulary. I love to see it when it's done right, though. Maybe it's a little odd, but I've always thought that even the most winsome, strapping hero can be made sexier if you strap a baby/small child to him to complement that muscular chest. >.> Maybe that's just the biological clock talking.

On a related note, I'm pretty sure I've heard it a time or two in different workshops that writers tend to be extremely hesitant about working with children or animals (speaking in terms of side-characters.) Anyone else heard something on that order?

~Angela Blount

Chris Bailey said...

Happy birthday, Heather!

Chris Bailey said...

I like to include animals! Children are tough, though. They're easy to create as brats or precocious or just too precious.

The only thing I've heard about writing animals is that you know it's literary when the dog/cat/horse dies.

Carla Swafford said...

I guess too many of us who are parents know there's nothing truly sexy about stretch marks, bottle feeding, poopie diapers, etc. The things we associate with children being around. Though we know all of that is good for a romantic comedy or two.

Sorry. I don't have any to recommend as I normally avoid those. Love my kids and grandkids, but other people's, not so much. Like what Angela said, they make them act too young or old.

BUT, strangely, the book I'm writing actually has a parent of the heroine in it along with a five year old nephew. He's a rather quiet child. :-)

In the hot books I write, they really shouldn't have a major role.


Cari Hislop said...

I have had children in several of my romances. My current work slowly being finished has a widowed hero with five mostly grown sons (he married his first wife at 21 so he's only 44). The sons are central to the story. They set it in motion by advertising for a wife for their father (without his knowledge) in all the papers and unwittingly make him a national laughingstock. And then they move the story along by continuing to help/hinder their father's love life. I have one story where the heroine is a widow with an infant, but the child mostly remains in the background. Young children can be a difficult element in a make them real without taking over or always being under foot is quite a balance act.