When I was growing up, my role model was my father, not my mother. All my best family memories revolved around my dad, not my mom. My dad was a construction plumber and starting at age five I would go to work with him. Much to my mother's dismay, I'd come home happy and filthy from a day of playing on the job site. My dad was the fun one, taking us kids on hikes, teaching us how to use tools and make cool stuff like homemade stilts. My mom was stuck with the "business end" of parenting. She was a stay at home mom and took care of everything. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, driving us to school, volleyball games, field trips. She was the mom who brought cupcakes to class and was at every sporting event her four children played in, and yet I never noticed these things until I was a mom.Once I became a mom, I started relating more to my own mother. Suddenly she was a super hero in my eyes as I tried to do it all as well as she had done.
The other thing I noticed that changed as I got older was my perception of women in general. Being a daddy's girl, I was a bit of a Tomboy and couldn't understand what all the "prissy" girls were into with their makeup and flashy clothing. Then when day I discovered that I liked boys but boys seemed to like those girly girls. That was annoying. My teenage mind couldn't figure out why they would be interested in someone who couldn't even throw football, let alone change their own tire! These girls were useless, in my opinion, and yet the boys loved them. I remember a paperback book I bought called, "How to Get a Teenage Boy." This is what I remember: 1) Ask him questions about what he likes. 2) Don't talk about yourself. 3) Take up his hobbies. 4) Give him compliments 5) Don't talk too much 6) Always dress nice.
Boy, no wonder I couldn't get a teenage boy; I didn't do any of those things.
In high school, I learned that girls were mean and would do anything to get the guy they wanted. I didn't have a lot of respect for girls. They seemed silly and frivolous. It wasn't until college that I met some "real" women; women who talked about things other than boys and clothes and dating. One woman in particular, Janie Husson, made a huge impact on my life. She was older than I was by about 2 years and had survived a number of hard knocks, but she always kept going. She was the first really strong woman that had an influence in my life. Her friendship and advice changed my opinion of women and my life. Once I was married and started having children, I found the true value of female friends and as I mentioned, saw my mother in a whole new light.
This metamorphosis of how I felt about women took a good forty years. But luckily for me, it happened before I started writing fiction, otherwise my female characters would have been very unlikable women. Now my protagonists are all strong women, many with issues they need to resolve, but with an inner strength that sees them through. My latest novel, Queen of the Club, coming out Dec. 7th from Ellora's Cave (Yes, shameless plug!) is the story of a single mom who is juggling work and raising two teenage boys. More about this in December!!! But the point is, without having discovered the strong, resilient women in my life, my writing would have been filled with the silly and frivolous women of my youth. Thank goodness for strong women!