[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Lori Foster guest post on the site today. Take it away Lori!]
Very often in my books and series I write about “chosen families.” That can cover two different setups: people who are as close as brothers or sisters (sometimes closer!) but without any blood ties, or blood siblings but with different fathers or mothers.
Maybe because I come from a blended family myself, it feels very natural to me. I was raised by a stepfather who, in every way that matters, was Dad. When my parents married, my mother had my sister and me. My dad had a daughter. Together they had a son. They are each my siblings, period. No “half” or “step” clarifications ever considered. We were brought together young, without exes on the scene, and I never felt a difference. One sibling I see more often than the others, but only because we share interests.
I began writing blended families ages ago with the Buckhorn Brothers, one of my longest running series. The Buckhorns feature brothers with the same mother but different fathers, and no one would know to meet them because their mother raised them to be close. That continues on with situations for Sawyer (the 1st book) and his son, and then later with Jordan (the 4th book) and his adopted children.
Many times what we see in real life are brothers or sisters who love each other, but aren’t necessarily friends. Visits during holidays are the only times they see each other. In the fiction world, the reverse is true. Friends become as close as families and that closeness expands well beyond what blood relatives usually experience.
An example of friends who become family would be my Ultimate series with MMA fighters. The men practice together, support each other in friendly rivalry (which is how rivalry should be!) fall in love, with heckling – and sometimes unwanted guidance – from their friends, and they face trouble together.
Forging a bond with like-minded people, friends who understand you, share your concerns and have similar motivations, is a very natural process and can create a closeness that surpasses actual blood relationships.
In my newest book, Sisters Of Summer’s End, Maris and Joy each have difficult backgrounds that centered around their natural families. For them, family was the problem – and that made it difficult to cope. There’s so much emotional conflict that comes from issues with people who should love you – but don’t; who should accept you – but don’t. Maris and Joy needed that unrelated but special person in their lives, someone who understood their situation, who got their issues, and through acceptance helped balance out the hardships and enhanced the good times.
I’ve always believed that family is what you make of it, it’s where you find it, and sharing a gene pool isn’t necessary at all.
In my books, I hope readers see that encouraging each other is far more important than virtue-signaling. Telling someone else that they’re a bad person, does not make you a good person. You have to do something – and I don’t mean anything ugly or mean. Kindness, caring and consideration adds value to the lives of others.
This world has enough critical people.
We all need more love and light.
About the Author:
Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at www.lorifoster.com.
The Sister of Summer’s End by Lori Foster, out June 11th
As the summer ends, friendship begins…
When single mom Joy Lee abandoned her old life to take a job at a lakeside resort, she found something that her family’s wealth and influence could never buy: peace of mind. Not easy to come by for the once-burned divorcée who keeps everyone at a distance. But when her new friend, Maris, dares her to take a chance with the drive-in’s charismatic new owner, everything changes for Joy and her young son.
A difficult childhood has left Maris Kennedy with definite priorities. Her job running Summer’s End, the camp store and café, comes first. Always. Nothing could ever make her risk that hard-won security—especially not her free-spirited colleague. But the more she encourages Joy to open herself up to new experiences, the more Maris begins to wonder what she, too, might be missing.
Learning how to trust will bring Joy and Maris together. And soon they form a friendship that leaves them as close as sisters—and open to love where they least expect it…in Summer’s End.