My guests for the interview are from my current WIP, White Bear, which is a (ready for it?) contemporary inspirational retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun West of the Moon. Willow Aure and Orson Kent are an unlikely pair when it comes to parents. This is bound to be interesting. :)
- Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
Willow’s relationship with her parents is good, but complicated. As the surprise fourth child born when the three elders were in their teens, Willow grew up in limbo between being the baby of the family and being treated like an only child. Willow’s mother died of cancer a handful of years before the beginning of White Bear and the memories of her passing still resonate deeply in Willow’s consciousness. Willow’s relationship with her aging father is much closer. When his world fell apart, she was the one to step in to pick up the pieces and try to put him back together again, at the cost of her own life being put on hold.
Orson’s relationship with his parents is complex and contentious. He never knew his mother. His father, a self-centered egotist, has withheld any information about her from him. Even in adulthood, Orson is constrained from finding out more about her because his father threatens to cut off Orson’s contact with his half-sister if Orson tries. No matter what Orson does, he cannot seem to please his father. The two of them have been at odds for as long as Orson remembers. Despite his best attempts at establishing peace, his father refuses to have anything to do with it. Most discussions end up in a yelling match and threats of one form or another.
- Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?
Willow’s biological family has been a part of her life since she was born.
Orson keenly feels the lack of a relationship with his mother. He yearns for some connection with the woman who bore him. It is one of his motivations for keeping up his side of the twisted arrangements with his father. He hopes to someday know the truth.
- How did their parents meet?
Willow’s met as young adults and dated and married in the usual way. She doesn’t know much more than that.
Orson’s parental story is a mystery.
- How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
Willow would be delighted to be compared to her parents since she loves them deeply and admires them.
Orson would be horrified to be compared to his father. He regularly goes out of his way to point out how they are different despite their obvious physical similarities.
- What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
Willow’s parents were getting married and starting a family at about the age that Willow is in the story.
Orson’s father was womanizing, drinking, and well on his way to building a business empire at Orson’s age.
- Is there something they adamantly disagree on?
Willow has never understood her parent’s lack of concern over the over animosity shown her by her older sisters. She struggles to understand why they never intervened during the early years when her sisters would gang up on her and attack her with words.
Orson adamantly disagrees with his father on so many things that he struggles to find something they even sort of agree on. It makes for a hard relationship.
- What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
Willow was the surprise. Going back to babyhood while raising teens was a struggle for the couple, but they managed with love.
Orson was a thing, someone to be fed, groomed, disciplined, and educated with as little personal oversight as possible. Hard to not feel like one is an inconvenience when treated so.
- What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
Willow remembers her father comforting her after falling from her bike. He listened to her worries and concerns with patience and quiet advice.
Orson recalls confronting his father over the identity of his mother when he was ten. It is not a pleasant recollection.
- What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
Willow remembers being called a happy baby, content and eager to please. Her sisters complained that she cried too much and cost too much, but they aren’t reliable resources.
Orson doesn’t know what he was like because his nanny from that time period was fired.
- Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?
Willow’s parents had a penchant for strange names. They hoped it would be an indicator of her nature and her ability to weather life’s storms like her namesake.
Orson, which means bear, was chosen because it was a variation on his father’s name, Ursa. Also, both men resemble bears in size and appearance.
Sooo.... What do you think?
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