Beautiful People is a link-up hosted by Sky at Further Up and Further In and Kait at Paper Fury, and it’s a wonderful thing. I did one before (though it was almost a year after the questions had been posted), and with any luck, I will manage to keep it up every month, or somewhere thereabouts. With my track record, that’s not likely. But anything is possible!
This month’s is parental-themed, so I tried to think through any of my characters who actually currently have a relationship with their parents. Or even have parents that were mentioned in the story. So of course, I remembered the novel I’m trying to forget for long enough that I can eventually return to edit it: Hawke. I’m breaking my rule for this post, because parental influences are, like, the main theme in this book after terrible decisions. Without further ado, here goes.
Today’s star is Emily Catherine, the daughter of Max Harlowe and Catherine Moore. (Or is she? *eyebrow waggle*)
[Images are, in order: Emily, Catherine, Max. All come from Pinterest and are not mine.]
Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
She has a great relationship with her father, since it’s just the two of them. She respects him and (usually) obeys him, and in return, he’s pretty easy on her. They both love coffee and have the same sense of humor, so they have an easy relationship. Though, when he tells her she can’t do something–a rare occurrence–she decides to do it anyway. Leading to… problems.
Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence, and how has it affected their life?
Her mother died when she was three years old, and she was kind of an absent mother anyway. Lyssa, a family friend and their housekeeper for awhile, served as a stand-in mother, and Emily has much fonder memories of her. She still misses her idea of her mother, of course, or at least what she thinks her mother could have been. But she’s much more independent and self-sufficient than she would have been if her mother had raised her.
There’s speculation that Max isn’t actually her biological father, but she refuses to believe it… until she meets Hawke. She starts to wonder. Starts to doubt everything she knows.
How did their parents meet?
Max and Cathy met at school. Cathy had been homeschooled until high school, and Max helped her through one of her classes then asked her to the prom.
How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
Like any teenager, Emily would vehemently deny it and claim that she was her own person. But she would secretly be a little bit flattered. Turning out like Max wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, though she’d like to be a little stronger and more outgoing than he is. She doesn’t know enough about her mother to be offended should someone compare the two of them, so she would just smile and thank them.
If someone told her she were turning out like Hawke, well, that would be unthinkable.
What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
Hah. They were engaged in a highly unhealthy love triangle that involved car mutilation and pet murder and a lot of crying. A lot of crying.
Is there something they adamantly disagree on?
Max and Emily disagree on how much freedom Emily should have, obviously. But what they most vehemently disagree about is how much Emily should know about her parents’ past. Max thinks nothing, Emily thinks everything.
What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
The hardest thing for Max was raising her mostly on his own and feeling guilty that he depended so much on Lyssa. He felt as though he should be able to handle it. He’s her parent, after all. But part of his mind was always preoccupied with pushing away the thought that she might not be his, and so he lived with that dichotomy of thought as well, making everything that much harder.
What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
Emily has many vivid memories from her childhood with Max and Lyssa: going to the zoo, the carnival, the beach, Lyssa’s house. But the one she remembers most vividly with her mother is from shortly before her mother died. She woke up in the middle of the night to see her mother getting ready to go out. Her mother promised that if Emily was quiet, she could come with her. So Emily was good and quiet, and they drove to a park and parked under a streetlight, where her mother met a man and looked the happiest that Emily ever saw her.
What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
She was a terror. And by that I mean that she was smart and she was cute and she was spoiled and she knew all of that. So while she was good most of the time, she didn’t really ever listen to the rules and would often wander out by herself to look for faeries in the garden, scaring Max half to death but making Cathy laugh.
Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?
Her middle name is after her mother, of course, and Emily was the only name that Cathy and Max could agree on. The two of them didn’t agree on much, and their relationship was rough more often than it was smooth, but they really did love each other. And they both adored Emily.
So that’s Emily and her dysfunctional parents, the story of whom she learns throughout the novel. It needs a lot of editing and a lot of TLC, as it was my hated, dreaded, adored senior thesis project, the one that made me want to constantly beat my head against any wall I saw, the one that allowed me to be told, at the end, “someone else could have put in half the work and still gotten an A.” And as such, I’m not quite ready to go back and edit it yet. But Emily is my darling, and if anything in the novel stays, it will be her relationship with Max.