When writing Zaria Fierce I made the conscious decision to go against the typical relationships found in middle grade and young adult novels between parents or guardians, and the kids in their care. Absent/neglectful/cruel adults make it easier to send kids on adventures in books, but I wanted to see a bond between parents and their progeny that drew from my siblings’ and mine experiences in my family growing up.
So Zaria is adopted, an only child, has lovely parents, and is well adjusted. Queue the *horror.*
What will you write about without all that teen drama?!?!? Wait! Adopted?
Adoptive parents can be absolutely wonderful people. They’re not all mean. Just like step-parents aren’t all nasty despite the rampant evil stepmothers throughout fairy tales and literature… or aunts, uncles, grandparents, foster parents, and other guardians… take your pick. Fictional kids can be like real kids and come from happy homes. I wanted my heroine to experience the same.
As for the relationships, I modeled Merry Fierce and Zaria’s relationship off of my relationship with my mom. Mom Gillett is a cool mom if I do say so myself. If I wanted to play hooky, she’d play hooky with me. If I wanted to be checked out for a lunch date, we’d do that. If I wanted to desperately attend a midnight premiere for Harry Potter while on a family road trip she somehow made it work. In high school, she let my best friend stay with us while her dad was out of the country. We traveled the world together and are the best of friends. (Love you mom!)
When it came time to write, I poured that love into Merry’s and Zaria’s relationship.
And I don’t stop there.
- Colonel Fierce is hard-working, attentive, loving, strict, and obliging.
- Emma Johansen (Christoffer’s mum) is kind, concerned, intelligent, and loving.
- Samuel and Naia Mickelsen (Aleks’ parents) are attentive, supportive, and kind.
- Aleks also has a good relationship with his grandparents. Ava on one side and Remigus on the other.
- Mrs. Storstrand (Filip’s mom) is strict, fair, and loving.
The adults are all good people and yet the kids still get to go on adventures all over Norway to reach Gloomwood Forest. See parents don’t ruin all the fun! So how do the kids do it? Aha! Good question. Discover the answer in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. It has to do with a mysterious egg-shaped object.
What other books have you read where the adults are good people and have good relationships with their kids or wards?