Adopting Characters

When I think about the characters in my books, I mean really think about them – what they look like, how they talk, their gestures, the way they walk – I could sketch them on a piece of drawing paper.  I know exactly what they look like.  However, I have no artistic talent whatsoever.  But if I were sitting with a sketch artist, I could describe the particular details of my characters, right down to the scent of their cologne and aftershave.

These people have lived inside my head.  I’ve written about them for months.  They’re like members of my family.  I didn’t give birth to them nor did I create them.  I just write about them.  They exist outside of me.  They’ve become my adopted children.  We aren’t genetically connected, but I love them all – hero, heroine, good guy, bad girl – doesn’t matter.  Over the days and hours that we’ve spent together, they’re as integrated in my life as the other members of my family.

And I know what that’s like – the adoption thing, that is.  My daughter is adopted and I love her as much as I love my biological son.  No difference there.  I didn’t make it to the hospital in time to see her being born, so that indeed was different.  Because I most definitely was there when the doctor was performing the c-section to remove my breach-positioned son!

But my daughter became a member of our family the moment we arrived at the hospital and the nurse asked if we were the adoptive family of Kim’s child.  We nodded.  I was speechless.  What do you say at such a moment, when someone is so self-sacrificing that they decide to give their child to you?  The nurse handed my husband the baby, along with a bottle, and he gave Allessandra her first meal outside of Kim’s womb.  Pretty awesome.

My daughter is her own person, she does what she does, talks how she talks, acts how she acts – just like the characters who people my books.  I’m just the author who writes about them, who puts down on paper the details of their lives.  They exist outside of me but are forever in my mind.  Just like my daughter.

I’d love to hear your comments about adoption because I never read a single book about it before it happened for us.  I did buy Jamie Lee Curtis’ book for adopted children titled Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born.  I’ve read it to my daughter more times than I can count.  She still reads it and she’s 12-years-old!


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