Friday, August 5, 2011

Themes: Siblings and Family

One of my most favourite themes has to do with family, and particularly siblings. It pops up in my writing a lot and I enjoy writing about brothers and sisters looking out for one another. I'm the eldest of four, and my sister is 7 years younger while my twin brothers are about 8 years younger. It's a pretty big responsibility to be the head sibling. This was especially the case for my family, but despite everything, having siblings is great.

Land of No Angels has a strong theme around family because the main character, Rebecca, only has her sister left. She's the eldest of the Ashford sisters and looks after Errol, who can be a trouble maker at times. In the setting of the book, there is constant danger because of the demons and the idea developed from some of my own fears.

When I was younger, and even now on rare occasions, I would have nightmares about my own siblings and about how I couldn't save them from some horrible monster. Whether it be the evil leprechaun from that terrible (but hilarious) horror movie trying to boil them alive, or a car with no driver trying to run them down in the street, the dreams were a compilation of Eldest Sibling Fears. The fear that you won't be strong enough to look out for them, or the fear that you will be helpless to stop horrible things from happening to them. It doesn't even have to be supernatural like in my books. It can be real things like "Are they making the right decisions?"

These may be more the sort of things parents should worry about for their children rather than the head sibling. However, I love my sister and brothers very much and when I hear about my sister's friends getting into deadly car accidents or my brothers' friends doing stupid things and getting into trouble, I can't help but worry about them. I know that my siblings are smarter than that, but it's still something on my mind. It must be the nature of being the big sister.

[READER RESPONSE:] Are you the "Head Sibling"? Or are you the middle or youngest child? What's it like for you? How do you feel about the theme of family in books?

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