There’s a theory that when a little girl grows up she seeks out a mate with similar traits to her father. In my case, I think it’s somewhat accurate. Similarly, the heroes in my novels have elements of my very first hero, my dad.
One or two readers have pointed out that my heroes are not “alpha males”. I might sell a few more books if I wrote about cowboys, billionaires, firemen or detectives, but I don’t know any of those types of men. I have no idea how they think, and they don’t particularly appeal to me.
My dad’s a physicist and an avid outdoorsman. He’s quiet and cerebral with a clever sense of humour. When I was growing up, you wouldn’t find him watching sports on TV, but in the dining room jotting complex algebraic equations on a notepad. He introduced us to classical music and made a point to take us places (into the wilderness or to museums) where we could explore and learn. If he couldn’t get out canoeing, hiking or skiing on weekends, he’d be grumpy. Now that he’s retired, he’s still just as active. He’s a devoted grandfather too.
But being gentle and soft-spoken doesn’t mean he’s not strong, loyal or firm in his principles. Most of all, he’d do anything for his family. It was always important to me to make my dad proud. In many ways he’s still that little voice in my head that steers me in the right direction.
When I met my husband, his warmth, smarts and an easygoing nature drew me to him. His passion for history, music and travel gave us a lot to talk about. He’s far from a duplicate of my dad, but they do share many qualities.
When I dream up a hero for my books, he invariably shapes himself in my mind as kindhearted, polite and family focused, and he’s unlikely to enter the scene on a horse on in a limousine. Indeed, my ideal guy has to have some of the same traits as the man I grew up admiring and still do today—my dad.
Happy Father’s Day to all the quietly heroic dads out there.
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