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Monday, August 3, 2015

Being a Mother

What does it take to be a mother? Is it carrying and giving birth to a child? Or is it nurturing, caring for, protecting a child? What about an adoptive mother, a surrogate mother?

When I wrote The Protector, I had to examine what makes a mother. Now I’m a mother and a grandmother, so I have a pretty good idea of what all is involved. But that's where any similarity with my main character Rissa ends. I had a loving husband who was excited by the impending birth of both our children. The father of Rissa's baby couldn't get away fast enough. She was left alone, unmarried, pregnant, working in a bar to scrape by. Then a mother's worst nightmare occurred. She lost her baby to traffickers. She spent years searching for her child, to no avail. Worse, she blames herself for not being there when the traffickers came. She imagines she could have fought them off better than her elderly sitter. Her loss is compounded by guilt.

Normally, I’d say I can’t imagine what she must have gone through, except I had to. Imagine it, that is. After so many years of anxiety over her child’s welfare, I imagined Rissa closing off that part of herself. She couldn’t be around babies because it brought back such painful memories. Yet, every holiday, every birthday she couldn’t help imagining what her child was doing and how she was faring.

But what if she’s given a chance to redeem herself, to make up for (in a small measure) for losing her child? When she discovers two teen girls who’ve escaped from a slave ship, she has to save them. When one of the girls chooses to stay with her, Rissa takes on another role. By protecting the girl, feeding and clothing her, teaching her, and sheltering her, Rissa has become a mother. But will she love the girl as much as she would have loved her own child?

Here’s a small excerpt from The Protector.

When she returned to the tavern with the clothes, Rissa found the girls wearing what she’d left them. Her shirt hung almost to Anaris’ ankles. On Pela, it reached her knees. They’d been sitting on her settee, Pela brushing Anaris’ hair. They jumped up when Rissa came in.
Both eyed her warily.
Pela broke the silence. “What are you going to do with us?”
Rissa sat on the end of her bed across from them. “I can find transport so you can return home.”
“No.” Pela’s sharp response surprised her. “I won’t go back.”
Anaris looked even more frightened. “Please don’t,” she whimpered.
With delicate probing, Rissa got their stories. Both girls had been sold by their fathers to the traffickers. Her heart twisted for them. How could a parent not appreciate the gift of life given to them? To sell their flesh and blood was unconscionable.
Rissa reined in her anger. “You have a choice where to go, what to do. Nobody will force you. Now try on these clothes, and when you’re ready come down to the kitchen.”
Pela stood in front of Rissa. “Why are you helping us? What’s in it for you?”
 The Protector is available at:

Tomorrow (Tuesday), Robyn Bachar interviews me and asks who would play Rissa and Dillan if The Protector were made into a movie. Come over and see what else she asks. http://therobyn.blogspot.com/2015/08/author-tuesday-interview-with-diane.html

On Wednesday, I'll be here for Insecure Writers' Support Group and
on Jolana Malkston's Serious Whimsy blog for a different interview. http://jolanamalkston.com/serious-whimsy/


  1. So many facets to parenting. Looks as if you've covered a large range of emotions in THE PROTECTOR. Good luck with it!

    1. Thanks, Susan. Yes, indeed, a lot of facets to parenting.

  2. What a busy week of blogging for you! As soon as I finish this Christmas book I need to make time to read. This sounds like a heart-wrenching story. I can't imagine that kind of grief. But as you say, we have to make ourselves try to feel what the character is feeling in order to make readers care about the characters. I'm sure you did a great job with it.

    1. Thanks, Patty. Busy, yes, but I love sharing my book or writing about it.

      Heart-wrenching, indeed.

  3. Very nice excerpt. I write mothers occasionally, but not from experience. Have a lovely week. :)

    1. Thanks, Lexa. If I wrote only from experience, my story would be boring. So imagination is key.


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