The first love that many of us are fortunate to know is that of family – our parents, siblings, and the immediate extended family of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Though this surely is a different type of love than the passionate romance novel genre concentrates on, it is often the basis for what we expect in life. Often the relationships, good or bad, that we had with our parents, the relationship we see between our mom and dad, and the friendships we shared with our siblings will mold us giving us expectations or wariness in all of our future affairs.
As a writer I have always enjoyed creating characters that were products of personal history, such as Paige in Bartlett’s Rule whose life of abuse led her to make poor decisions and suffer more pain. Or like Julie in Final Sin who had a loving but sheltered and nearly suffocating childhood and chose to rebel and live a little on “the wild side”. In Courage of the Heart, Davie seemed to have an eternal optimism and easy rapport with everyone she met because of the huge and very strong family she grew up with.
The greatest gratification I got was exploring the dynamics of the Hughes’ family and everyone involved with them in both Forgotten and Within the Law. Although Forgotten began as one stand-alone book with no intentions of continuing the characters, I fell in love with my characters – especially Tom Hughes; I had to give Tom his own happily-ever-after in Within the Law. So while the two books are really separate love stories, they are also a continuing saga connected by cousins Caitlyn Smythe and Tom Hughes.
In Forgotten we have a young woman who grew up in a loving environment and even though she lost her parents to a tragic car accident when she was only twelve; she became a member of her aunt, uncle and cousin’s home. We also have Brandon who grew up with his material needs well met and was starved for the emotional bonds he so wanted. Caitlyn can’t understand Brandon’s lack of desire to reconnect with his father, and Brandon has no concept of family and doesn’t understand Caitlyn’s need for trust and complete acceptance. When Caitlyn’s cousin/brother Tom counsels Brandon, we learn of Tom’s own love tragedy.
In Within the Law, Tom has finally come to grips with the past and sees a chance for a new beginning. Alli is filled with self doubts and doesn’t believe that she is the type of woman that family-minded Tom needs in his life. Brandon and Caitlyn are there for Tom and Brandon shows his true nature, his loyalty and love of family. Malcolm and Keisha, friends from Forgotten, also return as nearly adopted members of the family.
In both books, readers meet the family that created Tom and Caitlyn. Sylvia Hughes is a loving mom who meddles (with love) and is proud of her children. She considers Caitlyn to be her own daughter and comes to adore Brandon as well. Walter Hughes, Tom’s dad, is patient and tolerant of his wife and even a bit bemused by her meddling. He is a staunch supporter of both Tom and Caitlyn and I think he is a perfect example of stability.
The Hughes family represents love in every possible form. They are accepting and understanding, they sometimes fight, but they are always there for each other. The core of this family had a lot to do with the happy endings for their offspring.