Tuesday, July 21, 2015

C Is For Claire

Jennifer talks about children in her book...

In my first book, A Heart of Little Faith, I gave my heroine a six-year-old daughter named Claire. Actually, her original name was Ally, but I changed it because her mother’s name was Lily and my critique partner thought there were too many ‘ly’ names used together. She was probably right.

While I don’t write about real people, Claire is based upon my oldest daughter, who was six at the time I wrote the book. No, she isn’t my daughter and she doesn’t look like her or act like her, but her mannerisms and her likes and dislikes are taken from my daughter. I loved writing her and some of my favorite scenes in the book are those that feature Claire.

Children are great to include in romances, because they often provide windows into the hero or heroine’s souls that would be difficult to do otherwise. They enable our adult characters to show vulnerability and compassion and a softness that they don’t ordinarily show. Sometimes, they help the author explain something—when a character explains something to a child in the book, the reader gets the benefit of the explanation as well.

In A Heart of Little Faith, Claire introduces the hero and heroine. Here’s a brief excerpt—Lily, the heroine, asked her neighbor, Melanie, to watch Claire when she was delayed at work. Melanie’s brother was visiting and hung out with Claire. When Lily walks in, they are playing a board game:

“He was coming for dinner, so I invited him over early when I heard I’d be watching Claire. He loves kids. The two of them have been playing all afternoon.”
“Oh wow, then I’d really better go rescue him.”
“Leave them be, Lil. Seriously, they’re fine. He’s having a ball with her.”
Lily walked back into the living room and despite her earlier misgivings, she smiled. Claire danced around waving her hands in the air, while the man groaned, supporting his head in his hands. Lily sympathized. Six-year-olds had neither empathy nor tact when it came to winning. She should know. The two of them spent hours every weekend playing this latest passion of Claire’s.
“Claire, honey, what are you doing?” she asked with a smile as she approached them.
“I’m beating the pants off Gideon, Mommy,” she yelled with a grin. Lily looked at Gideon to see him staring with amusement at Claire.
“Oh yeah, this is the fourth game, and she’s beating me again,” he affirmed as he began to put the game away.
“Hi, I’m sorry. I didn’t introduce myself before. I’m Lily Livingston, Claire’s mom.”
“Gideon Stone, Melanie’s brother.” As he leaned over to shake her outstretched hand, his dark blonde hair fell over his forehead. Wire glasses framed kind, hazel eyes with creases at the corners. Firm handshake, warm hands. As she pulled her hand away, she noticed his broad shoulders, muscular arms and that he sat in a wheelchair. She looked back at up at his face.
“I hope she behaved well. Claire, you were a good girl for Melanie and Gideon, right, sweetie?” She leaned down and kissed the top of her daughter’s brown head.
“Yes, Mom,” she answered in an exasperated six-year-old voice.
“She was great, Lily,” Gideon replied. “We had a good time, didn’t we, Clairebear?”
“You bet!” Claire ran over and gave him a hug. Lily stared. Claire didn’t usually hug strangers, especially men. “Thanks for playing with me!”
“Next time, I’m going to beat you!” he answered with a smile.
“No way!” she yelled as she headed toward the door. “C’mon Mom, I’m hungry.”


  1. He called her Clairebear. What a great reveal!!

  2. I totally agree about kids being able to give us glimpses of our characters that would otherwise be difficult to show. And when even the most alpha of heroes melts when a little girl wraps him around her little finger, well....

  3. Nice scene , but I'm dying to know what game they were playing!

    1. They were playing Trouble. Do you have that in the UK?

    2. http://www.walmart.com/ip/38359727?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227026468257&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=52583667135&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=79655531295&veh=sem

    3. Thanks for that. I remember my kids having a similar game, I think we called it 'Sorry'.

    4. Oh that's funny. This is our game of Sorry: http://www.walmart.com/ip/882941?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227010308001&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=56169118929&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=50621320615&veh=sem

  4. I've never put children in my books, Jennifer. But this sounds like fun.