Hey, everyone — Toni, here — I’m going to be traveling today and then helping with a bone marrow drive for my brother, Mike McGee (see my last post two weeks ago). Meanwhile, I’ve asked my dear friend and NYT Bestselling Author CJ Lyons if she’d step in and wow, did she do a fabulous job. Y’all are in for a treat! And check out the FREE EBOOK OFFER at the end of her blog post. I’m sure you’ll all join me in welcoming her here today!
Is Your Mom a SuperMom?
By CJ Lyons
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there in MSW land!
My agent is pregnant and while celebrating that wonderful event last time I was in NYC, we were talking about how lately most of my characters have been SuperMoms.
There’s AJ Palladino, the feisty environmental activist I created with Erin Brockovich–easy to see where she gets her super powers from, just watch the movie Erin Brockovich.
Then came Sarah Durandt, the main character of BLIND FAITH, my New York Times Bestseller that St. Martins Press will be re-releasing in July (I begged them to change the release date to Mother’s Day, but publishing just doesn’t work that way).
Sarah is also inspired by a real life mother. A woman whose ex-husband kidnapped and murdered her two kids, then buried the bodies and killed himself without revealing where they were. She began a 700 mile trek along I-80 searching for them.
Talk about strength in the face of what had to be overwhelming despair. Only a parent’s love could sustain someone through that kind of ordeal.
And finally, there’s Lucy Guardino, my Pittsburgh soccer mom who also happens to be a kick-ass FBI agent.
Lucy came into being because I was tired of reading thrillers featuring female FBI agents who were driven by angst, fleeing demons, fighting addiction, stalked by serial killers, or with dark, forbidden secrets, etc–all things that would never allow them to do their job effectively in the real world.
As a woman who has always worked in a male dominated field (Emergency Medicine), I wanted to create a main character I could relate to. Someone facing the same kind of struggles balancing work and family and who was “real.”
So, I thought, why not go as real as it gets? How about a Pittsburgh soccer mom, who has a loving and supportive family? No angst, no dark past, no addictions or demons…Just the very real need to do her job the best she can while also giving her family as much love and attention as possible.
Of course, I can’t go too easy on her, so I give her the worst possible job, tracking pedophiles and sex offenders. The fact that she happens to be good at it only makes her life more complicated because she fights a constant battle of protecting her family from her work.
I was lucky enough to meet a FBI Supervisory Special Agent who was teaching at Quantico and invited me to stay with her family as well as visit the FBI training academy. The academy was a blast (I even got to teach part of a class on interview techniques!) but the best part of the visit was meeting her very normal, very nice husband and kids and watching her do her job while living a life without the melodrama of “demons chasing her” like the usual thriller FBI character.
Then I interviewed several more FBI agents, both male and female, who worked crimes against children–which was one of my specialties as a Pediatric ER doc. Just like me, they fought to keep their cases and their feelings for their victims compartmentalized so they didn’t spill over onto their families. But they also realized the importance of doing this work–a job no one wants to do because it does hit so very close to home with each and every victim.
Readers seem especially attracted to Lucy’s character–despite the fact that her cases take her into the darkest recesses of the human soul.
But I don’t think it’s the darkness that makes Lucy so popular. I think it’s the light. The fact that no matter what she’s facing, no matter how heinous the crime or the criminal, it’s all about her being a mother. Her family is always the reason why she does what she does.
Lucy reminds readers that they have it in themselves to be heroes. To be SuperMoms.
I’m lucky enough to have real SuperMoms in my own life. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and had a less than 5% chance of survival. She went through chemo and radiation without missing a day of work and now, 15 years later, remains cancer free.
My sister not only has raised two wonderful kids, including one with a life-threatening heart condition (yeah, trying lugging a defibrillator with you everywhere you go), but she’s also a breast cancer survivor and uses her experiences to help other victims of cancer.
With those kind of examples in my life, how could I not create characters who are SuperMoms? And the best thing of all is that there are so very many SuperMoms out there in the real world.
(NOTE: you must include your email address and your preference of BN or Kindle stores, offer expires 3/4/12)
Happy Mother’s Day and thanks for reading!
As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).
Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.cjlyons.net