What Is a Mother Made Of?

One of the questions I get most in interviews and on author panels is if I've ever based a character on someone I know personally.

Many Hourglass readers love Thomas and Dru, Em's brother and his wife. When I created them, I wanted a family unit that operated like a true family without the traditional labels. So many YA books kill off the parents to give the main character more freedom, but that wasn't why Em's were gone. Here's an excerpt from Hourglass that shows the relationship between Dru and Emerson:

She put down the blanket and reached out to take my hand and give it a comforting squeeze. “Thomas told me you’re seeing them again.”
“Bad news travels fast.” My stomach dropped all the way down to my shoes. I pulled my hand away and turned back to the bed to continue sorting through the tiny clothes, searching blindly for the elusive sock with the yellow chick on it.
“Maybe it’s not bad news. Maybe it’s serendipitous, perfect timing. Thomas really seems to think Michael will be able to help you.”
“Or he could end up being as bad as all the rest of them.” Or worse. Because from our first conversation I’d hoped for so much more from him, and now I didn’t know what to think. “How did you two find him anyway?”
She shrugged and took more clothes out of a paper shopping bag. “You’d have to ask your brother about that. And don’t change the subject.”
“What subject?”
“The subject of your future. Your happiness.” She wadded up the bag, fiercely crunching the brown paper, and threw it to the ground. “You’re one of the most compassionate, generous people I’ve ever met, which means if you want to be, you’ll make an excellent mother. You have so much to offer. Don’t sell yourself short and hide in a hole instead of living your life.”
I froze, waiting for the flying pigs to descend. Dru never yelled.
“I’m sorry.” Her hand flew to her mouth. “I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I—I, just, thank you. For everything.” I paused, pressing my lips together, blinking furiously. “That’s how I know what a phenomenal mom you’re going to be. Because you’ve been one to me. So thank you.”
What many people don't know is that Dru is based on two of my friends (with characteristics of other friends added in). These women have made such an impact on my life. They've nurtured, encouraged, advised, loved, and most importantly (to me) corrected me when they saw me making mistakes.

You don't have to give birth to be a mother to someone. Intent and love and sacrifice can come from anywhere, and some of us are lucky enough to have women who do all those things for us in our lives. I am grateful.

Happy Mother's Day.


  1. This made my eyes tear up. Thank you for a beautiful post, Myra, and Happy Mothers Day to you!

  2. Beautiful post, Myra. And one of the things I love most about Hourglass is just that about Thomas and Dru--they are good parents. The "traditional route" for YA books nowadays is to make the parents, and especially foster/step-parents either emotionally distant or downright cruel. The fact that Thomas and Dru were such good parents made me want to hug you. So thanks for that!


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