Like most writers, I put some of myself in just about every character. You can’t help it really, can you? In the original His Robot Girlfriend, the character of Mike really was me– about five years older than me, when I wrote it. Now I’m several years older than him. We’re both middle school teachers, both pretty snarky, and like him, I have a grown up daughter and son. The big difference is that he gets into shape, and I continue to get more out of shape– but then, I don’t have a Daffodil.
In the new robot book, His Robot Girlfriend: Charity, I wanted a character who was very different. So, the main character, Dakota Hawk, is young, blond, and athletic– all things which I am not. He runs marathons– something I never did, even when I had two good knees. He has very different relationships with other people than I have ever had, with one exception. Part of his back story is a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. That is something we share.
Unlike his mother, mine is alive and physically healthy. She currently lives in a memory care facility. If you’ve ever had a family member or friend suffering from this terrible disease, I don’t need to tell you how difficult it can be for you or them. If you haven’t, then you can’t understand.
In the story, Dakota’s relationship with his mother plays a small but ultimately pivotal part. But this is something that I never would have included in any story, if I hadn’t experienced it myself. I simply wouldn’t have understood.