In my debut novel, True Love Way, twenty-nine-year-old main character, Marlo, has a special bond with her great aunt Madge, who is about to turn ninety years old. Even though they both go by nicknames, Marlo was named after Madge. They both share the full name Margaret. Marlo and Madge are two peas in a pod, despite their huge age gap. Since Marlo has always felt like she should have grown up in the forties or fifties, she relates really well to Madge, who actually was a young woman during that era. Marlo and Madge are kindred spirits, and Marlo often seeks advice from Madge. Typically in chick lit, a sidekick or confidante to the protagonist is a best friend of a similar age, but I wanted to explore a different kind of friendship and companionship. Marlo does have a best friend who is the same age, but she is more of a main character rather than a secondary character. And she doesn’t quite compare to Marlo’s wise, trustworthy, sincere, lovable aunt.
The character Madge was inspired by my two grandmothers. Some actual aspects of their personalities are represented in Madge. For example, Madge’s extraordinary energy for someone of her age is inspired by my grandma who is nearing one hundred years old. In the novel, I mention that Madge reads the newspaper from cover to cover every day, which is something that my grandma does. The first time readers are introduced to Madge, Marlo and her best friend, Nik, arrive at Madge’s house where big band music is blaring. My other grandma loves big bands, and when I was growing up, she always had oldies playing loudly whenever I went to visit her. She still loves classic music, and just the other day, she was telling me about how she used to only pay a quarter to see Frank Sinatra in concert. Imagine that!
I love all my characters, but Madge has a special place in my heart. Readers connect with her, too. Here are some of their comments:
“I really loved Aunt Madge…” – Cheryl at Cheryl’s Book Nook
“I absolutely adored Marlo’s great aunt, Margaret, and that Marlo and Nik had such a lovely relationship with her…” – Lydia at Novel Escapes
“I especially liked Aunt Madge and thought that her backstory was as endearing as her personality. Although Marlo and her friends were the main characters, Aunt Madge was truly the most significant, for she connected the past to the present with her ‘timeless’ love story. She was the uniting force that tied the story together.” – Gina
“I fell in love with Marlo and her friends and especially her Aunt Madge.” – Lucie Simone, author of Hollywood Ending and Picture Perfect
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