While looking for a positive male authority figure

Among her mother’s male ancestors in my new novel, What’s Left, my personal favorite is clearly Ilias the Cypriot, even if I might hope to be less obvious in my telling. Ari, Perry, and Stavros all have their better qualities, but I doubt I’d get along with any of them for long. There are reasons, though, that Ilias is also known as the Philosopher, even when he’s become a successful construction contractor in Chicago before he and his wife relocate in what they erroneously assume will be semi-retirement.

He’s gentle, curious, generous, and instills in grandson Dimitri and granddaughter Nita, at least, qualities they ride to success in their own fields.

If only he’d been present to comfort Cassia in her grief after her father vanishes in an avalanche halfway around the globe – we would have had a different novel. Is there a point where the elderly are simply too weak to lend comfort or guidance, even when they’re still breathing? In the novel, unlike some of the more dramatic deaths, Ilias and Maria simply fade into a past. I imagine them going off arm in arm, smiling, but leave that to the reader’s discretion.


Think of the circles around you. Who do you look to as your favorite male authority figure?


A large Queen Anne-style house with a distinctive witch’s hat tower something like this is the headquarters for Cassia’s extended family in my new novel, What’s Left. If only this one were pink, like hers. (Manchester, New Hampshire.)

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