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To my characters in Against Their Will, family is important in different ways. Not only are the relationships that are typically formed between family members an important part of what the characters do and experience, but the genetic map they carry also has implications that not many people take time to consider. But genetic composition as well as relationships are two foundations on which families are built.

I attended a family reunion today. I really enjoy getting together with this group of people from my mother’s father’s family. We have much in common; we laugh, we catch up and we joke about the changes in our lives, mostly on how we’re getting old way too fast! It occurred to me, however, that family really does influence our lives and having one is not something to take for granted. While we are all born of biological parents, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we automatically have a family. Deaths occur, marriages never happen or are dissolved, children are abandoned or adopted. Many things happen in life that disrupt the flow of life via the biological family. Even non-biological families can suffer from dysfunction, or can thrive through good relationships. It is a sense of belonging to another, however, that drives so many on a quest for family in one way or another.

Lack of family is what drives Lynn McCaine in Against Their Will. As we meet her in the opening of the story, she is distraught over things she has learned about her family. She is frantic to return to the only family she knows at the time, her cat. Her search for family is a driving force motivating her to set out on a quest for knowledge. That quest costs more than her life.

Matt Grayson has a loving family. And, he is blessed to be able to appreciate them in the present. Like most of us, he takes them for granted from time to time. But, when it’s crunch time, they are there for him and him for them.

While family is an underlying theme in Against Their Will, a parallel theme is that of being there for and supporting others in our lives. When Matt and Lynn’s ill fated flight ends in flames in East Texas, Matt Grayson doesn’t stop to think about any danger he may be in, or the non-existence of a relationship with the woman in the seat beside him with violet eyes and independent hair. He is focused on one thing, making sure he gets her out alive. Why would a stranger do something like that?

How many of us would do the same? Why would we? What’s in it for us? What drives Matt to do what he does?

Against Their Will by Nancy Livingstone

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Tags: Against, Livingstone, Nancy, Their, Will, family, fiction, genetics, thrillers, writing

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