Sisters by Karen Harper
As an author for 32 years, I have often been asked, “Where do you get your ideas for a book?” It wasn’t until after I began to write Shattered Secrets, the launch title for my new trilogy, that I realized it wasn’t just another book to me. I have always wanted a sister. In a way, this new trilogy gave me three of them.
I have two younger brothers and they are both fine guys, but growing up, they were good friends to each other, and I was never really close to them. Like many girls during their early and teen years, I had close female friends, so I didn’t really think about not having a sister. Even in adulthood, even married, I never admitted I felt the lack of sisterhood. Still, now that I’m in my sixties, and my mother is 93 and ailing, I yearn for a sister more than ever.
But as I look back on the novels I’ve written since 1982, sisters are few and far between, so I wasn’t subconsciously filling this lack, this desire, through my writing. The only sisters I can recall as leads in an earlier novel (and I wrote this 20 years before the more famous novel about them) were the Boleyn sisters, Mary and Anne.
But I think my sister-longing has finally exploded onto the page—nearly 1000 of them in my new trilogy. I’ve done suspense trilogies before but linked them by having the protagonists live in the same town or be good friends—as if I was avoiding the obvious link of sisters. But this time the heroines are sisters, and I did a lot of soul searching to create them. In writing about Tess, Kate and Charlotte, I kept recalling an old Irving Berlin tune from reruns of White Christmas: Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters… Two different faces, but in tight place, we think and we act as one.
That’s the way I see real sisterhood: Individuals who may be different, may argue and not see eye to eye, but who join ranks when the going gets tough. One of my neighbors had a twin sister she didn’t like and hadn’t seen for years. Real life, I guess, but didn’t she think that sister was worth reclaiming as the ultimate, long-time friend? Oh, well. Maybe my neighbor wished she’d had a brother.
Now that I’ve admitted to myself and others how I long for a sister, I’m sure I’ll create sisters in coming books and come more to terms with having none. Real life sisters, please appreciate what you’ve got!
Karen Harper is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense. A former Ohio State University English instructor, she now writes full time. Harper is the winner of The Mary Higgins Clark Award for her novel, Dark Angel. She also writes historical novels set in Tudor England. For additional information about Karen and her novels, please visit her website.
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