I had my wonderful critique group last Sunday and one of my friends made the comment about my writing having my trademark social issues focus. It made me stop and think for a moment. I don't actually set out to write about social issues, the story just kind of goes that way.
Elle in Under the Covers was a survivor of domestic abuse and I don't recall consciously making that decision when it came to her story. Then when I decided that Taima was Native American in Into the Fire, I didn't think I could write an accurate representation of him without at least addressing some of the issues facing Native Americans today. It seemed like a gross disservice to make a character another ethnicity and not explore what that meant. As I researched, I knew Taima was the type of person who was passionate about his culture and that needed to come out in the story.
It was similar with the Flanagan Sisters. I wanted to make them hispanic and I googled hispanic people in Houston, or something like that, just to get an idea of what the community was like. An article popped up about unaccompanied child migrants and it fascinated me. I knew immediately that this was an issue that would be near and dear to the girls' hearts, and the story was born from that. Although immigration is kind of a theme throughout the three books, it's not until Blaze a Trail that I go into a lot of detail about the child migrants. Except now I think about it, the other two books do kind of address the double-standards in male dominated industries and the fact women have to work twice as hard for respect. Hmm, maybe I should just embrace the social issues and run with them!