I’m very careful not to vilify or glorify characters. Frank, the antagonist of Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, is an abusive alcoholic, and initially, he is revealed only as such. As the story progresses, however, we learn that Frank’s abusive nature is the result of his drinking and his drinking is the result of his mother’s poor parenting. We also learn that despite his bad qualities, he also has many admirable qualities. He’s always on the side of the underdog, and as a lawyer, he would make concessions for clients who were not financially able to pay their legal fees.
Likewise, Silvia, the protagonist of this novel, has many wonderful traits and her mission to make peace in her family is extremely commendable. And yet, she uses manipulation and dishonesty on occasion to complete her goal. She can also be somewhat of an opportunist, as she encourages Cosmo to leave his job and move with her to Portland because she doesn’t want to go there alone.
Donna is a loving mother, but she tends to distance herself from her children. Vince is passionate about saving the world but can’t give up the anger he feels towards many of his own family members. Cosmo and Angie both have several positive qualities, and yet they are unable to forgive each other for their past grievances.
Characters that are not black and white, but that are somewhere in between, are real and dimensional and alive. There are no villains or heroes in my stories. Rather, there are flawed individuals who are all doing the best that they can in living their lives.