Protagonists in both of my novels are driven by their desires to find happiness. In Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, Silvia is motivated to unite her family by her desire for peace. She wants to make peace within her family and to save them from devolving into an unloving family. Around midway through the story, her goal takes on a larger significance when she realizes that her family’s constant disharmonious state is directly correlated to her own inner restlessness, and that if she can be less restless, she can be a happier person.
Cosmo, like Silvia, also wants happiness, although his ability to achieve happiness is contingent on his ability to change and move as opposed to his restless sister. In Discovery of an Eagle, Silvia persuades him to drive to Portland with her. He takes her up on the offer and imagines that the trip will give him a renewed sense of appreciation for his current life situation; instead the trip causes him to realize that he has been living a mundane and unfulfilled life. As the journey progresses, his motivation to continue onward is fueled from his desire to discover that thing within himself that will enable him to lead a more fulfilling existence.
In my forthcoming novel, “A Very Wealthy Poor Man,” the subject of happiness is explored in the very first scene when Donna’s brother Vincent quotes Aristotle as saying that our main purpose in life is to be happy. This causes Donna to contemplate how happiness is achieved throughout one’s life, and to formulate some very definitive ideas about how she, herself, will achieve happiness. Her ideas about what constitutes a happy existence are challenged throughout the novel, and eventually they are radically transformed. But I won’t say any more as I don’t want to give too much away!