Of course, there is the biological and legal family to which I belong. They are my first friends, fans, and support group. Then there is the family which I chose or, in some cases, chose me. The friends, co-workers, friends and family of family and friends... you get the idea. Those are the people who, for whatever reason, met me and liked me enough to care about me and my life and chose to stay in it.
Then there is my family of writers and readers--people who don't know me, personally, but know me through my writing and my stories and with whom I've struck a chord. There is a connection between us, perhaps not a strong as the one between me and my "real-life" family and friends, but one that spans time and distance and reminds us that, in truth, we are all family.
Family, by whatever definition, is there when times are good and everyone is happy and healthy. Joy shared is joy multiplied, to be sure. But more importantly, family is there when the times are difficult and some of us need help. Maybe all we can do is pray for each other and offer support, but knowing that someone is aware of your pain and shares in it, however they can, is enough to make that connection real. Sadness shared is sadness divided and it helps to have others there to help carry the load, even if it's only a small part.
When I sit down to write my Black Horse Campground novels, the characters become another family. They tell me their stories, their sorrows, their joys, their problems, their fears, and their hopes and dreams. And I tell them to my readers, who become a part of their family as well. It's one of the reasons I decided to write a series; one book wouldn't be enough time to spend with the Black Horse Campground family. And I look forward to a lot more "family time" in the future!
Coming soon from Oak Tree Press: "At the Crossroad: A Black Horse Campground Mystery"