Character Inspirations: A Reader’s Question About Marry Me, Mackenzie!

Character Inspirations: A Reader’s Question About Marry Me, Mackenzie!

Recently, a reader asked me the following question about a detail in my book Marry Me, Mackenzie! 

“I’m confused. You wrote Dylan’s mother was older than Aunt Gerri and that she was 83, which would mean his mother was in her 50s when he was born. I assume he is in his 30s now. Things like that drive me crazy, why didn’t you just make the aunt younger than 83?”

Inspiration for Dylan 

As any fiction author will tell you, characters are often inspired by people we know in real life. In fact, that was my first piece of advice in another post of mine about writing great characters. And this holds true for Dylan; he’s loosely based on my wonderful husband Cory, and Dylan’s fictitious family is also modeled on Cory’s family. 

I took liberties with the ages and did make Dylan’s mother unusually old, in part because it tied in with her battle with cancer. This led to Dylan’s adoption by his Aunt Gerri and Uncle Bill. This storyline was influenced by Cory’s experiences, but it’s not an accurate biographical account of his life. 

In reality, Cory’s mother was 35 when he was born, and it was his father—50 at the time—who was a bit older than is typical for having children. When he was 4, Cory’s mom was diagnosed with cervical and ovarian cancer. She was given a prognosis of 6 months without treatment or up to a couple of years with surgery. Keep in mind, this was decades ago, and cancer treatment wasn’t nearly what it is today. 

So, Cory’s mother had legal papers drawn up providing for guardianship to transfer to his aunt and uncle. But she was an amazing woman, and she beat the odds big time. After her hysterectomy, she lived another 40 years to the age of 78!

Haven’t read a Brands of Montana book yet? What are you waiting for? Get one for less than the cost of a nice glass of Merlot—and it keeps you warm much longer!

Purchase Mary Me, Mackenzie!


Joanna Sims is proud to pen contemporary romance for Harlequin Special Edition. Joanna's series, The Brands of Montana, feature hard-working characters with hometown values. You are cordially invited to join The Brands of Montana as they wrangle their own happily-ever-afters!

Joanna's contemporary romance novels captivate readers with their gripping plots, vivid prose, and devotion to love, realism, relatable characters, and detailed depictions of all the ups and downs that lead to a happily-ever-after.

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