Jun 072017

Ever wonder what the world would be like if you were never born? In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey got to see the impact he had on the lives of others. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to calculate our own worth.

As authors, never been ties right in with those what if questions that drive our stories.

Where would the romance genre be without the secret baby trope?

In my first book, Honorable Intentions, I got a lot of mileage out of the teenaged daughter of a single dad hero. She was the product of a one night stand, and I built an entire book—heroine and all—around his desire to take care of her. Keep her safe and in his life.

In another, One Fateful Friday part of the Saturday in Serendipity anthology, the hero is sterile yet he and the heroine come together to adopt two orphaned children. In that same book, a secondary character and her husband who can’t conceive live their lives as foster parents.

It might be I come by these storyline ideas naturally. My own mother was an unplanned pregnancy BEFORE my grandparents were married. *Gasp* Back then, in the early 1900s, such a thing was frowned upon and then some. Though she and my grandfather eventually married and had another child, my grandmother was actually disowned by her family for having and raising the child conceived out of wedlock.

Scads of historical romances have been, well, born, with that particular circumstance as the inciting moment that drives the protagonist into action and on to what we term the heroine’s journey.

But think about it in a real sense. If my mother hadn’t been born, I wouldn’t be here, nor would my children or their children or…well, you get the idea.

My how times have changed though.

Married with two soon to be teenaged children, moving steadily upward in my career, with money in the bank and an empty nest on the horizon, I had my own unplanned pregnancy. For me, inconvenience wasn’t a sufficient reason to not have and raise the resulting twins. Long story short, my life has been better for the choice I made.

Here’s another true life occurrence that has me thinking fiction. My husband’s maternal grandmother left two children in the old country, never to see them again, while she sailed to the new world and a new life. And where she subsequently bore and raised three more children. That’s a book I’d love to write someday.

To each his or her own, but you can see what I mean about how some events in life shape the events in our stories.

What would the world be like if you had never been born? Certainly something to ponder now and then, isn’t it?


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the June 7th posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner

  • I really enjoy your posts, Margo! I receive a lot of blog notifications and I can’t always get to them all, but yours I don’t skip! In part, my grandfather’s story is the beginning of my Irish romance, DAMAGE DONE. I even used family names. His mother died in childbirth, giving birth to him, and his father blamed him. Didn’t ever speak to him, unless it was necessary. He also left my grandfather for some time with cousins. I enjoyed your grandparents’ stories and the tale of your twins. Thanks for sharing!

    • Margo Hoornstra

      Aww, that’s so sweet MJ. Thank you. Fascinating about your grandfather’s story-poor baby. Heartbreaking or not, we can still use them, and I think that’s what makes them so very special.

  • Nancy Gideon

    My second contemporary romance was a “secret baby” book. So many interesting twists and emotional turns can come from those stories. Still love reading them. Leaving your children behind to cross an ocean . . . that’s a book I want to read!!

  • Diane Burton

    I’ve often wondered about decisions I’ve made and wondered what if I’d chosen a different path. Then I wouldn’t have the life I’m living now–which is pretty darn good. I try to see my grandkids often. I want them to know me so they’ll have fond memories of me when I’m gone. There is my writing and the books I leave behind, too. But they aren’t as important as my family. The story about a mother who leaves 2 children behind would be awesome to write. Can you imagine the angst and loss she felt. Powerful story. Best wishes.

  • I got my start writing romance back in the 90s. I wanted to write about career women and women who were artistic…I was told “nope.” “Cowboys, babies, and brides” were what they said always sold best. Romance readers love those. Since I always wrote contemporary, I was limited to those. Not that I minded…I wrote the heck out of those books. I just could never get the book publishers to buy one of them!

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