There are only three things consistent in my writing. Most things vary from novel to novel – genre, writing style, point of view, etcetera. I’ve been able to pinpoint three things, however, that remain the same no matter what I’m writing. They are…
1. Asians. Every novel I’ve written has either a Korean or Japanese character. Sometimes more than one. I’m probably going to be known for this over anything else, come to think of it… “Have you read anything by Mirriam Neal?” “No – wait, is she the one who has all those Asian characters? She’s weird.”
(Note from me: Laugh it up, fuzzball.)
2. Broken people. I don’t write fluffy books. My books might have fluff stuck inbetween the difficult bits, but every one of my main characters is a fractured soul searching for a way to put it back together. From Eristor to Mir to Vey to Skata to Hiro to Ariel to even Jupiter. (The Care and Keeping of Jupiter is the fluffiest thing I’ve written, but it begins with the main character, Mercury, talking about whether or not she regretted her 300 days with Jupiter. It’s actually quite sad, but it’s masked in so much sweet you don’t always notice.) Even in my short stories (The anthology they’re in will be published sometime next year, for you curious types) The Department-Store Pianist and Just in Time feature an autistic pianist and a heartbroken man whose fiancee has been killed (sort of. you have to read the story).
I think I write about broken people so much because I want to show real people that they can be fixed. Everyone is broken in different ways, but no one is past mending.
3. Love stories. As a hopeless romantic, I can’t resist love stories. All of my novels have one, even if it isn’t the heart of the story. The Shadows Fall had Eristor and Sienna becoming a couple farther on in the series. Monster definitely has a romance. Acceso IS a love story, as are The Care and Keeping of Jupiter and The Meaning of Always. This Mortal Coil isn’t so much a love story, but it has both a past love story and a possible future one. I think love is important in stories; whether it’s romantic, sacrificial, or familial. God is Love, and when we portray true love (not ‘fluttery romantic feelings,’ but real, original, actual love) we’re portraying a bit of God.
I maybe should add a fourth to this list and mention humor, because I think humor is extremely important, but you all know me. I have a wild sense of humor and I don’t think I could write a novel without it.
Have you notice recurring themes in your own writing? Be they silly or significant, I’d love to hear them!