I wish you all a happy Father's Day, whether you are a dad or you want to celebrate your dad.
I know we often write about our own experiences and the influences of others in our stories. This is very true of me. Without thinking about it a great deal, I know that I put my dad in many of my stories. I was the only one in my family who called our father "Pop." He called his father Pop as well and this is the same reference I use for my characters. It wasn't until I began writing about the Wilding family of Wyoming that I purposely changed and had my characters refer to their father as Daddy or Dad. Just the same, I use many of my father's characteristics Wilding men.
In fact, my dad comes up in a character in almost every story I've ever written, but none as much as THE VIOLIN. I wrote THE VIOLIN for my dad. It's about his middle brother John. The boy, Jimmy, is a character based on my father. Pop banned birds as a kid, had a dog named Guess and a red tail hawk whose wing was broken. He fixed his wing and, when it was healed, forced himself to let the hawk go free.
I also included my dad in my story, Heart Song, about a young man suffering with cancer who finds hope in the form of his father's spirit.
Joe Wilding's son, Joey is a young veterinarian who hands out advice to his sisters and has many character traits I took from my dad. Joey appears in several of the Wilding stories and will have his own story in The Beast of Hazard for the Autumn anthology.
Today, I think of my dad and the gazillion things he taught me, most of them by his own example, some by explaining to me how the world works. He had a great respect for nature and was a conservationist before it was popular. So, in gratitude, I just want to say to Pop wherever he is in the universe, I love you. Thanks for everything.