This is going to be a slightly different post from what I normally put up here. Today I’m going to reveal some of the background to the key characters in my stories, some of the motivations, drives, and fears that make up their personalities.
The first thing about Mark MacFarland and Cynthia Pierson that I want to point out is that they are members of Generation X. To give you an example of how Gen-X is treated by society, a major news publication did a story on the generations and proceeded to talk about the Great Generation, The Boomers, and The Millenials, but left out a discussion of Gen-X. They simply don’t get any respect. One member of Gen-X commented that their slogan should be, “You’re born, life sucks, and you die.”
MacFarland is a typical representative of Gen-X. His father had a secure job and financial stability, all inherited from his parents. What did MacFarland inherit from his father? Guilt, a feeling of inadequacy, and a feeling that everything around him may someday disappear. And sure enough, much of MacFarland’s world has crumbled around him. He lost his wife when he ignored her to focus on his job; he lost his job when he broke down after the loss of his wife; he lives for years on the streets, wallowing in self-pity, but finally manages to pull himself out of the gutter and get some semblance of order back into his life. He also rediscovers what he really enjoys doing in life–solving crimes. But instead he’s selling hot dogs.
He is torn between sticking with the security of operating his hot dog cart and taking the risk to re-engage in the profession he had once loved. All of his steps are tentative, filled with doubt, and lacking conviction.
Cynthia Pierson is a more successful member of Generation X, but just barely. She has gotten a job that satisfies her, but she is still missing major components of her life. She has sacrificed family in order to pursue her career. While she has a high degree of financial security, she keeps trying to fill the gaps in her existence with stop-gap measures. She replaces a missing family with MacFarland and Rufus and even the Coopers, allowing them to fill the emptiness in her life. She wants a partner to share life with, and while she had one for a while, she wants something more now.
The problem she faces is that she needs a partner who knows what he wants and is dedicated to getting it.
And that is the dilemma in the series. Will MacFarland resolve his own conflicts and become the kind of man who can complete and fulfill Cynthia Pierson, or is he condemned to live with the contradictions of his existence? And if he does change, will Cynthia Pierson recognize the change in time to take advantage of the new and improved Mark MacFarland?