As someone who has only one brother, I’ve always been fascinated with the relationship between sisters. Fascinated and, yes, a little jealous. It’s this crazy connection that I, despite being uber-close with my big bro, will never understand. First, there’s the air-tight bond. You’re BFFs who can basically read each others’ minds and would go to the mat for each other at a moment’s notice.
Except, of course, when you hate each other.
Because the rage between two sisters fighting is as fierce as the love between the siblings on their best day. In my past life, when I sat in a cubicle, I’d sometimes overhear my cube neighbor fighting with her sister on the phone. Even through the portable wall that separated us, I could sense her anger. And then I’d stay away. Far away.
It’s a loaded thing, that sibling bond. I know about love and hate and the thin line, but never are the two emotions so clearly juxtaposed as between sisters.
These family bonds are at the heart of Little Gale Gumbo. Josie and Dahlia are up there with the March girls and the Traveling Pantsers as some of my favorite fictional sibs. They are best friends, except when they are worst enemies.
So, of course I needed to know how this relationship fit into Erika’s own life. Does she have a sister of her own? How’d she tap into those complex sibling dynamics? They seem pretty on point. Is any of Josie and Dahlia’s relationship taken from Erika’s own life?
Says dear Erika: “I do indeed have a younger sister and we are very close. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t draw from our relationship for the book–specifically in the ways the sisters behave with one another. My sister and I don’t fight often but when we do, we fight just like Dahlia and Josie–in a ridiculous, dramatic burst and then it’s over, we’re best friends again. Which I suspect is the same for many siblings. (Anyone care to add data to this theory of mine?) I wanted to convey that closeness, that loyalty between sisters, but I also wanted to explore the inevitable conflicts that that sort of loyalty can bring about. As much as Dahlia loves Josie, she has to make a choice that results in her possessing a secret she knows would break Josie’s heart–and she has to live with that. It doesn’t change her devotion to her sister, but it certainly causes incredible strain on their relationship at times.”
Oooh, a good answer, peppered with a bit of mystery! Aren’t you just DYING to know what the secret is? You should be. It’s juicy.
What is it between sisters anyway? Please explain to me below. And feel free to chime in with your own favorite fictional siblings!