Monday, September 22, 2014

A True Hero (by JoAnn Durgin)

One of my favorite books of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Published in 1960, it became a popular and enduring novel in American literature, winning the esteemed Pulitzer Prize. Although the book deals with tough issues such as rape and racial inequality, it also has endearing warmth and humor—two things I always incorporate in my own books. But the primary reason I love this great novel? The lead character, Atticus Finch, is a sigh-worthy hero in every sense of the word. 

A widower, Atticus patterned moral strength and deep integrity to his two children, Jem and Scout. As opposed to some of the tough modern day heroes in books, Atticus was a gentleman who wore three-piece suits, preferred to walk instead of drive, used his mind instead of his fists, and loved to read books, especially with his children. In his kids, Atticus fostered a sense of empathy, tolerance, respect and fair-mindedness. According to some accounts, Atticus is probably best remembered as an exemplary father.

As an avid reader of Christian romance, both historical and contemporary, I adore a hero who loves children. I’m talking about a man who does more than nod, smile and pat a child on the head. I’m referring to a man who really listens when a child speaks, a man who values their opinions and treats them with respect and honor instead of merely dismissing them.
The Bible has many verses about children and admonitions for men concerning raising children, and here are two of my personal favorites (ESV version):
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
~Proverbs 29:18

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. ~Ephesians 6:4

I’ve decided to incorporate my admiration of Atticus Finch and my love of To Kill A Mockingbird into my current manuscript, Prelude, a short novel prequel to The Lewis Legacy Series. This is actually considered a historical piece since the setting is 1962 and my hero (Sam Lewis, the father of the core character in my series and his namesake) is an Air Force pilot returning home from the Vietnam War. I’m having a great time doing the research. Although it can be read as a stand alone novel, this book will hopefully entertain as well as enlighten the faithful readers of my series as to some of the family history and highlight certain characteristics and qualities of both men. The heroine in Prelude (Sarah, mother of Sam Lewis) is reading To Kill A Mockingbird, and one way she bonds with the returning war hero is by discussing the book’s finer points.  

Have you ever included one of your favorite books, movies, etc. into your novels? If so (or if you plan on doing so in the future), I’d love to hear. Please share!

Blessings, friends.

~JoAnn Durgin
Matthew 5:16



  1. I often have my characters read real books or watch real movies. It isn't usually a matter of finding parallels with my story, though, although I have done that once or twice. Most of the time I use them to add authenticity or give the reader an insight into my character's interests.

  2. I'm actually thinking of writing a murder mystery where the suspects mirror my favorite comic book supervillains, such as the Riddler, the Joker, and the Cat Woman (as well as some you may not be as familiar with).