Choosing the professions of my characters is always a lot of fun. I try to pick something I am interested in, so I can write about it with conviction, passion and sincerity. I would not, say, write about an accountant or a mathematician; for me, math is a major irritant, like getting sand in my eye.
That still leaves a lot of fields wide open. I have written characters that were violinists, ballerinas, children’s book editors, podiatrists, obstetricians, bar owners, interior designers, and architects. One character owned a bra shop. Another did not know what she wanted to do, and found her calling in the course of the novel. What I didn’t know about these fields, I was able to research–a process both invigorating and thrilling because it allows me, however briefly, to slip into someone else’s life.
On the deepest level, though, the character’s profession needs to speak for her or his soul, and it is my job as the author to match my understanding of the character’s inner life with a suitable profession. When I wrote my latest novel, YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, I had three main characters for which I needed to create professions.
I chose photography for one of the male protagonists, Evan Zuckerbrot. Evan is sweet, sensitive, and a bit dreamy. He’s not a player in any sense of the word, and the kind of small format, black and white work he does as a photographer is consistent with the man I was trying to create. It helped that my husband just happens to be a photographer who works in that same mode, and I drew heavily on both his working methods and his philosophy to form that part of Evan’s character.
Jared Masters, the second of the two key male voices, is a very different kind of man and this is reflected in his profession. He’s a real estate broker: smooth, urbane and easy with people, especially the ladies. His charm opens doors for him, and he is successful in his work largely because of it. I knew he needed a profession that would highlight and showcase those aspects of his nature.
Finally, at the crux of the triangle is Miranda Berenzweig, thirty-five and newly single after a disappointing break up. Finding a baby or being a foster mother are just about the last things on her mind—and yet that’s what happens to her. In fact, as the novel opens, she’s just gotten a promotion at work and is very excited about her new responsibilities. Miranda is the food editor at a fictional shelter magazine called Domestic Goddess. She’s interested in cooking and especially baking, and loves to share what she bakes with the people she cares about. I wanted to emphasize her nurturing qualities—qualities she may have taken for granted until she is tried and tested in unexpected ways. Cupcakes play a significant role in her professional life, and she makes good use of them. Miranda’s always busy baking for other people, but by the novel’s end, she gets to have her cake—and eat it too.
More About YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME
What do you do when you have to give up the person you love most?
Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar—until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.
Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent—maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces…
Fresh Fiction reviewer Kay Quintin wrote, “I found it extremely difficult to put this book down until I had arrived at the conclusion. Yona Zeldis McDonough has a way of reaching deep into the soul and portraying the astounding love felt for a child.” Read the full review here, and buy your copy today.
About the Author
Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of the novels THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS and IN DAHLIA’S WAKE. She is also the editor of the essay collections THE BARBIE CHRONICLES: A LIVING DOLL TURNS FORTY and ALL THE AVAILABLE LIGHT: A MARILYN MONROE READER. Her short fiction, articles, and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines, and newspapers. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
She is also an award-winning author of twenty-three books for children.