It’s always hard to put yourself in another person’s place, especially when that person’s personality is totally different from yours, but maybe that’s why I like to do it so much. It is a very special Challenge if this person belongs to the opposite sex on top of that. Admittedly, one often can have more in common with the opposite sex than with one’s own. What do I have in common with George’s father, Ray Susniak? The love for music, old movies and cosy old honky-tonks. It is precisely this very specific romance of the old things, the secret niches and the little pleasures of life. What do I not have in common with the good old Ray? That he is a father, or generally that he has children. So, we cannot have in common that we have left a child.
When writing, or rather developing his character for a long time I thought about what might drives a person to walk away and how that must feel. I can well imagine that this is not an easy decision. It wasn’t an easy one for George’s father in particular, since he loves his son. However, I do not want to go into the motives, otherwise there would be spoiler alerts. It can be said, however, that he often fabricates a lot of bad things out of a good intention.
I would much rather refer to Ray Susniak as a general character. He is a highly likeable swashbuckler who is extraordinarily devoted to women. He has never put up for long with a lady, except when it comes to his beloved Dolores.
On the other hand, he is tremendously loyal to his friends. Ray has had his long-established clique since his youth. Even if they have already had to mourn one or the other death among them, they also remain faithful to their favorite pub. This, too, is an important part of his personality; the regular – almost daily – visit to the pub. There his favorite music, the old classics is played. The seating area in which the old boys have kept sitting night after night has already adapted to their backs and with the barwoman Cherry one of course is on the first-name terms. Like most of my characters, Ray naturally is not a food scorner. So, George’s father is almost constantly chewing something.
Reveling in old memories, listening to music, having a little sexual adventure occasionally and eating something good that’s what makes Ray Susniak.
Since today is Mother’s Day in Germany, I thought I could go into a very special mother role; George’s mother Dolores Sugarman.
At the beginning of the story, it quickly becomes clear that Dolores is an extremely attractive woman, and thus even George therapist Dr. Manvill gets a little bit intimidated by that. Dolores has self-confidence and a confident demeanor, and only George’s father, Ray Susniak, had ever managed to pull the floor under her feet in such a way that she did not stand up for herself. Their love for each other made her a different person. Watch out for the cliché: the most destructive relationships are often those that would seem eternal. And it is not Dolores who puts an end to this relationship, but George’s father.
It is precisely this relationship and the leaving of the father that make George become that latently introverted, and women facing, shy man. Dolores, on the other hand, seems to have returned to her old strength after the separation, and much more. She gives everything to not only be a good mother, she even tries to replace the father. Which, by its very nature, is a difficult undertaking. Dolore’s love and devotion seems boundless no matter what her son does. And even when fate makes become him a single father, she does not hesitate and supports her son wherever she can. The question arises as to how much Dolore’s strength and vigour may have inadvertently maneuvered her son George into his role as a silent observer. His insecurity towards women may well result from the fact that he grew up with an Amazon-like image of women due to his mother. Women he might not be able to cope with, george assumes. Or even women who would try to change him too much. In his own way, George is quite stubborn and a woman, similarly knitted as his mother, could sooner or later simply annoy him. George has to get things done his way and this requires a patient companion. Patience is a foreign word for the dear Dolores.
Where does Dolores actually take her seemingly endless strength from? I think resilience is one of her greatest strengths. Throughout the plot, strokes of fate that Dolores has to experience are repeatedly depicted. And after each one, sooner or later she packs all her strength back together and continues, making the most of the situation. Dolores is a fighter with a big heart, and writing about her here, I have to think very strongly of my dear grandma, whose life was full of heavy blows of fate. The saying „when life gives you lemons, make lemonade“ comes to mind and I think I could well call my grandmother the queen of delicious lemonades. Now, at this moment, I notice how much I have put, quite unconsciously, into the character of Dolores Sugarman.