Q: Do you often include children in your stories? What role do they play?
A: Yes, I do, very often, include children in my writing. I have two small daughters and when they came into the world, everything changed entirely. That change was a vast surprise to me, and probably the biggest event of my life.
I think children evoke a completely non-rational principle that most everyone agrees on: we protect children. By “non-rational” I mean that there might sometimes be logical arguments for allowing children to be harmed … but in those cases, logic can go jump in front of a train: we protect children. Should we risk the lives of ten adults to save one drowning child? Yes. And count me in.
So children can represent a universal truth, a shared humanity, an absolute. These days, with post-modern post-everything uncertain, I find that certainty very comforting. Of course, children, about whom we care so much, are also dreadfully vulnerable, and I find that unsettling.
Children evoke strong feelings. That’s a useful role in writing.