Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy

I enjoy writing family drama, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s the interchange of dialogue that isn’t romantically based. Romance bits are actually my least favorite to write because often they are so predictable, but with family drama you never know what’s going to happen. Writing it brings me joy, however it is not too pleasant to live through in real life. With my drama although there is tension, which needs to be there for the story, I always work it out in a way that brings hope.

In this scene Petra and her mom are cleaning up after a family meal, in which Honey’s finance, Jeb, had joined them. And in this novel, the parents are the ones that need the most growth. Parents don’t have it right all the time. I can say for certain that in real life—no matter what your age or level of wisdom—there is never a time where you stop needing to grow, stop needing to be gracious, stop needing to expand your own understanding.


August 1924

Broken Birch Bay
Petra leveled her gaze at Mom, who looked away and continued to scour the crockery dish in the sink. If she rubbed any harder the glaze might come off.

“Aren’t you happy that Honey is happy?” Petra asked.

Mom rinsed the dish and handed it to Petra, who stood by with a towel. “She doesn’t know what happiness means.”

Her mother’s bitter tone surprised Petra. She didn’t know who this sarcastic, life-hardened woman was by her side, but she certainly wasn’t the mother of her growing-up years. That woman had been tender-hearted, had smiled at the drop of a hat, and certainly hadn’t shown such a sour outlook on most things in life. What changed her? Petra thought about it but couldn’t think of anything but her leaving to go to Colorado as the catalyst. Perhaps Petra could blame no one but herself for her mother’s hard spirit.

“And you do?”
The question left her mouth before Petra had time to contemplate the boiling pot she might be stirring.

Flinging the last few pieces of wet cutlery on the towel on the counter, Mom said, “I know a far sight better than Honey. And I know that man will never make her happy.” She curled her bottom lip down at the corner, shrugging and shaking her head at the same time. “But you can’t tell her nothin’.”

Mom tipped the basin of dirty wash water down the sink. A gurgling, sucking noise followed. Petra heard in it a synoptic auditory semblance of how her gentle, loving family had changed—drained away by the messiness of life. And a lot of it had been her mess.

“Why don’t you like Jeb?”

Picking the cutlery up, Petra dried it and put it away, waiting for her mother’s revelation.
Mom heaved out a sigh, crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s a number of small things. You wouldn’t understand, but a mother knows.”

Petra hung up the towel and faced Mom, her hands positioned on her hips. “Look, I can’t help if I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“No one asked for your help,” Mom barked.

Petra widened her eyes in surprise. Where did that come from? She decided to take a gentler route and moved closer to Mom. “I love Honey too. You’re not the only one.”

A sniffle broke Mom into an outright cry. She beat her fist against her chest. “I wanted more for her and for you. I had dreams for you both.”

Petra hung her head, feeling like the black sheep again.
“Sorry to disappoint.”
She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up.

“No, I’m not blaming you.” Mom spoke with care and
longing. “I just wish it could have been different. That you hadn’t…”

Petra finished, “Come home in disgrace.”

Thanks for reading!

As always, thank you for reading my humble words and stories. You can find out more about By Broken Birch Bay and watch the book trailer here:

4 thoughts on “Writing Family Drama: Petra and Her Mother

  1. etikser says:

    Your book trailer is super, and so is the excerpt above.

  2. Thank you so much for letting me that you like both!

  3. I love the book trailer!

    1. Thanks so much!

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