• Grace A. Johnson

The Writerly Siblings Tag (From the Perspective of One of Seven)

Updated: Dec 17, 2020


I'll be honest with y'all...I feel no remorse about stealing this tag, as I stole it from someone who had previously stolen it from someone who had legal rights to it. Surely you can't actually steal something that was stolen, can you?

Well, either way, as soon as I read my friend R.M. Archer's post, I knew that I just had to do this one myself. I am the oldest of seven kids and we are all very close in age (the farthest is three years and the closest is seventeen months). I love my close-knit family, I love writing about close-knit families, and I love reading about close-knit families.

So there you go.


The Rules

  • Rule One: Thank the blogger who tagged you (or from whom you stole the tag) and provide a link to their post (see above).

  • Rule Two: Answer the inquires, including any ones added by means of rule six.

  • Rule Three: Always use your own characters. No exception, unless you don’t actually have sibling characters (in which case you need to go write up some) or you don’t write (in which case you need to start ASAP).

  • Rule Four: Tag three other bloggers.

  • Rule Five: If you happen to have any siblings who blog, they are automatically tagged and cannot count towards your three.

  • Rule Six: Add one question or prompt to the list of questions the person before you answered relating to siblings and/or characters. Answer the question, and provide a list of all the questions of that you answered so far (So, for example, someone I tag will have 12 questions to answer, one of which will be their own. The next will have 13, 11 of which are mine, 1 of which is the previous blogger’s, and 1 of which is their own. The next person will have 14, and so forth….)

  • Rule Seven: Close out the post making some statement or other glorifying the King of kings.

  • Rule Eight: (Made up by moi.) Apologize for messing up the rhythm of this tag series if you, like myself, have stolen it. A thousand pardons to any of the tag police who are probably not reading this...

Now, with all that legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, let's have some fun!


The Questions

  • Name the most annoying sibling character in any of your stories (Either annoying to you as the author or to any other characters)

Scarlette. Without a doubt, Scarlette Wilde is the most annoying character period. She annoys the readers, she annoys her siblings Crimson and Tomas, she annoys the other characters. However, she doesn't annoy me. I absolutely love her complex, aggravating character! She cracks me up! Here's one of her best moments, and one of her first interactions with her older sister Crimson in Prisoner at Heart:

There. Something other than arrogance in her expression. Shame? Fear? Nay, ‘twas pure disappointment, and with perhaps the smallest hint of embarrassment in the way her eyes went back to her fingernails. But only a hint, because then her gaze returned to mine and she frowned, tempting me to repeat her own words.

“I’m not your child, Crimson, to chasten and scold. I am a free person, independent, and may do as I will.” She tossed her head like a whinnying horse—don’t tell her I called her that—her long curls tumbling down her back. “You have no obligation to me. Nor does Tomas.”

I sighed, shuddering at the thought of Scar being “independent,” or perhaps because of the chill that climbed up my spine. “You are my orphaned sister,” I reminded her, pronouncing each word perfectly in hopes she’d understand that. “Ten and four years of age. Unable to care for yourself in any proper way. Should you be given free rein”—there I went with the horse thing again—“you would become nothing more than some man’s bed warmer. A strumpet like my mum. Trampled under the feet of rotten, filthy scoundrels, just like your mum was.” Left to the riffraff; left to care for a child you hadn’t wanted; left with the pain, the hollow emptiness when you lost said child, I wanted to say, wanted to prove to her that I knew firsthand what being “independent” felt like. It was being used for a moment then kicked to the side.

It was being abandoned by someone who’d never loved you, who had never really cared but for some reason had been there, all over again.


  • Name the most caring sibling character in any of your stories

Hmm... It's a tie between Keaton and Daisy, I should think, but in the end, Keat wins out. Not only did he nearly give his life for his sister, but he also cares for his sister's best friends as though they were blood relatives. He is just so sweet, even though he tries to hide his innate sweetness by being all gruff and dark. Classic big brother, right?

  • Name the most entertaining sibling character in any of your stories

Definitely Rhys! He's the brother-in-law of my heroine Kerri-Leigh in my next next story, Tell Me No Lies. He is awesome! I'd originally modeled him after Rhett Butler, but he eventually morphed into his own character. He has an older brother and a younger sister, and he loves them both in the strangest of ways. They have a very...interesting family background. But Rhys? Oh, he just cracks me up! He's this strange mix of a nonchalant and flirtatious rich guy, cold and calculated street urchin, and insecure little boy. You'll understand it once you meet him.

  • Name a sibling character who was inspired in some way by an actual sibling

Ooh...um...huh. I really can't say that I have one, and this is coming from the girl with 6 siblings to pull from. The one character that was blatantly inspired by one (or two, exactly) of my siblings was Elliot Fulton Jr (aka Ellie and Leo). Considering he now has a younger brother, he counts as a sibling character, right? I based him off of my two youngest siblings, who were 2 and 1-ish at the time. He looks like my youngest brother Jacob and takes after my youngest sister Joanna. Jo didn't talk much for the longest time, and she'll still just sit there and suck her fingers with her eyes wide, replying with nods just like Leo.

Anyway... I do have a project (YA contemporary) that I doubt I'll ever write (it's there if I decide to), in which I created a character for each of my immediate family members. Jake (named for my baby brother) is the big brother I'll never have. 😋

As time goes on, I know I'll see either my characters morph into my siblings or vice versa...just haven't made it there yet.

  • Name the largest character family (talking family, not family tree) in any of your stories

I know I have a lot of large families; I just haven't written them yet. They're in the idea stage, which also known as the probably-never-write-but-still-an-awesome-story-for-future-reference stage. So I'm gonna go with a family you've met--the Bennet/Arlington/Wellington family. Between Kit and Chloe, Xavier and Rina, Collin and Jess, and Damian and Aria, I have a very large family all complied of step-siblings, half-siblings, adopted siblings, siblings-in-law, and full-siblings. It gets confusing sometimes, and explaining how they're all related is a chore.

After them, I have the "coming soon" family of Rina and Xavier's, which combines with Elliot and Crimson's, Keaton and (enter name I cannot disclose here)'s, and several other characters' families. I'll try to leave it at that to avoid spoilers.

  • Provide one to three excerpts from your sibling characters’ dialog from any of your stories

For this, I'm going to share excerpts from Prisoner at Heart, The Gift of Her Heart, and Bound and Determined--respectively. (Would've done HC, but (1) Rina has no siblings, (2) she wouldn't have interacted with any of them if she did, and (3) Xavier's interaction with his siblings is limited--unless we count his interaction with Kit...but they weren't brothers at that point in time, so never mind.)

#1 (Crimson and Scarlette, from the former's POV):

“Do you remember it, Crimson?” came Scarlette’s voice from beside me. She motioned to the city, one side of her mouth quirked up, her eyes dancing.

Only too well, did I remember. Only too well.

“Night better than day. There was always much more goin’ on then. I can remember sneakin’ b’hind that building there”—I pointed at a bakery whose windows opened to reveal breads and cakes and other pastries that had always made my mouth water—“and findin’ stale loaves of bread thrown out. I’d bring ‘em back to The Golden Girl, an’ Mum, Tori, an’ me would have a feast.”

Then Randal would catch us, and his mouth would screw up in that frown of his. He’d put Mum back to work wiping tables and sweeping floors, and Tori would be sent to finish airing out sheets. I’d find my way back outside, ducking into alleyways and picking rich folks’ pockets.

“Wha’ d’ye remember o’ it?”

My sister released a breath, her eyes dimming. She took my hand and led me across the dock a-ways, nodding her head toward a street corner. “There we’d always stop, during our morning promenade. A little girl sold flowers, beautiful purple and blue ones. Fa—Mr. Radcliffe would buy about two or three blue ones, give the girl an extra pence, then thread the flowers through my hair. ‘For my little princess,” he’d say. ‘A crown.’”

Scarlette blinked back tears, her teeth catching on her full bottom lip and chewing for a second before she cleared her throat, looked at me and gave a sad smile. “Bittersweet memories, both of ours.”

“Indeed.” Because here I remembered a simpler time, but a hard one. Because here Scarlette remembered a happy time, but one based on a lie.


#2 (Kit and his adopted sister Mattie):

Mattie set a pair of hands on her hips, skewering him with a withering glare. “Is that how you intend to leave this?” Her tone was venomous, yet the inklings of a smile playing on her lips assured Kit that he was not entirely at fault for whatever it was that Mattie had deemed this.

“This being what, I ask? I see nothing wrong with the appearance of this particular room. Your bedroom, yes. Here, no.” He infused the utmost calm into his voice, even though he was more antsy than he had been all morning.

She gestured flippantly at the table, upon which was scattered an array of papers and receipts and an empty teacup and saucer. “We have company coming and Mum wants this house immaculate.”

Kit groaned. Immaculate was as much a word in his vocabulary as it was his mother’s—in other words, it was not. He preferred the term relatively clean, whilst his mother tended to lean toward absolutely perfect. Crossing his arms over his chest and tapping an impatient foot to signal to his growing agitation—which he knew well Mattie would pick up on—he abandoned composure and fairly growled, “Don’t we have servants for this?”

“Which you and I fairly are,” she quipped, reminding him of both of their adopted states—him by his mother’s husband and her by the thoroughly English couple that had purchased her freedom. “Besides, it is your brother-in-law who is coming and your old friend whom you have been helping for the past eight years. Mum thought it only right that you be the one responsible for the state of the household. I’m already ashamed that you foisted half your duties upon your father.”

“Papa doesn’t mind,” he rushed to justify. “But if you want to apply this philosophy to everything, then I suggest you call Chloe to prepare. ‘Tis her brother, you know.”

“Psh! The woman’s newly married and shouldn’t be bothered with all this chaos.”

A simper tugged his lip out. “I’m newly married.”

“Yes, and Xavier’s going to kill you when he finds out.”

“Don’t I know it.” A sigh barged past the barricade of Kit’s mouth as he leaned forward to scoop up the mess he had left on the table late last night. “I’ll take this up to my study, but I will not set the table.”

Mattie looked taken aback, if the lift of her eyebrows was of any indication. “But of course not, brother dear. Reed and Fenton will take care of that.”

She inclined her head to the right with a curious squint of her eyes. “Speaking of Reed, I hear a knock at the door. Ah, I shall simply get it myself. See, I am being responsible.”

And with that said, she bustled off, leaving him with a sliver of guilt, a pile of papers, and a teasing wink.


#3: (Rina and her "brother" Julius, from the former's POV):

I chuckled at the sight, bent to scoop my son into my arms, and set him on my hip. “And how long have you three been locked up in here?”

“Oh, long enough to realize you’ve bred a couple of hellions,” he said with an almost sardonic snicker as he threw Dick off his back and slid off the bed. “Mav tells me he wants to be a pirate when he grows up, and Dick has proven to be more monkey than boy. ‘Twas good I came in when I did, or else this place would look worse than a shipwrecked galleon.”

He cast a glance about the room as though to ensure it didn’t look that awful already, then rubbed his palms on his breeches as his boyish expression morphed into the less familiar stern, calculating one that was strangely reminiscent of his father’s. And mine. “Now, you haven’t made any changes to the course, have you?”

I shook my head.

“Good. Our last venture was not as successful as we had anticipated, but the course to Spain has always reaped great rewards. I wouldn’t want that ruined, no matter how dire the situation. I should talk with Quinn once more, make certain we’ll be on time.”

He scratched his chin, ran a finger over his bottom lip, cast his eyes thoughtfully to the floor before they launched at me with a startling intensity. “How do you intend to save the girl? I mean, slavers aren’t belligerent.”

Not a question I had yet asked myself. Dash.

“Why, Jules? Does pirating concern you?” I lifted a single brow and watched as a sly smirk edged its way onto his face.

“But of course not, sister. I merely speak out of concern for your position."

"I’m most assured that there will be some way to avoid pirating. If we can rendezvous with the slaver somewhere along the way, we might can deal peaceably with them, or else I will purchase Miss Sharow at an auction once we arrive.”

“Have you the funds?”

“Tucked away safely in Yorkshire. Besides, slaves don’t cost much at all these days, considering the constant supply.”

“’Tis a sad thing, I trow. I can almost imagine myself in such a position.” Julius visibly shuddered, and it disturbed me to dwell on his statement, for the truth was evident.

“You were, my brother. You were a slave to Wilde, but though you served your master subserviently, he was not one to submit to.”

“Exactly why I killed him.”

And exactly why you don’t bring up that subject anymore, Rina. Remember? In fact, I didn’t.

“Ah, we’ve better, more important things to talk about. That, and the twins are ready to break their fast.” I looked down at Dick hanging from Julius’s bent arm, then to Maverick babbling on about men in the moon and cheese and mice—or some such nonsense.

“Indeed we do. Such as getting my ship to port as quickly as possible.”

I turned about, reached for the door handle, pulled it open a-ways. Then heard the words he had spoken a moment ago. My head whipped around, jostling my mind almost as much as his specific terminology did, and my eye, narrowed in the way only Uncle had mastered, bore into his.

“Excuse me. Your ship?”

  • Name three published books which have an amazing portrayal of siblings or family

Um, can I just say every single book by Julie Lessman here? I LOVE the family dynamics in her stories and, to be honest, I hope and pray that me and my siblings will grow up to be as close and family-oriented as the O'Connors are (minus all their issues...I hope to avoid those).

Surely there are other books... Gimme a second here...

The Shadows Over England series by Roseanna M. White. (I know, I know; series, not a single book... Cut me some slack, y'all.) I love how Roseanna portrayed a family of large adopted siblings. Despite not being blood-related, her family of thieves is so close-knit and hilarious! She's done a great of creating fun, loveable families in some of her other books too. I especially love the sibling/family interactions in her Biblical stories.

All right, so this last one isn't an amazing portrayal, but it's definitely one of the most memorable, realistic, and (in the end) touching. Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series--particularly the Valerian family. Marcus and Julia have most downs than ups, but between their loving parents and Hadassah, love wins out in the end!

  • Name another author’s character family that you wouldn’t mind jumping into

The O'Connors! Without a doubt, I would LOVE to become a member of Julie Lessman's O'Connor family. They are so amazing! They pray together and talk about everything, and they are just so funny! Their family is full of matchmakers (and hunks, so maybe I'd marry into the family), a few hams, and plenty of bullish Irishmen. What more could a girl ask for?

  • Provide an excerpt of sibling drama or camaraderie from any title (though be sure to credit it)

I love EVERYTHING about the O'Connor family, so it was SUPER difficult to pick just one excerpt. I'll be honest, I just flipped to the last page in one of my Kindle books and copied the first example of "sibling camraderie" that I could! The conversation between the O'Connor women are always full of wisdom and wit!


Okay, what’s wrong with this picture?” Katie’s lips squirmed as she shucked the corn with a vengeance. She cocked a hip against the counter, accentuating the scalloped layers of her floral sundress as it flared at her calf. “It’s Mother’s Day, and the men are outside playing horseshoes while the ‘mothers’ are stuck in a hot kitchen.”

“True . . . ,” Charity said with a slow drawl and a quick peek out the kitchen window. A breeze fluttered both the cream eyelet curtains and the sheer ruffle of Charity’s pale blue organza blouse, infusing Lizzie’s spacious kitchen with the scent of fresh-mown grass, newly hewn mulch, and smoked meat. The ping of horseshoes could be heard above the rumble of men’s laughter and the squeals of children, creating the perfect spring day. “But keep in mind that the children belong to the fathers for the day.” She cracked a hard-boiled egg on the counter with a diabolical grin and began to peel it for the deviled eggs. “And with the shenanigans that Henry’s been pulling lately, that sure says ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to me.”

“And they are handling the barbecue,” Lizzie defended, closing her eyes as she sniffed the aroma of grilled meat. “Although Brady would do just about anything for barbecue.” She popped an olive in her mouth from the relish tray she’d just finished and shot Charity a grin. “Short of watching Henry, that is.”

Marcy chuckled as she shredded slaw at the sink. “He sounds like your father. Insists he wants his tombstone to read, ‘He loved barbecue.’”

The spicy smell of pepper drifted in the air as Faith seasoned the potato salad with a hefty dose. “Oh, that’s Collin too. Must be a primal thing, left over from the days when cavemen bopped their woman over the head and cooked game over an open fire.”

Charity sneezed and then glanced up with a squint of her eyes. “Ooooo . . . now there’s an idea to keep Henry in line.”

A soft chuckle that could only be Emma Malloy carried on a breeze as she finished squeezing lemons for the iced tea. “Or you.”

“Nice one, Emma,” Katie said with a grin. She dropped an armful of corn into a boiling cauldron of water. “Talk about ‘grilling’ and putting someone’s feet to the fire.”

With another sharp crack of an egg, Charity charred her sister with a mock glare as a smile twitched at the corners of her mouth. “Speaking of ‘putting one’s feet to the fire,’ Katie Rose . . . I’m guessing our Luke McGee likes his barbecue smoked a long, long time?”

Heat that had nothing to do with the steam from the pot blasted Katie’s cheeks with an uncomfortable warmth. “Luke and I are nothing more than friends, Charity, and you know it. And I refuse to even think of the possibility of anything more until it’s a reality in that man’s mind, if and when that ever happens. Besides, he’s my boss, and neither of us are looking to complicate things right now.”

“Mmm-hmm. I’d say things are pretty complicated already,” Charity said with a slant of her lips. “Given the fact you work with the man day in and day out and he still comes for dinner two times a week.”

“To see Gabe and nothing more,” Katie argued. She slapped a wilted strand of hair from her eyes, wondering why her stomach was suddenly in knots.

Marcy tucked an arm around Katie’s shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze. “Yes, Gabe, certainly, but also you,” she said quietly. “Luke will come around, Katie . . . when he’s ready.”


(Lessman, Julie. A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change Book #1): A Novel (p. 489-91). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)


  • Name two characters from two unrelated books that you feel would make for great literary siblings (whether in terms of getting along, or being a constant head-to-head combat)

So, from my books or from someone else's? Hmm... I'll do both! I think it would be so fun to see Charity O'Connor (from Julie Lessman's Daughters of Boston series) and Scarlett O'Hara (from Margret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind) as sisters! They are very much alike, in my opinion, and both Irish Catholic, so it wouldn't be too much of a long shot. I could see them getting into fights over beaus and dresses, then reconciling to team up against another sibling. Evil perfection, right? Of course, once Charity becomes the wonderful, sweet, Godly sister she is now, she would transform the cruel, selfish Scarlett into a loveable character!

From mine, on the other hand... Personally, I'd like to see Rhys Sterling pair up with everybody. He'd butt heads with Keaton, be best buds with Julius, be adored by Lady Samantha (y'all haven't met her yet...), but--most of all--I think he would work well with Rina. Maybe because he's so much like Rina's "brother" Julius, or maybe just because their both rum-drinking card sharks with a charismatic personality to hide their brokenness. They would get along and get on each other's nerves perfectly. I also think Cade Darren (from Beyond the Inner Storm) and Xavier Bennet (from Held Captive) could be twins separated by nearly two hundred years.

  • What sibling trope would you like to write in the future?

Probably the Sister vs Sister love triangle. I loved and hated this trope in A Passion Most Pure, because it's so tense and dramatic and yet so hard to pull off perfectly. Julie Lessman did a fantastic job of creating a believable sibling rivalry between Faith and Charity (while making both characters loveable...okay, jury's still out on Charity). I know I'm kind of iffy on how much drama I can handle, but I would love to try my hand at this trope. I've pretty much done every other one.

Of course, I'd love to write a big, close-knit family like mine, but I have a hard time finding the setting and characters that feel right. I can't accurately base the family off of mine, probably because half of my siblings are still toddlers with little personality.

  • Which of your own sibling groups would you love to join?

Rina and Xavier's children--Dick and Mav, and several more that y'all haven't met yet. Their family is so unique and close-knit, despite the separate of sea, time, differences, past mistakes, etc. I love each siblings individually and the family as a whole. I think I'd fit in pretty good...just not with my five-foot height.

  • If you could adopt only one of your fictional siblings as your own sibling, who would it be?

Only one? Man, I don't know! Er...all of them! Probably Rina. Or Kit. Or Dick. Yep. Definitely Dick. He could be the perfect big brother I've always wanted...


  • What popular sibling/family trope have you used in your stories?

Now, for my question... I've used more family tropes than I have siblings, and one of my favorites is the "black sheep." I've probably employed this one more than once, but that's because it's so prevalent in reality (which is not necessarily a good thing). One of my favorite black sheep...dad burn it, I can't tell you! You don't know that they're the black sheep of the family yet! Ugh!

There's also the red-headed stepchild everyone loves...got one of those!


The Tags


On to the tagging...

My sister Abigail has a blog, but it's focused on cats. And she doesn't write. Therefore, I'm gonna leave her out of this...

I'm gonna tag peeps, but there ain't no guarantee they'll see this. Like I said, not very integrated...

Julie Lessman at Journal Jots. Lord knows she could go on and on 'bout her some siblings...

E.K. Seaver, at Painting With Words.

Jenna Terese at Jenna Terese -- Young Adult Author.

In the outrageously unlikely case that any of them ever read this post, there you go!


List of Questions

  • Name the most annoying sibling character in any of your stories (Either annoying to you as the author or to any other characters)

  • Name the most caring sibling character in any of your stories

  • Name the most entertaining sibling character in any of your stories

  • Name a sibling character who was inspired in some way by an actual sibling

  • Name the largest character family (talking family, not family tree) in any of your stories

  • Provide one to three excerpts from your sibling characters’ dialog from any of your stories

  • Name three published books which have an amazing portrayal of siblings or family

  • Name another author’s character family that you wouldn’t mind jumping into

  • Provide an excerpt of sibling drama or camaraderie from any title (though be sure to credit it)

  • Name two characters from two unrelated books that you feel would make for great literary siblings (whether in terms of getting along, or being a constant head-to-head combat)

  • What sibling trope would you like to write in the future?

  • Which of your own sibling groups would you love to join?

  • If you could adopt only one of your fictional siblings as your own sibling, who would it be?

  • What popular sibling trope have you used in your writing?


The Conclusion

I love my big family, and I love studying family dynamics. I try to include a little bit of what I've learned into each and every one of my families--and I love seeing where other authors have done that too! Having a large family is a wonderful blessing, one that I thank God for! He has given me all the love, support, prayer warriors, and best friends I will ever need!

Now, what about y'all? Who are your favorite fictional siblings? Why?

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