Cathy Perkins on Nature or Nurture 9


Thanks for having me here today, Leah. I appreciate the chance to talk about THE PROFESSOR, my upcoming release from Carina Press.

I’ve always been fascinated by the impact of childhood upbringing on adult behavior and why two people with similar backgrounds can turn out so different. Since I write romantic suspense and mysteries, I’ve researched criminal psychology—fortunately most of us aren’t that warped. The analysis of criminals inevitably looks at their childhood.

So what do you think? Is the result—behavior as an adult—a product of nature or nurture? The debate centers on the relative importance and contribution of genetics and environment. In my opinion, people are more complicated. The things that make us human—our capacity for learning, for emotion and interactions with others—allow us to change our environment and ourselves. Nature interacts with nurture and vice versa.

In THE PROFESSOR, both heroine Meg Connelly and the Professor had less than ideal childhoods, but Meg grew up strong and determined to make her own way in the world, while the Professor blamed everyone else for his shortcomings. Still, Meg struggled to trust—to let hero Mick O’Shaughnessy into her heart—even though she longed for a family and a life mate.


THE PROFESSOR

by Cathy Perkins
“Don’t change again,” Lisa groaned. “That’s the third outfit you’ve tried on.”

“I don’t know what to wear.”

“If you didn’t like him, you wouldn’t care,” Lisa pointed out. “I’ve never seen you do the girly indecision routine.”

Meg closed the closet door and picked up her brush, smoothing the flyaway hairs the sweater had displaced. With a sigh, she said. “I do like him. It’s scary.”

Lisa patted the bed beside her and Meg slid onto it. “You can’t keep pushing everybody away if they try to get close. Not everybody’s as persistent as me.”

“I know,” she said. “It’s just spooky. I mean, there’s this connection between us. It’s like I can see right into his brain and tell what he’s thinking and feeling.”

“That’s called being in love, sweetie.”

“But I barely know him. Besides, he can go into cop mode and, wham, everything closes.”

“It’s what he does. It’s part of the package. Can you handle it?”

“I don’t know.” She made a face. “’Course the other piece of it is, he can see into me. And I can’t block him.”

“It’s not like you have any deep, dark secrets.”

Meg looked away, nervously twirling a lock of hair around her finger. “Everybody has secrets, things they don’t want anybody to know.”

THE PROFESSOR is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Carina Press.

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9 thoughts on “Cathy Perkins on Nature or Nurture

  • Toni Anderson

    It’s a fascinating subject, Cathy. I know I’ve used it in some of my stories but I’m at a loss why some people turn out one way and others turn out another. Humans are incredibly complex.
    Great excerpt too 🙂

    • Cathy

      I just have to look at my kids – same parents, same environment, different as they can be.
      Glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

      • Leah Braemel

        My boys are like yours, Cathy — they are completely different in nature, even though they’re both boys, and as you say, same genetics, same environment.

  • Julieanne Reeves

    How a person turns out depends on so many factors. I believe it’s a combination of nature and nurture. I have two adopted children and I happen to know their biological families. Though the children have never been around them, I catch character traits in my children that their biological family shares. A facial expression, an attitude, a whine. A way of processing information, a certain love of >fill in the blank < everything from a food like/dislike to clothing material preferences.
    Yet, their environment (the adopted one) keeps many things at bay that could destroy their future had they remained in those family homes instead of being removed by Child Protective Services.
    Think of the building blocks of a life as a Mid-Western town. A tornado comes through and scoops up bits and pieces and swirls them around then deposits them into a patterned mess. We know where the pieces (genes) come from. We know all the aspects of the tornado (life's little surprises) and we know the end results.
    We all spend our lives in that tornado from beginning to end. Things are picked up, things are discarded, but it all swirls around with us – in us – and we have to make the most of it, because just like the tornado, when a life comes to an end all we have are the individual pieces strewn about to mark it's passing.
    And like the tornado we have control of our strength, trajectory and velocity.

    • Cathy

      That’s a wonderful analogy! I can see all of us moving through life picking up and discarding bits and pieces from various experiences.

      I also see shared traits in my family and in our friends & their children, but I also have friends who are children of alcoholics and yet they’ve found ways out of that trap. So many factors in that whirlwind!

    • Jenny Schwartz

      The whirlwind analogy works for me. The question of nurture/nature and how different people respond to terrible situations seems an ongoing puzzle, but I have hope that people can make their own lives better — with some help!

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