Meet Sydney, Jack’s Mom

I’d like to introduce you to Sydney Sullivan, the Mother in the YA novel THIRTEEN.

DemographicsScreen Shot 2015-08-06 at 5.32.22 PM

Age: 38 years old
Status: Divorced
Occupation: Secretary
Children: One 13 year old boy


Sydney is a doer. She likes to get things done. It’s how she handles herself in a crisis, rolls up her sleeves and get ‘er done attitude. She is very self reliant, resourceful, and independent. She has little patience for people who need help from others and are, in her opinion, weak. She is smart, energetic and very strong emotionally. She doesn’t wallow in self pity, she pulls up her socks, pushes the feelings aside and moves forward with life.

Not much changed in her day to day when her husband walked out because Jason always did his own thing leaving Sydney and Jack to their own devices for the most part. Sydney rarely asked Jason for help and picked up the slack around the house when Jason was busy with work or projects. She strived to be the perfect wife and is angry that he thought she wasn’t good enough.

As Jack pulls away from her she feels the pain of abandonment, which she still hasn’t dealt with from her divorce. She wants Jack to do what he’s told and be a normal good kid. Losing control of Jack makes her anxious and she isn’t handling his new found rebellious streak very well. She is constantly worrying about him and what others will think of her parenting skills.


Sydney’s parents live 1/2 a days drive from the Lower Mainland and her relationship with them is close, but strained as she keeps everything to herself, keeping them at arms length. Now that Jason has left her, she is scared that they see her as a failure and tries doubly hard to be a better parent to Jack. She had the perfect American small town type upbringing.

Growing up she was always striving to be perfect and meet her parent’s expectations of her. She has a younger sister that she was always competing against growing up and still compares herself to.

Likes / Dislikes

Sydney is athletic and likes to play all types of sports. She is constantly moving and rarely sits except when she has a good book in her hand, then she can get lost in the story for hours. She likes camping and roughing it out in the wilderness. She isn’t one to go to expensive resorts when a campsite is available.

She isn’t impressed by flashy or expensive things, which was a point of contention in the marriage. She wanted the suburbia quiet life and Jason wanted the excitement of the urban life. She is conservative in her tastes and not one to buy something just to keep up with the Jones’.

The Plot

In THIRTEEN Sydney is a normal suburban mother trying to keep her 13 year old son out of trouble, until all hell breaks loose and they wake up to an invasion of the Lower Mainland. With the soldiers cutting off power, taking over and not letting anyone leave, Sydney’s number one priority is to take care of Jack. To do what needs to be done to survive a power outage until the Canadian and American armies come to kick some North Korean soldier butt.

Her camping skills kick into overdrive as she prepares for the unknown. She doesn’t like the unknown and feels better doing something rather than sitting around talking about it.

During this time she has started dating Nick, a local cop. His support and friendship has been a blessing as she tries to gain control of her surroundings and her rebellious son Jack.



Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a story about a boy, his single mom, her cop boyfriend, a missing dad, and an invading foreign army. She explores North American life in an occupied zone with no power, no communication, and no freedoms. For more information check out her website: