Have you ever wondered how much of that novel you’re reading is based on the author’s real-life experiences?
I consider it a compliment whenever someone asks me if an element of my stories is grounded in reality, because it means that element of the tale rang true.
The amount of reality an author includes varies wildly from writer to writer and from story to story. However, in my experience, stories usually include a mix of elements written from in-depth experience, pieces constructed from a brief or second-hand encounter, and those penned on research alone.
Since this is my first post as an official member of the Inspy Romance team, I thought comparing some elements from my stories to my real life might be a fun way to introduce myself.
Can you guess how much experience I have in these areas from my fiction? (Answers at the end of the post.)
1. The hero in my latest release, To Belong Together, owns two pit bulls. My related experience (or lack thereof) is:
A. I have two cats.
B. I’ve owned dogs, but never two at once.
C. We rescued a pit bull mix.
D. I have only had fish but did get to take home the class pet (a hamster) for a weekend in second grade.
2. In To Belong Together, the hero is a quiet introvert and the heroine is an outspoken extrovert. My related experience is:
A. My husband is an extrovert, and I’m an introvert.
B. My husband and I are both extroverts, but my best friend is an introvert.
C. I am an extrovert, and my husband is introverted.
D. My husband and I are both introverts.
3. A food truck appears throughout my current series, the Rhythms of Redemption Romances. My related experience (or lack thereof) is:
A. I’ve worked in fast food, but never a food truck.
B. My brother owns a food truck, and I’ve worked a few shifts.
C. I eat at a favorite food truck weekly during the summer months (they don’t operate over winter here in Wisconsin).
D. I’ve never eaten at a food truck, but I included it in the stories because it sounded fun.
4. In The Rhythms of Redemption Romances, each book follows a different member of a popular (fictional) rock band named Awestruck. My music-related experience (or lack thereof) is:
A. limited to elementary school music class and the church Christmas recital.
B. I played flute in school and my husband is a drummer (though not in a famous band!)
C. I sang in choir and even recorded an indie album.
D. I sang in a touring choir in college.
5. Peonies become a meaningful gift between the hero and heroine in my next novel, To Begin Again (releasing in July!). My related experience is:
A. Peonies are my favorite flower, and I planted at least 6 varieties in my yard.
B. I have bad allergies that prevent me from enjoying flowers.
C. I don’t enjoy gardening, so I buy cut flowers from the store instead of growing them.
D. I tend to kill plants, so other than a couple hardy shrubs and trees, little grows in my yard.
6. The hero in To Begin Again has a nanny to help care for his children. (For the record, she’s not the love interest.) My related experience is:
A. I’m a full-time mom who writes.
B. I worked in a daycare.
C. My siblings have kids the age of those in the book.
D. One of my longtime friends is a nanny.
7. A number of the characters in the Rhythms of Redemption Romances are famous. My related experience is:
A. Basically non-existent, though I’ve been to some concerts and done some research.
B. I have a cousin who won a reality singing competition.
C. My grandma was an extra in some films from the 1950’s.
D. One of my friends is somehow related to a Great British Baking Show winner.
Ready for the answers? Here goes:
1 – C, We have owned 3 rescues, one of which was a pit bull mix. We’ve owned 2 dogs at once twice now, but for the time being, we’re happy with one because, let’s face it, my character’s dogs are much better behaved than mine!
2 – A, And we’re both rather extreme. Ha!
3 – B, After helping out a couple of times, I have so much respect for people who make a living in food service. They stay on top of so much!
4 – B, I do wish I had some voice training, as that seems like a nice skill to have.
5 – A, I love plants! I have them all over, indoors and out. But, don’t mistake me for a perfect gardener. Some of my plants die, and I learn some things from trial and error.
6 – D, I don’t have kids, so my nanny friend help with details, as did two of my other friends who have kids the age of the children in the book.
7 – A, I read a whole stack of books, read some interviews, and watched some videos.
Do you have experience in any of these areas? Which ones? What elements from your real life do you like to see reflected in the fiction you read?