"Oh! So THAT's how you two met!"
When I told people that my first
novel was a romance set at a radio station, I got that reaction a
lot. Yes, my husband is a disc jockey; yes, we did work at the same
radio station together for seven years. But that happened after we
I borrow from my life. I freely
admit it. My stories are filled with first and last names borrowed
from family members and friends. The afghan my aunt crocheted for me
is in the first chapter of "Love on the Air." And that
radio station is filled with small items and incidents from the
station where I worked. We really did have a CD player we had to
stick a butter knife into to rescue a disc that got stuck. And a
break room where there was always danger of coming around the corner
and crashing into someone (a perfect accident for my hero and
I plant pieces of myself into my
stories, and I love it.
But if people were to assume that
everything in my books really happened to me ... brrr! That could
open a can of worms. If my next hero were an auto mechanic, what if
people started thinking I had eyes for the guy who fixes my car? Come
to think of it, we have been seeing a lot more of each other lately,
as my car gets older.... See? Instant gossip!
I wonder if people who write murder
mysteries run into the same reaction. Do people realize it's fiction,
since there are no bodies turning up on the author's doorstep? Or do
friends start eying them uneasily, wondering if a character who
resembles them might turn up as a victim in the next book?
Of course, no one ever said writing
fiction was for the faint of heart.
The beauty of writing, as with
reading, is that we get to escape into another world and experience
it vicariously. Writing can have a tremendous advantage because we
control this universe. On the other hand, sometimes it sends us down
blind alleys or requires us to cause pain for those characters we
love so much.
When I'm doing my job right, I
experience the story every bit as much as my readers do. There's
great joy in taking just a pinch of my favorite things, a dash of
personal experience, and stirring it into a great big bowl of
So, if any of you notice a
good-looking grocery checker in my next book, why, pay it no mind.