Today I welcome guest blogger and fellow author, Pamela Kay Noble Brown to Writing My Dreams. She’s here to open up a little bit about what’s really going on behind the scenes in an author’s life, for those of you who want to be in the know.
Do you put all of yourself into your writing? Oh, I’m sure the majority of writers put their all mentally and physically into their work. Mentally we do the research, think up the plots, and figure out the details of how to make that plot connect. Physically we put in late nights, especially if we’re on a roll and don’t want to lose our muse, and get up early to write during quiet time. And if we self-publish, many of us have come to the point of physically sweating as we wrestle to get our text and photos to fit into those tortuous template specifications. Lol.
But I thought it would be interesting to discuss how many of us pour out of our actual lives into our plots. Now with autobiographies or memoirs, this is a given. Everyone knows upfront that the book is by you and about you. You really have no expectations of privacy once you put your life out there. There is nothing wrong with this. I love reading the stories of other people’s lives, learning from their experiences, and gaining inspiration from their triumphs in the face of adversities.
I guess my question is more about your fiction writings. If you write a book in which your characters live in a spaceship or in a hut under the sea, your readers accept the story and enjoy it for the entertainment it is. But what about the fiction work in which a little bit more of you than you intended accidentally slips through? What if nothing about you slipped through, but your readers perceived that it did?
A couple of examples in my own writing life come to mind. One of my books deals with life, if you live, after horrendous domestic violence. It is meant to encourage and uplift survivors of this increasingly growing crime. Shortly after I published this book, I started getting inquisitive calls from friends wanting to know was I okay. My sister just got right to the point demanding to know if I was in a safe environment. My husband said, “I’m glad you wrote the book, but now everybody’s going to be looking at me funny.” Ah, the sacrifices of the author’s spouse. Lol.
When I published another fiction book, a longtime friend called and said, “I recognized you immediately.” When I looked at it again, I had to admit that there were tidbits of my jobs, hobbies, and situations that had seeped their way in through the teabag of my imagination. One of my friends is fond of saying that we often write best about which we are familiar with.
So my fellow authors, how do you handle these situations? Do you just go with the flow and say a good story is a good story regardless if people identify it with your life or not? What do you do at book signings when people ask uncomfortable questions about your life as it relates to the book? Finally, if a reader asks about something that is true do you admit it, or brush it off and keep your life an interesting mystery? What say you?
~ Pamela Kay Noble Brown
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