Posts tagged with: romance authors

Ripped From Real Life

People who know I write and know me in some other role—friend, co-worker, etc.—tend to believe that all my heroines are…well…me. I understand why they would think that, especially when my heroine appears to have quite a lot in common with me.

Kick StartFor instance, Linda (the heroine in Kick Start) has a lot in common with me. She’s from the same hometown I’m from. She shares my taste in music. She has kids of the same gender and relative ages of my own children. She lives in a town quite similar to the one I live in (or the way it was about 20 years ago). She attends a similar sort of church and her kids are involved in many of the same activities mine were at those ages. That’s not because Linda is me, however. That’s because I was using what I knew at the time I wrote the book. Poor Linda is actually not really much like me at all, though, once you scratch the surface. She married a good ole boy, while I would have none of that. She was a stay-at-home mom, whereas the very thought of such gave me the willies. I can see how people might think she is me, but I hope they see the differences between us.

I have been editing the next book in my Cross Springs series, Tiara Wars, this week. I noticed that the heroine of that book, Katie, also has a few things in common with me. Less of it is surface stuff, though. Superficially, Katie and I could not be more different. She was raised a politician’s daughter and a queen of the pageant circuit. She went to cotillion and always knows what to say and do in any social situation. Like I said, we could not be more different! And yet…when I got to the really meaty part of the story, the part where she has to come to grips with who and what she really is, I realized that Katie and I shared a deep and profound commonality. Deep down, Katie learns she enjoys being admired and she enjoys being in charge. She likes competition and she likes winning. That rang true to me when I wrote it and true when I read it this week. Katie and I are not alike, but she has aspects of me deep inside her.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00004]Which made me reflect that, in all honesty, ALL my characters have aspects of me. Or at least of someone I know really well. How could they not? In order to write a character, you really have to get inside her or his head. The only way I can see people is through the filter of my own experience. So, in essence, all characters are kind-of, sort-of, a little bit like me (or someone I know and love dearly). I also found that in writing male characters, I tend to give them aspects of my husband or father or brother or son. Again, we write what we know. Oh, and all those mean girls and awful neighbors and things? Yes, I know those people, too. 😀

So this week, my only profound thought has been that the old “write what you know” really is the best advice anyone can give a writer. Only sometimes, what you know is buried in layers of what seems like fun and what other people are like and what you just saw on TV last week or on vacation last year. Just know that whenever you are reading a really well-developed character wrestling with deep issues, there may just be a little bit of reality in there somewhere. Only the writer will ever know, though, which parts are real and which are the products of an incredibly overactive imagination.

JDRobbOne of my favorite games is guessing which heroine in  a romance author’s bibliography is most like her. I think Nora Roberts is probably more like Eve Dallas (in her J.D. Robb ‘In Death’ series) than any of her other heroines. So play my game with me. Tell me a favorite romance writer of yours and which of her heroines you think is most like her. Don’t be afraid to call out a Romance Bandit author, either. Everyone is fair game and it’s open season! 🙂 

Oh, and I meant to tell you that KICK START will be available as a print book very soon. So, one lucky commenter will get a print copy of KICK START!