My typical answer is a shrug and a mumbled, “Everywhere, I guess.”
Yeah, I know and can tell that’s not the answer the questioner expected or even wanted to hear. Because I used to think the same thing before I decided to start writing…that authors live fabulous, exciting lives filled with glorious adventure and filled with most amazing friends and family! And because that’s how I imagined them, I was sure their stories were just the retelling of their personal experiences—only with the names changed to protect the innocent.
I’m here to tell you, that’s just not true (dammit!).
Nope. Although I have traveled a lot, met a bunch of different people and studied a lot of different cultures…I don’t think my life is all that fabulous or exciting (it has its moments, though!). And like yours, carries just as much boredom and petty frustration alongside all the good stuff that goes on.
The fact is, I don’t write about my real life except as the basis for some scenes or plotlines. Instead, I’ll take the core ingredients of something that’s happened or I’ve heard about and use my imagination to build on it, changing it just enough to fit my characters and whatever they’re doing.
For instance? Phoebe when she was trying to get out of her little black knit dress after more than a few drinks at the Surly Snowman during a Girl’s Night Out. Actually, that scene was based on me in the 80’s trying to remove my pantyhose while in a similar state.
Although Phoebe made it look cute and funny.
My recollection of my own experience wasn’t half as much fun. But then I didn’t have Ryker in waiting for me to finish either (wink, wink—and another whispered ‘dammit’!).
Sometimes I’ll get an idea but will have to research it a lot more to make it more realistic (i.e., a motorcycle club like in my Hellion MC series) or create the place I want my story set (like for Broken Girls and all my other books set in the fictional town of Grantham, Colorado. I might even need to come up with an alien race with their own dialect and special abilities, such as in the Mate Search books).
Maybe I should change my answer when asked.
Make it more positive.
And utterly, amazingly truthful.
“I have a really vivid imagination and unfettered curiosity.”
Would that work?
Until next time…
Smiling and waving from my corner of the world,