Like most authors, I imagine, I often get asked how much of my books are based on real people or events. The answer depends on which book you’re talking about, and also which characters, scenes, settings, situations, and emotions. Because, of course, a lot of what I write is entirely made up by my – sometimes vivid – imagination, but actually, some things are based on real life. But it might only be one sentence in this chapter here, or half that scene in that chapter there. It might be the way someone is described, either in looks or personality. It might the café they’re drinking coffee in, or the food they’re eating.
I can honestly say, though, no single character is based entirely on anyone I know. Mainly to avoid any kind of litigation, haha. However, some scenes in my books are definitely very much true to life, and while the character names and their descriptions may have been changed, the details of the scene as it unfolds are definitely real.
It’s funny, because this is something I’ve thought about blogging about for some time now, but never quite got around to it. Then recently I read a review (a good review – I’m not complaining!) of my latest release, Dare to Love, and the reviewer commented on how one scene in particular, the wedding scene (no spoilers) was hard to believe. I can understand why, given what happens. And it got me thinking – given all we authors are writing is fiction, and therefore everything in our books is entirely made up, what makes something believable or not? What pushes the boundaries of credibility, and why?
Recently there was a Twitter storm about the new Doctor Who, played so magnificently by Jodie Whittaker – a woman. Someone was up in arms about the fact that the Doctor was no longer male, and how it made the whole thing seem unbelievable now. And someone else responded with something along the lines of, “Okay, the Doctor travels through time and space meeting alien races in all different galaxies, using a converted police telephone box that’s infinitely bigger on the inside than the outside, and the thing that pushes it into the bounds of unbelievable for you is the fact that the Doctor is female?” I guess it’s all in personal perception, or bias, or whatever you want to call it.
Believe it or not, the wedding scene in Dare to Love is entirely true – it happened to me, many years ago, with a straight woman I worked with. And actually I left out the other half of the story from the scene in Dare to Love, which was that I had to share a room with the bride’s aunt, because the hotel was small and the bride had over-invited. The aunt was a nice woman, we were perfectly polite to each other and managed the room-sharing fine – except for her snoring. My word, it was like trying to sleep next to a speeding freight train. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to escape the next morning after breakfast! It truly was one of the strangest days of my life, and after the emotional dust had settled, I always knew the key part of it would end up in one of my books.
So I guess I would say, just because you think something in a book is beyond the realms of possibility, think again – you never know where the author got the inspiration for that scene or character from 😉
Dare to Love can be found on Amazon, to purchase in e-book or paperback, or as a free e-book download for Kindle Unlimited subscribers