I am always bemused when readers ask me, “How much of your writing is based on personal experience?” The short answer: “It’s FICTION. My writing is the product of an (over) active imagination.” Of course, I suspect what tends to lurk below the reader’s question is the desire to know how much of the sex is based on personal experience. And the simple answer to that can only be, “A gentleman never tells.”
My books are obviously fiction. I could never have done even a fraction of the daring and wonderful things that my main characters do. I’ve never cycled the Tour de France, run a cross-country race through the mountains or had my vehicle skid off the road down a snowy embankment. I have also never flown a helicopter, let alone jumped out of one. But, on reflection, I’ve had related experiences. I have watched the Tour de France on TV, I’ve cycled in a race, I’ve flown in a helicopter and I’ve retrieved friends that had their car skid down a snowy embankment in the Sierra mountains.
These personal experiences trigger the author’s imagination and get woven into the fabric of the story. They lend authenticity and are part of why writing is so satisfying. It allows the author to give something of themselves and yet have the freedom to shape and mold it.
Recently I crossed off a bucket list item and went for a tandem paraglide jump off Signal Hill in Cape Town. What an experience! The tandem running jump was somewhat hair raising but, once we were in the air, it was magical. To soar like a bird in the sky – this is what man has dreamed of for millennia. It was so quiet up there! For fifteen minutes we circled above the city and sea before gliding back down to earth.
And all that time I was virtually in the embrace of the pilot, a rugged man with the most calming voice reassuring me and pointing out the sights. I had to instantly entrust myself to this stranger. Now, if that isn’t a set up for an MM romance, I don’t know what is. So, yes, this experience will definitely find its way into one of my future novels, only with a younger, more handsome main character.