#romance, #writing, Uncategorized

Fact vs. Fiction. How much does the author rely on personal experience?

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.

#romance, #writing

Visiting the Scene of the Action

I love the Sierras where every season has its own charm. Winter is my favorite though. There is something spiritual about walking among snow-laden trees when all noise is dampened and the air is crisp. One almost hesitates to leave one’s footprints in the virginal snow.

Clydesdale is a fictional town but, in reality, it is a composite of many different places in the Sierras. I recently visited this area again to immerse myself and work on the plot for the third book in the series, due for release in the fall of 2022. It always delights me when I come across a building or place that fits in with what I described in “King of the Mountain” or “Master of the Wild.” For example, the picture below is exactly how I imagined the Lakeside Inn.

In the picture below I can see the two lovers, Conner and Ewan, sitting in these chairs overlooking the lake and contemplating their future – desperately trying to figure out a way in which they can stay together. There is something very wistful and forlorn about the empty chairs, as though the two star-crossed lovers tried to find their HEA but had to give up and go their separate ways.

Finally, I came across this meadow and my heart leaped as I thought, this is it, this is exactly how I imagined the field at the edge of Clydesdale where so many of the events happen. The Master of the Wild challenge with horsemanship, the fairs, and the fairytale happy ending.

For more, visit the gallery page of this website.


The author’s environment influences the story

It is HOT this week in the East Bay where I live and write. I am desperately trying to keep the hydrangeas in my garden alive.

The funny thing is that suddenly I find that heat and wildfires creep into my latest novel, King of the Mountain. Have you ever experienced that your environment influences your writing? If so, please share. I would not be able to bring myself right now to write about lovers in front of a log fire in a snow-bound cabin. That will have to wait for winter.

But, the good news is that these wind still, balmy nights are an excellent inspiration for romantic outdoor scenes under a star-filled sky.