Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fact and Fiction by Sierra Donovan

"Oh! So THAT's how you two met!"

When I told people that my first novel was a romance set at a radio station, I got that reaction a lot. Yes, my husband is a disc jockey; yes, we did work at the same radio station together for seven years. But that happened after we were married.

I borrow from my life. I freely admit it. My stories are filled with first and last names borrowed from family members and friends. The afghan my aunt crocheted for me is in the first chapter of "Love on the Air." And that radio station is filled with small items and incidents from the station where I worked. We really did have a CD player we had to stick a butter knife into to rescue a disc that got stuck. And a break room where there was always danger of coming around the corner and crashing into someone (a perfect accident for my hero and heroine!).

I plant pieces of myself into my stories, and I love it.

But if people were to assume that everything in my books really happened to me ... brrr! That could open a can of worms. If my next hero were an auto mechanic, what if people started thinking I had eyes for the guy who fixes my car? Come to think of it, we have been seeing a lot more of each other lately, as my car gets older.... See? Instant gossip!

I wonder if people who write murder mysteries run into the same reaction. Do people realize it's fiction, since there are no bodies turning up on the author's doorstep? Or do friends start eying them uneasily, wondering if a character who resembles them might turn up as a victim in the next book?

Of course, no one ever said writing fiction was for the faint of heart.

The beauty of writing, as with reading, is that we get to escape into another world and experience it vicariously. Writing can have a tremendous advantage because we control this universe. On the other hand, sometimes it sends us down blind alleys or requires us to cause pain for those characters we love so much.

When I'm doing my job right, I experience the story every bit as much as my readers do. There's great joy in taking just a pinch of my favorite things, a dash of personal experience, and stirring it into a great big bowl of fantasy.

So, if any of you notice a good-lookin' grocery checker in my next book, why, pay it no mind.


  1. You are so right (and write). Gossip and assumptions make great fodder for plots. So look around ladies, and carry a notebook.

    Great post Sierra.

    Oh - Trivia - My Avalon Book entitled FALLING FOR YOU, was originally titled LOVE ON ICE, but Avalon had just bought LOVE ON THE AIR, The editor though the titles were too similar.

  2. Kathye, I never knew that! "Falling for You" Is nice, though ... especially now that it has a pretty Colby Caillat song to go with it!

  3. Great post, Sierra!
    So...don't get your hair cut, go to the gym, or take music lessons, right?

  4. Oh yes, I've overheard some great lines! And I shamelessly pinch anecdotes from my family. The Right Chord owes its opening line to my dad. Someone said to him --' It's hopeless arguing with you, you always see the other person's point of view.'

  5. I enjoyed your post, Sierra, and could easily connect. Little bits of my life (and the people in it) pop up in my writing all the time.

  6. It is funny how people assume you are writing about your love life. I try never to have a hero with my husband's coloring or build. Enjoyed the post!