Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Slice of Me

I suppose it says a lot about me that the battery to my fart machine is wearing down from use. When I first saw this little gem of a toy, I bought every one they had in the store, making sure my friends and family were equally armed. These machines made their first appearance at a family outing, honoring my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. (Nothing says I love you like a…well, you know what I mean.)

This machine has many uses. It makes a fun DOG TOY. And of course, anyone would bring this bad boy to a restaurant, but try sneaking it into a hospital for a real laugh riot. (You think I’m joking, don’t you? HA!)

I’m outing myself here because it occurred to me that in my fiction books, I often write about incidences that happen to my characters that may also have been inspired by a real life experience.

No, I haven’t found the right book yet to launch this little innovation on the literary world (like there IS a right book for techno-toots.) I’m waiting for the right op to spring my 50-ft range remote controlled tooter that can operate through walls and boasts 6 different kinds of “sounds.” Yes, SIX. (Some of you are saying, “Only six?”)

In my YA book – In the Arms of Stone Angels (Harlequin Teen, Apr 2011), I wrote about my character’s first kiss. This scene is below:

“Can I kiss you?” White Bird asked.
My eyes opened wide and my breath caught in my throat. I nearly choked.
“Ah, no.” My mouth said it before my brain knew what was happening.
“No?” He smiled and cocked his head in question.
I looked down at my watch. “In two minutes, okay?”
When he grinned and looked down at his watch to count down the time, I turned my head and spit out my gum. It shot out of my mouth like a pink cannonball.

A first kiss rarely happens smoothly. My first kiss was from a guy who wrote me poetry, the coolest boy in my elementary school. But the above scene had been inspired by my more laughable first French kiss. I was so shocked, I pushed the guy away and said, “What the hell are you doing?” A mood killer, but I still laugh about it today. If I had known what was coming—and that I’d need a drool rag after—I would have given him a two-minute warning and run the other way.

Brenna’s “screw you” toes are a family trait that manifested in my twin sisters. Their middle toes jut out and say, “Salute!” This was my way of saying, “I love you” to my sisters.

And a not so funny inspiration was the first argument my character Brenna has with her mom where she has an out of body experience with her rage, seeing the fear in her mother’s eyes as if she could look down on everything. That really happened to me. It made me see what I was doing to my mom yet I couldn’t stop. I wanted to capture that moment in my book…for me. Not every teen goes through something like this—thankfully—but for those of us who have, blinding rage is no fun and is definitely out of control.

Bottom line is that authors often write about things they filter through their life’s choices or experiences they’ve had or hear about. It helps to make the book more real. Some are funny. Some are heartbreaking and not easy to write about.

And some are purely fictional.

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