Three questions I am asked a lot when I do a book talk are the following:
1. How much of a character is you?
2. Is it hard to let your character do bad things?
3. When do you write?
I’ll answer these questions quickly.
#1: There is a little bit of me and people I know in every character I write. Sometimes it’s a blend of many people, sometimes it’s based on one person.
#2: Yes…I find it difficult to allow my characters to do bad things. In the particular “thing” I’m working on now, Joe does a bad thing. I have to allow him to do it. It will make the story stronger (even though part of me really likes Joe).
#3: I write when I can. At the university, we have a break coming up next week, and I plan on doing some intensive writing over the holidays. Summer usually works best for me when I am not teaching, but I try to squeeze it in here and there where I can.
The interesting thing about the quote featured above is that I find it amazingly true as well. Who you are as a person, the things you’ve gone through recently, and where your life is at the moment affects your writing. You find yourself tossing things into the story from real life, and guess what? It makes it real.
My mother read a few pages of the new “thing.” She said something interesting to me: “Remember, you are funny, and your stories from working in baseball are funny. Let them be…let them sit on the pages of the novel. Don’t try to write like someone else. You have a your own flavor.”
I loved that she said that.