We all long for something we don’t have. Currently, I am longing for a normal life. One where all the drama unfolds in my fiction and doesn’t spill forth into my real life. I was once at a national SCBWI conference in LA (society of children’s writing and illustration) with over two hundred people attending. We were all gathered together for the lunch banquet with tables that spread on for miles to feed us. For as far as I could see there were white table cloths, chairs, and people.
Most everyone was facing the front of the room listening to the main speaker who was a murder mystery writer for a young adult market. The author was a popular and funny speaker until she started talking about how her son was murdered. The moment she turned the subject to that the lights flickered in the room and shut off leaving us in the dark.
Moments later the emergency lights had flipped on, and the speaker mentioned how that was a sign and then went to more details of her son’s death which had devastated her. Many of the details were similar to what she had written in her books.
People wondered if the murderer had been a fan of her books and had purposely followed those details. She didn’t have the answer, to those who asked, but that story haunted me.
Finally, years ago I was able to get my first book published. There was a person in real life I based one of my secondary characters on. I decided that person needed a job promotion in the church she was in and asked to take on more responsibilities, so that became part of the story.
Two years later, I learned that person was currently servicing in that position. Did the leaders read my book and figure out who the person was in real life I was depicting in fiction, and decide I was right, and give that person that position because of reading my book?
Not hardly. In the same book, I had decided my real life was too stressful and painful, and I didn’t want to think anything about it so I made up something that was as far away from my real life as I could. I wrote about a cult and murder.
The day after I signed the contract and mailed it in—yes, it was back in the old fashion times when people mailed things—I learned that there was suspicion from the authorities of cult-like behavior with some of my family members.
Seriously! Seriously. Creepy. And, of course, I had to live with that family member thinking I wrote about him/her in a non-flattering light when in fact I had just made everything up, and it wasn’t even based on that person.
That person has finally started talking to me, and maybe stop talking to me again because of this blog. We don’t talk about that book or any of my books for that matter. It’s best if my family doesn’t acknowledge that I am an author. Too much real time drama can come from that.
Many books later I was asked to submit some manuscripts. I brushed off one that I had written over twelve years earlier, and as I started to read the book, the male main character lead started sounding familiar. I found my then boyfriend and read passages from the book. He looked at me and said what I was thinking, “Dang, that sounds like me.”
It did too. Down to the weird way my then boyfriend now husband opens a bag of chips—with scissors! When I wrote Superstitious Romance, I was married to my first husband, and I wrote a story I thought would comfort my mom, not attract a new romance in my life!
If I had known then that I was attracting that man in my life, I would have been sure to make the main male lead rich! I mean it. From now on all male leads are rich, not that I don’t love my husband, I really do. I promise, but I do this because let’s face facts, he is twelve years older than me and men die on the average twelve years sooner and I don’t like not having a man in my life….or, even better, much better, he could have a change of fortune in his life.
I am not sure how writing things as fiction and then having them materialize into the writers’ real life works. If I knew the rules, then I could angle things to go my way. Wouldn’t we all?
I do have to say that experience in LA haunts me and every time I think of murdering someone in fiction I have to think twice. What if an author does have the power to make something real? Hmmm…
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So maybe my pen isn’t that powerful, but how does that explain all the strange stuff that has happened to other authors and me? Do we just have a touch of clairvoyant that we can tap into things, not very clearly, granted, of what is going to happen or, does our imagination breathe things into existence or is all this stuff too whoo whoo? Love to hear what you think about all this.