Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Joining the fun with fact and fantasy

Hey there y'all! What fun! I'm supposed to post tomorrow (the 18th), but I'm jumping the gun because at 0730 I'll be at school dealing with parent-teacher conferences. Yes. God help me. I'm still teaching high school. Soooo...I've been excited about the mass market releases of DIVINE BY MISTAKE and (finally) it's sequel, DIVINE BY CHOICE, and I thought I'd post a little blurb about how real life sneaks into my books, especially these books - in particular, DIVINE BY CHOICE. And as a giveaway how about y'all blog in with bizarre things that have happened to you that are stranger than fiction (and would make excellent scenes in a paranormal!). To the winner I'll send signed copies of DIVINE BY MISTAKE and DIVINE BY CHOICE, as well as a lovely goddess necklace.

So, here goes my example:

I often get asked about how much of myself and my life ends up in my books. This question seems so simple to me. I mean, how could my experiences not influence my fiction? Many times it’s as simple as my characters eating at one of my favorite restaurants, or my heroine wearing a particularly wicked cool pair of boots that just happen to sit in my closet, too. But sometimes it’s decidedly more. Take a pivotal scene in DIVINE BY CHOICE...

Actually, my father would probably say, “No, you take the damn scene! I lived it!” And there’s my point (thanks Dad!). Okay, first I will freely admit that many people and places in the DIVINE books are from my life. Shannon’s a lot like me. Shannon’s best friend is a best friend of mine. Several of my teacher friends are in the book(s), as well as ex-students of mine. The Oklahoma locations are absolutely real. Which brings me to Shannon’s dad (and the MacCallan). Both are totally my dad, and the Oklahoma home I describe IS my parents’ home. So...my wonderful dad has been my first reader for years and years. I also brainstorm with him, as well as get all my biological and ecological info from him. Which means he knows the plots of the novels intricately.

The winter before I was writing DIVINE BY CHOICE my father was in a horrible accident. During a freaky week of Oklahoma snowstorms, three of his greyhound pups broke through the ice of his pond. Dad tried to save them, and he broke through the ice, too. It was terrifying. He almost died (the pups all died). A few months later he and I were talking about DIVINE BY CHOICE, and how Nuada’s evil had been resurrected in Oklahoma, and how it was messing with the natural balance of things by creating blinding snowstorms/ice storms. Plus, Nuada had targeted Shannon’s loved ones and was trying to kill them...I think the light bulbs went on over both of our heads at the same time. Dad sighed and said, “Yes, you can use my pond accident.” I thought it was inappropriate to leap up and down and cheer and yell, “Ohmygod! Thanks Dad!” So I just asked if he was sure. I didn’t fool him (and haven’t been fooling him for 46 years). “Go on. Use it. I know you want to.” I did. And, yes, it was difficult to write. I usually make myself cry while I’m writing, but normally it doesn’t happen till the end of my books, and then I’m never sure whether the tears are induced by the poignant, moving conclusion, my exhaustion, or my level of alcohol poisoning. I suspect it’s a combo of all of those things. When I was writing the ‘Dad in the frozen pond scene’ I was bawling my eyes out, and I know for sure why. I was way into the scene. It felt real to me. AND IT WAS MY DAD! When I finished the scene Dad read it and told me that it gave him the creeps and was too damn real. (Excellent praise!)

YOUR TURN! What life events have you lived that could inspire fiction?

26 comments:

Kathy said...

I thought Nuada was killed at the end of DBM? You know, crushed beneath ClanFintan's hooves?

LadyVampire2u said...

It really is so true that whatever you write, you usually put a piece of yourself into your work. Something bizarre thats happened to me? Well thats half my life but heres one incident: I was in first grade and this little girl was missing. That day we had an art class and I drew a picture of a little girl sleeping in a dumpster. The teacher thought this was unusual so asked me why I drew it. I told her that all day the little girl had been sending pictures and words to my mind and I thought I would draw them. On a hunch, the teacher asked someone to check the dumpsters in back of the school. They found the little girl curled up and sleep inside. Seems she had climbed up into the dumpster and been unable to get back out.

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Well when I was in school I was sitting at a table reading when I had this scene flash in my mind. It was someone who I didn't know particularly well and they asked to sit with me and carried on a conversation. When I looked up from my book the exact scene played out just as I had seen it.

I've had other moments where I would get a feeling about something and it turned out to be eerily accurate {:0

Estella said...

Cannot say I have had anything happen to me that could be classified as paranormal.

bamabelle said...

In my sophmore year of high school, there was a senior boy that hung around in some of the same circles as my friends. He was popular, acted nice, was on the football team, etc. Still, every time he was anywhere around I felt physically ill. I could not stand to talk to him or be in the same room. I told my closest girlfriends, just so they would understand that I did not want to be around him. Several months later, he was arrested for abusing children that were in his mother's daycare center. I only wish I could have known why I felt that way in order to help those kids. Because of that experience I do try to follow my instincts about people, and certainly never judge a book by it's cover.

KatieW said...

Paranormal, huh? Well, I went to school in Gettysburg, PA. And if you know anything about Gburg, it's that it's haunted. Lots of History Channel and SciFi shows about the Ghosts of Gettysburg. I was always fascinated but had never experienced anything myself. My friend, however, lived in one of the more haunted dorms. She insisted that every night at a certain time someone would slowly walk from the window to the door, and back to the window. That's it. She heard the footsteps every single night. I didn't believe it until I stayed over just to test it. Oh, yes. Definitely footsteps passing by the bed. Obviously not above or below, definitely right next to the bed, window to door, then back to window.

We always wondered who it was, whether it was a soldier from the Civil War or a doctor or something. I wanted to know their story.

Carol said...

Twice members of my family have seen someone who has died. My father was too sick at the time to go to my uncle's funeral. He was sitting in a chair at home when he looked up and saw my uncle who was all dressed in white. After a minute he left. The same thing happened to my grandmother after my grandfather's death. She was in their bedroom and she looked behind her and my grandfather was just watching her. I have always believed that he was checking to make sure she was ok.

Nicole said...

When I lived in this one house, I could never look out the kitchen window at night because there's always be these glowing green eyes in the tree out there. it just freaked me out. I've always wondered what was really out there.

CrystalG said...

I once lived in a house where I saw a little boy standing beside my bed. I had a picture of my nephew sitting in my headboard and I would often come home from work and the picture would be turned face down and everything else would be like it was when I left it.

Meljprincess said...

My whole life would make one hell of a fiction novel.

Tam said...

A little over 16 years ago I was a passenger in a truck with my girls. We stopped for a soda. A woman inside touched my shoulder and told me to take care. That is all she said to me, I thought it was strange. I didn't know her. When we all got back in the truck, back on the hwy. (a country hwy.) no more than 1 mile or less. A small red car coming from the opposite direction makes a turn right in front of us. Now we are going like 55 mph and have no time to slow down. Both car and truck are totaled. I think back to where we got the drinks and I think she knew. She knew something was going to happen.

Jennifer Y. said...

I have a relatively boring life so not much I could say. I have had a few dreams that have come true, but not usually (still waiting on the dream with Johnny Depp to come true...LOL). But nothing major really. Just a few deja vu moments.

I guess if the paranormal was about ghosts or messages from beyond you could use this story (although it was probably just a coincidence). It happened a few years ago. My grandma had just past away after battling cancer and we were leaving the funeral home to go to the cemetery. Well, my mom looked at her cell phone in the car and noticed that she had missed a call at some point in the day. Her caller ID said, "Grandma" because she hadn't changed it yet and we assumed that someone had called from her house at some point. We rode to the cemetery in silence not really giving it another thought. After the graveside service as we got into the car, my dad decided to turn on the radio after the silence became a little too much. Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You" was the first song that came on. We all looked at each other and cried because of the missed call we had seen earlier. Maybe it was coincidence or maybe it was a message from Grandma. Who knows? However, every time I hear that song now I think of her and get chill bumps.

Oh, and there was the time when I was little and on vacation that a man asked me if I wanted to pet his ferret...he actually had a real live ferret tucked in his coat. He made me feel so uncomfortable. I was with my older sister outside and we said no and went and found our parents right away. A couple of weeks after we came home, a woman went missing from the hotel we stayed at and the authorities were looking for the man with the ferret to question. I don't think they ever solved that case. That wasn't really a paranormal experience though...just a "what if" experience.

Amy S. said...

I haven't had anything paranormal happen to me, but my sister and my mom have seen ghosts.

Little Lamb Lost said...

I haven't experienced anything that could be labeled paranormal.

Maureen said...

My husband will talk about someone we haven't seen in years and then they call for no reason, they just started thinking about us.

sharon said...

After my mother died totally unexpectedly I was devastated but I knew that something else was going to happen. Something bad. It did. My aunt, my mother's sister, died 10 days later. This was another shock to the family and it took a good few years until I totally recovered my sanity.

alissa said...

When a close relative was planning her wedding I thought that the timing was poor, but I didn't say anything since it wasn't my business. We were all ordered to arrive mid-week,before the weekend wedding which I knew was wrong, and this was months before the date. What I had thought would happen, did happen. Our arrival days ahead was totally unnecessary and could have been avoided entirely. We were the fools to have been stuck with the entire wedding etc.

ellie said...

After a relative died I was extremely nervous about things. One day after my husband had left the house and been gone too long for a small errand I began to worry and mentioned this out loud to my son. I said that I felt something was wrong. Not long after that my husband called that the car broke down and he needed us to meet him. I felt that immediately

Pamk said...

Nothing out of the ordinary like this has happened to me but I still say to this day that my mom know she was going to passaway. She changed her big life insurance policy to my name a week before she died. My aunt asked her why and she told that she wanted me to go to college and that she wouldn't be around much longer she was 35. She died the day the change went into effect

Brandy said...

I kow this is going to sound weird, but.....I was 16, in H.S. and wan'ted a boyfriend so bad it was sad. I had friends, but wanted someone special in my life. I was telling my Mom about all tis one night and she suggested praying about it. I gave in, didn't think much would come of it, and went to bed. The next evening I was with a group of my girl friends and we decided to go over to one of the girl friends boyfriends house. They wanted the boyfrinds friend there to meet one of thgirls with us. I'm already thinking I'm going to be the 3rd whell (in this case,5th) when we walk in and I see him. Well, I saw his sky blue eyes first.He was ANOTHER friend of a friend who no one in my group knew was going to be there. To make a long story short (I know too late) we went out that weekend, were married 2 years later, now have 2 kids and have been married 13 years. Prayer works.

pearl said...

When my husband wanted to leave for work I said that he shouldn't as he was sick and I was concerned about his long drive. It had been on my mind all night long and I begged him to stay home and rest. He said that he would return home early. On the way to work he had a serious car accident due to his feeling ill. I had a sick feeling about this way before he left.

Lis said...

I've had some odd experiences. Footsteps upstairs when no one's in the house but me. We have a set of halloween lights like Christmas ones, without a blinking bulb that will blink from time to time.
One of the weirdest stories I've heard though comes from my grandma from the 40s. Her and my grandpa were in germany crossing over this old bridge. About middway on the bridge is this woman with a hooded cloak looking over the side as if she's lost something. So they cross the bridge, say hello or whatever and she doesn't answer. My grandpa thinks its a little strange so he goes beside her and asks if she's lost something. still doesn't answer. Taps her shoulder and she turns to face him, but she has no face. Nothing there just the blackness inside the cloak. He and my grandma back away. I guess they asked other people around the village or area they were at, and several others had seen her. That story always gives me chills

PC Cast said...

Love your stories! Thanks all for sharing!

Kathy - Nuada is resurrected by Rhiannon and pulled over to Oklahoma, along with Shannon. It's very gross and scary. You'll see...

ladyvamp - Love the little girl in the dumpster story!

Weird, Bonnie...

Bamabelle - it's so true that women get gut instincts that we're programmed to ignore or downplay. Sounds like you have a good gut to follow.

Katie W. - I've been fascinated by Civil War ghosts for a long time. Actually, I've just sold a paranormal series to Nocturne, and plan on setting at least one of the books in a famously haunted place from that time period.

Carol - I have a good friend who, as a child, was visited by his grandpa several times after he died. He said he found it very comforting.

Nicole - at least it wasn't a floating pig (hello - Amityville Horror!)

Crystal - did you find out the history of the little boy? Who owned the house before y'all moved in?

Tam - Wow. Was everyone okay from the wreck?

Jennifer - I'll bet it was your grandma! And UGH about the ferret man!

Ellie - yet another example of how accurate our intuition can be!

Pam – what an amazing woman your mother was to listen to her intuition and be sure you were taken care of.

Yep Pearl – women’s intuition. Again. Too bad more men don’t take it seriously. For instance, Caesar should have listened to Calpurnia!

Lis – I’d love to know the story behind the faceless woman on the bridge!

Sagittarius Uisce Beatha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sagittarius Uisce Beatha said...

I tend to get "feelings" about people, usually only the kind that warn me to stay away (which is fine by me). I can feel the energy of places, it's like the same “feelings” I get with people but I can get it about buildings and such. Whether it's spirits or just strong energy left behind, I don't know. I also have dream premonitions like the time I dreamt that my sister had a baby girl with a name that began with an "A". Months later we were told that she was pregnant. When she gave birth it was a girl whom she gave a name that began with "A". I didn't tell anybody about the dream until my niece was about 2 months old. Apparently premonitions are a hereditary trait in my maternal family, but it's weak in my mom. I also have intuition which I've learned to listen to. I learned that if I don't, it's not a pleasant thing.

But I had this one experience when I was 12. I was walking home from school and I had a horrible feeling in my gut, like something was horribly wrong. I turned onto my street and suddenly dead leaves started falling on and around me, swirling around me like there was a storm on the way. The problem was that there was hardly any wind with the sun shining brightly and it was May with the trees in full green lushness. I stopped walking and looked up to the sky to see these leaves blow around and on me and it felt like a caress from nature. It was soothing but that more than anything made me think that something was definitely wrong. I arrived home to find out that my grandmother was in the hospital. She died the next morning before I even left the house again. I'll never forget that day and what I feel nature was trying to tell me.

PC Cast said...

Love your entry Sagittarius!

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