As writers, we are told write what you know. That’s what most would do anyway because what else are you going to write about? However writing what you know appears to create suspicions you’ve actually written your secret autobiography and the protagonist is your husband. I find this astounding because who in their right mind would do that without simply saying it was a biography? My own experience is writing non-fiction is the easier of the two and I have both a non-fiction and a fiction book on the market.
The protagonist in my book “Footprints in the Frost” is a homicide detective, so some who know me are certain this book is definitely about my former homicide detective husband. I used my mother’s surname for the middle name of my deuteragonist and my maternal grandmother’s maiden name for her last name, so there’s the proof – that character is me! Furthermore, I once owned a bookstore and so does she. The fact that neither of these characters have given names anywhere close to anyone in our families isn’t going to throw them off track. My husband is originally from Kansas, so one person said since two states are in my book, (but are they?) it’s further proof that this absolutely is our personal story.
To top such mounting evidence off, I based the setting of my book on the area where I live and made it similar. I know other authors who do this, as well, and we are quite open about it. However, not a single building I write about in my book actually exists. Nor do the people or even the events. Just like we tell the world on our book covers and ads, it’s all fictitious. The very definition of that word is “having the nature of something imagined or invented.” I actually received an award for my book in the Fiction Book category with the key word in that sentence being FICTION. I occasionally do base some fictional things on situations that have actually happened in my life, but I always fictionalize it and intentionally do it sparingly.
I was recently told that someone bought my book and it’s a hoot because it’s so about my life. Good grief, I hope not! I have a WIP right now (“Snow Angel”) and because of these comments, it’s not going to have a single thing anyone I know will recognize, except for the fact it’s a sequel to “Footprints in the Frost”, so the two main characters and the settings remain intact.
Okay, all you fiction writers out there, share how you name your characters or come up with settings, etc. I know several of you use family names and/or the place where you live. Does this happen to you when you write fiction? How do you answer those who insist your books are autobiographies? I’d love to hear any similar quandaries, too.
Both books are available as trade paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Nook and trade paperback at BarnesandNoble.com.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST can also be purchased at All Romance eBooks at: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-footprintsinthefrost-1990300-152.html. Also available on Apple’s iBooks at: https://itun.es/us/_-X0ab.l and at Hummingbird as an ebook at: http://oaktreebooks.papertrell.com/id003841111/Footprints-in-the-Frost.