The other day, someone asked my mom if she’s a terrible cook.
The question caught her off guard, and it took her a moment to realize the person was referring to the first chapter in Making Waves. In it, my heroine’s mother is casually assembling the world’s most disgusting Jell-O salad. It’s intended for comic relief, and not autobiographical in any way.
For the record, my mother is an excellent cook.
But it did get me thinking. There are plenty of people who’ll read my books and look for nuggets of my real life in there. In most cases, they’ll be barking up the wrong tree.
Then again, I’m sometimes surprised at what slips in unexpectedly (um, no pun intended. Oh, what the hell – it’s totally intended).
Not long ago, someone I don’t know well read an early draft of Believe it or Not, the book now scheduled as my second release.
“So you have a hand fetish, huh?” he asked when he’d finished.
“A hand fetish,” he repeated. “It’s totally obvious you’re obsessed with men’s hands.”
And dammit all to hell if he wasn’t right.
I hadn’t realized how thoroughly I’d revealed myself until he pointed it out, but there it was for all the world to see. Yes, I will admit it – I am driven to the brink of lust-fueled insanity by a great pair of hands.
Another time, one of my critique partners picked up on an unexpected pattern. “Do you realize at least four books you’ve written have sexually-charged scenes taking place in or near a shower?”
I went back and looked, and sure enough, there they were – a makeout scene that starts with two characters inspecting mold on a shower curtain, a phone sex scene when the heroine answers a call in the middle of showering, an actual sex scene on a bathroom counter, and of course, the much-buzzed-about shower scene in Making Waves (the only one of those aforementioned books currently out there for public consumption).
The whole thing made me wonder. Do I have a thing for showers? Should I seek clinical help, or just install some sturdy handrails and a skid-proof shower floor?
I’m not sure about the answer to any of those questions, but I’m not too worried about it. While I do follow the old adage to “write what you know,” that’s certainly not all I write. That would either be really boring or grounds for arrest.
How much reality slips into your writing? Does the line tend to blur? Do you worry that people will think something’s autobiographical when it isn’t (or recognize it is when it is?) Please share!
I’ve got a sudden urge to find someone with really great hands and make a beeline for the shower. What? It’s research.