"The Writer's Life - Using Personal Experiences in Crafting Your Book" is the topic I'll be covering in a workshop for the Hanover Book Festival on Saturday. I always seem to pull in personal experiences when I'm writing a book. Why not? After all, who can be a better expert on a happening than the person directly involved?
All of my novels have a spark of an actual experience that inspired them. That's especially true of Night Watch, my story set in Trinidad. We traveled to this nation located off of Venezuela a few years ago for a vacation at a resort located on a small off-shore island. The people who met our plane looked a little shady, and as we traveled along a dark road in the middle of the night, I became more and more convinced we were being kidnapped. More and more things happened that added to our adventure that eventually became part of the adventure of the characters in my book.
Even in my novel, Jungle Jeopardy, I found inspiration from my own experiences. We were visiting the Maya Ruins in Palenque when I found a remote temple ruin with no one else around. When I stared in wonder across the vast jungle that stretched far into Guatemala, I was inspired by all that had gone before, by all of the lost structures hidden beneath impossible foliage, by all the secrets that might lie forever lost. I thought of the possibility of one such place that might be uncovered to become a hiding place for a lost treasure.
We are writers. Our imaginations are always humming. That's why it's so much fun to use real life events as parts of the stories we write.
What about you? Do you use personal experiences in crafting your book?