Daddy's Christmas Angel

Thursday, January 18, 2018

How Much of Me Is In My Writing?

How much of me is in my writing? That's a good question for Week 3 of, a blog challenge by Marketing for Romance Writers.

Since I am a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, I must first consider this from two angles. A good non-fiction writer will try not to put her own considerations and biases into a news story or feature article. Obviously, she must want the news to be the truth. A travel article, often written in the first person, will be different, and an author can give her opinion, which is expected.

However, as an author, I am most concerned now with fiction-writing. As I work on a novel, I know a great deal comes from my own personal experiences, embellished by my imagination when I think, "what if?" In my novel, Night Watch, much of what happens in the story actually happened to me when we arrived late at night in the airport in Trinidad. Our journey became an adventure when I thought we might actually be in danger as we were transported by strangers to an offshore island. Much of the story I tell through the eyes of my heroine occurred as we traveled in remote areas of the island nation where in many places I did not even speak their language.

When I write fiction, I use settings where I have been. Some are fictitious locations such as Jefferson City or Jefferson Point in Virginia where I set my novels, Daddy's Christmas Angel and Evening of the Dragonfly. Others, like Hearts Across Forever, are set in places we have visited, often many times.

"Rose Hall Great House" pastel painting ©Mary Montague Sikes
Jamaica, the setting for Hearts Across Forever, is an island we have visited more than a dozen times. It is a place where I have painted many beautiful scenes. Rose Hall Great House is part of the setting for my reincarnation story. My visits to Rose Hall where I learned about the "White Witch of Rose Hall" inspired this story.

I suppose the novel, Jungle Beat, an Indiana Jones-type adventure, has less of me in it than some of my other books. Even so, my visits to Mayan ruins in Central America, had great influence on the story.

How much of me is in my writing? I guess I have to say, " a lot".

What about you? Do you feel sometimes you are writing about yourself?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You are fortunate that you've had so many adventures that you can write from personal experience.
Very little of me goes into my writing. I might have a couple traits in common with my main characters, but they are not me and I've not gone through what they do.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

You have a great imagination, Alex!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Taken to an offshore island by strangers sounds scary.

I've been to almost all of the places in my fiction books and some of the incidents were from personal experience. I know there is a little bit of me in each character, too.

Molly Daniels said...

I really need to fictionalize the disastrous airplane trip we took to Ottowa back in 2004...I was never so happy to arrive at my destination!

Stephanie Ingram said...

All your travels must offer great inspiration for your stories!

Helen Henderson said...

I'd love to travel like you do. Alas, I have to research my settings another way. Color me green.

Ed Hoornaert said...

As a "stick person" level artist, I'm impressed with your painting of the house you used as a setting. There's gotta be a bookcover lurking somewhere in your brushes!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Your painting is beautiful. I'm going to check out Hearts Across Forever. I love reincarnation stories.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - your imagination, together with your artistic skills in various talented ways opens up so many doors for you ... I loved the idea of your Jungle Beat stories - having seen your art work for them. That offshore island rescue ... sounds very scary ... I guess we all write as we feel (to a point) - cheers Hilary

Unknown said...

Wow your painting is just gorgeous :) Do you do your own covers?

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Diane Wolfe. Yes, Trinidad was quite an adventure. I suspect, whether they know it or not, there's a bit of every author in his/her books.

Molly, that sounds like a story.

Stephanie, thanks for visiting. They do.

Helen, I've been fortunate to travel so much.

Ed, thank you. Yes, many of the covers of my books feature my artwork or photographs.

Linda, thank you. I, too, adore reincarnation stories.

Hilary, thank you for your comments. I love using my imagination.

Kim, thank you. Yes, I do the cover art for many. My publishers have cover artists who put them together.