28 July, 2015

RWW Blog Hop - Can't Escape the Past

Every Tuesday, members of RWW get together for a blog hop. We are a terrific support group for fellow Romance Authors and love to share our experiences, and we give/receive help with our writing dilemmas.


I hope you arrived here after having visited with Veronica Forand 

This week, Tracey Gee poses the following:

As we all know, authors put real people and situations into their books. Let's look at the times we've pushed through the pain by putting bad experiences or relationships into our works whether for therapy, or just as a way to close the door.

The minute I read this week's question, it immediately struck me that yes, I do, in fact, inject bits and pieces of me into my characters!

(long, silent pause in shamed reflection)

(then laughs like an idiot at self)  = ) )

I do lean on my past horrors even when I don't want to -- injecting my own pain, suffering, and sadness into my characters. But, isn't that what writing is all about? Sure, some folks today want to get rid of the 'write what you know' mentality, but for me it's easier said than done. You cannot escape yourself no matter how hard you try or how much blunt you smoke, right?

(for the record, I do not smoke weed)  : D

What I haven't done (yet) is take an actual instance of past pain/abuse/neglect and expound on it as a character reference that would explain why he or she behaves as they do in the story.

Not quite up to it in my mind, I don't think.

I've said it before, but my way of story-telling goes beyond the mundane, the reality, and even the obvious to ESCAPE from the horrors of life.

I touch on the fact that shit happened and that's why they are who they are, but I'd rather set them off on a new journey of self exploration or self fulfillment instead.

It's taken a lifetime for me to try and attempt a 'let it go, let it go!' attitude toward me, my past, and those who molded me into the person I am right now. Not sure I've managed to succeed at any of it, but I continue to try and block it out at any rate.

Alcoholism, verbal & mental abuse, being shunned by peers, bullied, ignored, and berated by family/friends/co-workers ... it all tends to show itself in some form or another via my writing, but not to any extent that it would 'help' me or anyone else.

Is that what I want to say? I think so.

My sub-characters are easier to play with than my heroines are, and this is something I've been struggling with and working on for decades. Erasing ME from that equation at every turn.

 I feel as if I succeeded with Kaisa and that Liv behaved confident enough to pass muster, but I just don't know.

When I wrote Sing to Me, I had a definite END in mind, and I felt like I knew Neal like the back of my hand while Liv remained a bit of an enigma throughout. She wasn't me or even who I'd like to be, but I did throw her into the thick of things 'my childhood'. Some of the crap she put up with as a child in that story were reality for me.

Divorce was a death knell to my own existence. The ultimate fail, so to speak. The heartless, self-centered attitudes I had to endure from so-called friends/family during that darkest of periods remains, and I know deep-down that it is why I am still unable to pick myself back up and live life again.

I do not trust, rely on, or believe in anyone anymore. Not even me. I don't believe in family anymore and why I stopped celebrating holidays. I remain heart-sick that my children suffered as much as I did during that time.

It's likely I'll write something that involves divorce and just as likely I'll use my own experiences in that story, too.

Now THAT, my friends, will be a story filled with revenge at its finest.

I get that everyone suffers, everyone goes through a lot of the same issues, and that we all find some way to survive regardless. Some issues are just too painful to dredge up, rehash, and attempt to work out -- even in my writing.

I've yet to figure it out in real life, so I doubt it will help make me or the reader come to terms with any by my writing and their reading about them.

I've never BEEN confident, self-assured, pleased, or even truly in love or loved in return, and so I am not quite sure how to pull those off in fictitious people, but I do try.

I lean on those I know for that information. I know tons of upbeat, reliable, open, and positive folks, so it isn't as if I'm at a complete loss.

So, again, I realize now that my leading ladies tend to think as I do about some things but that she is surrounded by people who HELP. The people she needs around her in order to overcome life's bits and pieces of crap that are randomly tossed our way.

My personal battle with God, religion, the concept of family, and mankind in general is my own, and my constantly wondering as to the WHY of it all is me. I wouldn't dream of creating a character who is entirely like me, though. No one would like them!

My female leads tend to be cautious, wary, suspicious, and overly independent as a coping mechanism, but they handle things tons better than I do in reality, and that's a good thing from a reader's standpoint at least.

in Love Over Time, I chose to shy away from a lot of reality to focus on fantasy instead. I did fall back on an old family belief as the premise, but instead of zeroing in on their pasts and the reasons why they behaved as they did, I concentrated on the love aspect and gave both leads the struggle with and desire to overcome fear of and mistrust in lasting love.

Perry's father mirrored mine, but I just didn't have the heart to delve any deeper into that aspect than I did. For me, it was much easier to accept and move on from the sins of the father (and probably because he died so long ago) than it is for me to let go of, move on from, and rise above anything my mother ever dished out.

Perry probably more reflected me and some of the emotional issues I suffer with now as a result of growing up with that type of a father figure.

Kaisa, on the other hand, was nothing like me at all and didn't reflect anything about me or my past -- aside from our family belief in that dreaded Lithuanian curse thing. 

My lead females are usually at the start of a new beginning, wanting to leave the ugly past behind and venture forth into unknown territory on a lark. The guys they meet are fantastic and ALWAYS sympathetic and understanding. They are men who recognize quality and strength of character and work patiently to help bring out the best in my female leads.

Which is another reflection of me and the types of men I'd love to meet or have in my life.

Thanks for hopping over and reading my response, and thanks to Tracey for making me realize just how much of me actually DOES go into my characters.

Is that a good or a bad thing, I wonder?

The hop began with JJ Devine, so please hop on over and say hello!

Romance Writer's Weekly (RWW) has a website with its own blog, and a newsletter. There is also a Facebook page, and the Twitter handle is @LoveChatWrite.


  1. Powerful post. I can't wait until you do find the time to write that story.

  2. It's a good thing!!!! And for the record I don't smoke weed either. I'm totally allergic.

  3. Sometimes things are just too painful to write about. I like how you know this and then write the start of the new life for your characters. Despite the past your writing is filled with hope.