Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Merge of Truth and Fiction

There are times when the phrase ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ comes in handy.

There’s something true in each of my books. Not historical fact. I’m talking something that’s either happened to myself or to a friend. I always changed the names to protect the guilty. Plus throwing in things that interest me and I always hope they'll pique my readers' interest too.

Naturally, some stand out in my mind more than others, so I thought I’d mention the ones that do along with books that had my critters in them.

My first book, Silhouette Romance, Dancer in the Shadows came about due to the ballet class a friend and I were taking at the time. Naturally, I used Diane as the template for my heroine. Seemed only fair since we’d been friends since high school.

Diane’s and my adventures showed up again in another Silhouette Romance, Bright Tomorrow, where I used our trip to a psychic. Let me tell you that was one crazy night in a tiny Laguna Beach house with its red door.

My Silhouette Special Edition, Island Rogue came about after a trip to Hawaii and taking a cocktail cruise off Diamond Head. Ironic part was that the hostess on the yawl was in the Coast Guard and her husband stationed on the cutter my husband had been stationed on. With that it was easy to imagine a single mom heroine with the same kind of job and a cockatoo named Syd who fell in love with the hero.

Another Silhouette Special Edition, Business As Usual, featured a lively cockatiel named Shadow in it. The hero (Fabio was the hero on the cover even if it didn’t look like him) and heroine had a custody battle over the feathered critter. I named him Shadow after Dancer in the Shadows and he was a total sweetie. He whistled the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and loved chattering away. He was my first bird but not my last.

I pulled a scene from my dating years in my Silhouette Special Edition, A World of Their Own. My husband and I met while working in a Sears catalog store. One night, we were saying good night in the parking lot when a police helicopter hovered overhead and ‘suggested’ we move along. Embarrassing! And worked pretty well in the book, although I made it a lot sexier than the true episode.

I created some twists in my Dell Candlelight Supreme, Caution – Man at Work. My husband and I taught pre-school church then and one of our students was a fun loving little girl who may have dressed in ruffles and had curls, but she gave her brothers a run for their money. Her mother provided stories of her escapades that could have fueled a lot of books. There was so much I created twin boys getting into mega trouble. Nowadays, I would have kept it as the girl. Who knows, perhaps I still will. I still have a lot of her stories.

My Dell Candlelight Ecstasy Romance, All A Man Could Want, came from meeting a celebrity lookalike, who unfortunately was a total jerk, but still gave me some good ideas for my hero. Namely what he wouldn’t act like!

Another Dell Candlelight Ecstasy, Birds of a Feather, featured a parrot behaviorist based on my good friend Chris Davis aka The Bird Lady. Chris came into my life to teach my Panama Nape Syd manners. That was in 1983 and Syd still hasn’t forgiven his Auntie Chris. Syd was in the book along with some of Chris’s birds.

I used a friend’s injury in my Harlequin American Romance, He’s A Rebel. A friend of mine’s husband suffered a dislocated shoulder from inline skating, and well, the wacky results of drugs were just too good to pass up. Except instead of using it for the hero, I decided it was the heroine who would end up loopy from pain meds. My terri-poo, Cocoa, and Chihuahua/Yorkie, Bogie, also ‘starred’ in the book. I even used some of their quirks.

One of my favorite books is O'Malley's Quest. It would be tagged 'if Indiana Jones had a granddaughter'. It came about after a trip to Arizona. I'd always been intrigued by the story of the Lost Dutchman mine in the Superstition Mountains. I decided it was more fun to make the heroine the archeologist looking for adventure, but that doesn't mean there's not a sexy hero in there too.

Naughty ‘N Nice, another Harlequin American Romance, featured same friend’s husband. What can I say? He gives me such good fodder! This time was due to a demented treadmill. To this day no one knows what he did to cause the treadmill to literally throw him off. My husband couldn’t believe I did that and asked how I could use them. I told him it was easy. Susan said I could.

My Bantam Loveswept, O’Hara Vs Wilder, uses a friend’s speeding ticket. Funny thing is, she’s another author and when she related this tale to me I begged to use it. Luckily, she shared. Even the dialogue during heroine writing out the ticket and sexy hero is very similar to what the CHP said to her, but without the sexy parts. :}

I used my love for Warner Brothers cartoons in my Harlequin American Romance, Mommy Heiress, when a little girl describes a cartoon titled Corny Concerto. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to. What can I say? I’m still a kid at heart.

Harlequin American Romance, Sometimes A Lady, was easy to use critters since the heroine was a veterinarian. Florence, our tortoise, was in there, her habit of snoring during hibernation and all. Along with birds and dogs.

Harlequin American Romances, Two Little Secrets and Single Kid Seeks Dad, had a big time scary cat named Luther in the book. Luther was actually Elvis, an evil cat that lived next door. Trust me, the cat was scary. He hung out in the garage, activated the garage door opener when he shouldn’t and even the kids wouldn’t go out in the garage alone because “Elvis is out there!” He loved stalking people and some of us probably bear the scars. Insane kitty but we all miss him.

I used Bogie again in 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover and Wicked By Any Other Name. My little guy had a habit of gliding across the floors. I called him a tiny thoroughbred, so it was easy to give him the gift of floating.

There are scenes that come to mind, but I don’t remember what books they were in. Such as a date where movie theater seats broke and heroine’s legs ended up in the air. Single friends provide the best date stories!

I’ve used my love for chocolate, coffee, and even provided recipes in some of my books. Shared some of my interests and found new ones along the way.

What’s been fun along the way is when readers try to guess the real scene in the books. Sometimes they’re way off and a few are correct.

That’s what I’ve always wanted to do all along. Have fun with my books and I hope my readers have fun too.

And what’s more fun than slipping something true into a fiction book?

Many of these books are available as ebooks now through Amazon, B&N and Smashwords along with More of them will be coming out soon.

I’ve also had readers ask about print copies. If you’ll contact me privately, I do have copies of many of the books still available.



  1. Wow, Linda, this was fun to read. I'm so glad I found the Hex series--and the Demon series.

    I've loved your books for years. A house theft lost or destroyed my entire keeper shelf--yours, Linda Howard, Stephanie James (Jayne Ann Krentz of course) Even my signed copy from Linda Howard. I so miss my books.

    I love ebooks--but I miss my print copies.

  2. That would hurt, Hope! My keeper shelf is special too.

  3. Hee-hee, I just read this. My poor dear husband is a great source of entertainment. Yes, you always have permission to use his stories. And Elvis lives on in infamy.

  4. That's what I told Bob, Susan. Terry's all mine for inspiration. Plus still need to use that infamous bike ride through the orange groves and cows.