Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Leslie Hachtel’s blog, hi, and thanks for clicking!
This week the wonderful Tracey Gee has asked us the following question:
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.
As a child, I used to ‘escape’ into a book, using the printed words as a way to escape the problems of everyday life. I preferred to read about others’ troubles, able to diminish my own worries by comparing them to Frodo’s in Lord of the Rings, or rationalising them when I read Anne Frank’s diary by realising things could be so much worse.
I have no doubt that some of that escapism has spilled over into my writing life. There’s something so lovely about being able to put aside your own fears and thoughts for a while, letting the excitements of a fictional character take over, allowing them to act in a way that perhaps you wouldn’t in real life.
Somehow I’ve always found solving other people’s problems is so much easier than solving my own, and that feeling definitely extends to the characters in my books, too. There’s something quite satisfying about putting your heroine through the ringer, only to see her emerge victorious on the other side, having solved her problems, got her man and found a way to live happily ever after all in one foul swoop.
For example, when I was writing Broken Chords, I truly empathised with the character of Lara, a new mother suffering from Post-Natal depression following her return to work and her rock-star husband’s tour of America. Though I was fortunate enough not to suffer from PND myself, some of my very close friends were, and it was therapeutic being able to share their story, and also try to make the important point that suffering from depression is nothing to be ashamed of.
As well as finding salvation in a story, there’s another therapeutic aspect to writing which I’ve been able to take advantage of. That’s finding pleasure in the craft, from learning new things and experimenting, and being able to sit down and see what you’ve achieved. At my darkest times–and yes, there have been a few–I’ve been lucky enough to gain some confidence from these achievements, to allow them to bolster me when otherwise I’d be very low. In addition to this the community feeling that being a writer can give you, and the support from other writers, readers and bloggers, can also bring a ray of light to bleaker times.
So all in all, I feel very lucky indeed to be a reader and a writer. Books may be inanimate objects–simply paper imprinted with ink–but they’re also responsible for so many good things in my life. For that I’m truly thankful.