It's no secret that I put different aspects of my own personality, history, and self into my characters. For example, Kennedy's college experiences closely mirror my own (minus the constant danger and life-threatening situations, thankfully).
Sometimes I intentionally draw on my own experiences, like I when I set my romantic suspense novel Identity Theft in the same part of Alaska where my husband and I lived ten years ago. But often, I don't notice the similarities until the story is complete and I go back and reread what I wrote.
Let me tell you, sometimes my subconscious surprises me.
For example, Identity Theft is about a city girl from the East Coast forced to live in a little town with 400 residents out in the middle of nowhere, Alaska. Since it's romantic suspense, there's lots of danger, but when she's not running for her life, Lacy spends a decent amount of her time complaining about rural living.
What I didn't realize until months later was that like Lacy, I had just moved from the city (Anchorage) to a town about the size of the one Lacy finds herself in. I didn't complain nearly as loudly as she did, but I discovered that my novel was my subconscious's way of working out my own feelings about our move.
Many readers know me as an "issues" author. In other words, I like to explore different controversies or questions in my novels. Most of the time, these are the issues I'm mulling over myself, so in that sense, it's obvious why they end up in my books.
I think you can learn a lot about different authors and their personalities/dreams/etc. by paying attention to recurring themes in their novels. I'm not just talking about the surface things either. (You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to browse my book descriptions and conclude I have a passion for Christian persecution and religious freedom.)
Some of these recurring themes are far more complex and so personal I don't really want to spell them out right here for the whole world to see. As one of the not-so-embarrassing examples (but still difficult to express publicly), I didn't realize until I was deep into Kennedy book 4 that Reuben, her best friend and lab partner during her freshman year at Harvard, was a conglomeration of the three different guys I either dated or had crushes on during my own college days.
In addition to recurring themes are recurring characters -- people with similar personalities who seem to show up in more than one of my books. For example, if you've met Grandma Lucy yet in any of my novels, you might recognize the same bold and confident faith with a hint of the supernatural that you find in the Old Woman (from The Beloved Daughter) or the blind lady who gives Woong his blessing in Flower Swallow.
If you want to see another example of one of my recurring characters, stay posted for this week's Christian Fiction Friday post where I'll share snippets of one common personality type that has made it into every one of my series to date.
Categories: Behind the Scenes