One of the things a writer hears a lot is write what you know. That means different things to different people and, depending on how an author interprets it, she may or may not agree with that little tidbit of advice.
I spin it a little differently: Write who you know.
One of things I’ve seen written a lot about the Kowalski family from Exclusively Yours and Undeniably Yours is that they feel like “real” people. That probably stems in part from the fact I know those people. Not literally, of course. That’s never a good idea.
But I’m surrounded by men who work hard and respect their women. They give their brothers crap, but woe to the outsider with a bad word about one of them. I’ve waited my share of tables, as have my sister and my mother and my aunt and my grandmother and…well, you get the picture. I’ve never been to a nightclub and don’t really care to change that, but I’ll sit in a sports bar* and cheer on the Patriots. We laugh a lot, even through the rough stuff. Or maybe especially through the rough stuff. Small town, working-class people are my people. I know how they think. How they talk.
I can hang a profession on my character—make him a bestselling horror author or a former Navy SEAL or whatever the story calls for—but at the core he’s still a small-town, family-orientated guy who’s not afraid to work with his hands.
So I write not what I know, but who I know in the hope characters who feel genuine to me will also ring true for you, the readers.
*Quick tangent: It’s very easy to type sports bra instead of sports bar. You can imagine the typos I had!
So my first job was waiting tables in a café in a VERY small town in Missouri, where I accidentally refilled the sugar dispensers with salt. Trust me, that’ll really wake up a farmer at the butt-crack of dawn. What was your first job? Or your oddest job?
About 10am eastern tomorrow (to let all the time zones play), I’ll draw a random name from the comments to win a copy of either Exclusively Yours or Undeniably Yours.
Shannon Stacey has written romances in a variety of subgenres, but they all have one thing in common—-a happily ever after is guaranteed. She can be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, www.shannonstacey.com and is often spotted running amok on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.