Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Am the Machine


One of questions I get asked most often is how much of me is in my writing.  Let’s ignore the obvious answer of everything is me since it’s a product of my imagination.

We’ll start with the house in The World In-between where Berty first meets Silvia.  The magical Victorian at 727 Oak Street is nowhere near an exact replica of any house in which I have lived or currently live.  Instead, it encompasses all my favorite old house details.  The back stairs, stained glass door, and deep porch are similar to the old house in which I live.  The wood paneling, the beveled glass inner doors, and intact gaslights are additions that give that house its own character.  The best thing about 727 Oak Street, though, has to be the magic.

In the series, Berty has an affinity with coffee.  Okay, perhaps it might be more than a simple affinity.  He may need it to start his day most days.  This love of two mugs of morning coffee is something Berty taught me.  However, I have always loved freshly ground beans brewed in a French press.

Berty also seems to have my distaste for white chocolate in Bow of the Moon.  And, we have similar writing backgrounds.  Prior to writing novels, I waded in the world of journalism.  While I still write the occasional press release, I prefer writing fiction.  Later in Bow of the Moon, Berty admits to taking French and forgetting most of it.  Je regrette.

Delyth’s long curly hair reminds me of the days when my hair cascaded down to the middle of my back, but hers is much better behaved.  We also share a proclivity for history and a penchant for shoes.

I scatter my experiences in bits and pieces.  A couple of Berty’s flashbacks are windows to my past.  The winter driving scene marries a few of my teenage driving experiences into one.  My own college graduation inspired the background for his graduation scene.  Hope’s new school is loosely based physically and structurally on a school I attended.  Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that I know firsthand how Hope feels in a few scenes.

Even some of the smaller details have flecks of me.  The squeaky swing set heard in the distance is a sound of childhood summers.  The mine carts ridden in multiple books are a token of my fondness for old wooden rollercoasters. 

The most extensive setting in the series is the forest.  Nestled in the forested mountains is where I feel the most at peace, the most at home.  The four seasons weave throughout the series in a familiar manner—cold, snowy winters, wet springs, warm, leafy summers, and colorful autumns.

Magic, to me, is seen in the everyday.  Myths and legends started with kernels of truths.  Why shouldn’t magic live in the forest, dancing between the trees?  Why wouldn’t these truths reside just out of sight, just beyond our reach?  All these stories are me and these little bits are the cogs that keep the machine moving.