Tag Archive for: mysticism

Character vs Real Life

Sparkle Abbey is hosting guest blogger, Shannon Baker

Today we’re joined by our good friend, Shannon Baker. She’s graciously offered to give away a copy of her latest novel Tattered Legacy. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. (U.S only.) Take it away Shannon!

I never start off a novel to work out my life
issues. I don’t create characters as some form of self-therapy. (Although I
used to have fantasies of torturing a barrel racer and leaving her unable to
speak. But I’m much better now.) Writers come to their books differently, but
for me, I generally find WHAT I want to write about and then populate it with
the most interesting WHO I can make up.

Recently, I got to thinking about my
protagonists, which to this point have all been women. I hate to reveal too
much about my personality, but when I match up what people say about those
characters and what was going on in my life at the time, I can’t help but see
how my sneaky subconscious was working overtime.

A reviewer for my first published book, Ashes of the Red Heifer (gratefully out
of print now) commented, “…
unnecessarily stubborn
and foul mouthed…” and an  “…overbearing,
stronger willed woman than I’ve ever met.”
 (Yes, I know, most writers use pull-lines that
say nice things about the book. I have those, too, but I’m trying to make a
point here.) At a book club one woman, trying to be as gentle as possible,
described her as, “prickly and bossy and not very nice.”

my trying to soften Annie up in revisions, she always kept that hard shell. So,
here’s what was happening in my life: My husband of 15 years was having an
affair (remember that barrel racer I mentioned earlier?) and I had two
daughters in school, in this tiny town, and I was holding every emotion so
tight no one would see me crack. That probably translated to the page, making
Annie tough and hard as granite.

wrote the next book after my family life had substantially improved. My kids
were on their own and I’d found the love of my life. Personally, I felt secure
and happy. But professionally, I was teetering. We’d just moved to Flagstaff
and it took me over a year to find a job. When I did, instead of being in
charge, as I was previously, I had no clout. While I loved the people I worked
with, I felt undervalued by the management.

In Tainted Mountain, the first in the Nora
Abbott mystery series, Nora is all kinds of conflicted. She gives the world the
face of a competent business woman and she’s smart and hard working. Inside,
she’s riddled with insecurities. She waffles back and forth between “hear me
roar” and squeaking in the corner.

In Broken Trust, book two, while I’d taken
a risky job at a start-up, Nora is struggling to take command of her life. By
book three, Tattered Legacy, written
after I’d survived menopause, Nora is full of confidence and action.

not Annie or Nora or any of the other protagonists that came before them. But I
can see where some of my real life transfers to their characters.

are far less subtle ways my real life infiltrates my books. For instance, how
often I kill a philandering husband. And just how many of protagonists wrestle
with mother relationships. Dogs, cats, and even horses find their way onto my
pages. Any aspect of my real life can seep onto the page. But not the sex
scenes. Those are totally made up or derived by watching movies.

you read a novel, do you wonder how much of the story or characters come
straight from the author’s life? 

Remember, Shannon is giving away a copy of Tattered Legacy. For a chance to win, just leave a comment below. Make sure you include your email address.

Shannon Baker is the
author of the Nora Abbott mystery series from 

Midnight Ink. A
fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder.
Shannon is an itinerant writer, which is a nice way of saying she’s confused.
She never knows what time zone she’s in, Timbuck-Three, Nebraska, or
 Denver, or Tucson. Nora Abbott has picked up that location schizophrenia
and travels from Flagstaff in Tainted Mountain, to Boulder in Broken
 and then to Moab in Tattered Legacy.  Shannon
is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 Writer of the
Year. Visit Shannon at 
www.Shannon-Baker.comWhile Tattered Legacy
is available from your favorite online or bookstore, if you’d like to support
indie bookstores, you’re welcome to contact Who Else Books at 
. Ron and Nina are the
best! And they might have a signed copy to send.