Welcome Wednesday – Art Imitates Life

Welcome Wednesday – Art Imitates Life

Welcome to this week’s edition of Welcome Wednesdays!

For any author, or really any creator of any kind of art, bits of your real life can’t help but find their way into your creations.  So, this week, the question is: tell us about something from your life that has shown up in one of your books.

It can be a character modeled after someone you know, or a location based on somewhere you once lived or worked, or a happy/funny/annoying/terrifying incident that you fictionalized for a scene in a book.  Tell us about it, give us an excerpt, if it makes sense, and be sure to provide a link so we can read more about it, and you!


I’ll begin:

Several years ago, I went on a trip with Earthwatch.  They sponsor scientific projects all over the world, and regular folks can volunteer and spend a couple of weeks working on them.  In my case, the project was an archaeological dig on the island of Mallorca, Spain.  It was an amazing experience, and I’ve used it – and the man who ran the project – in several books.  “Professor Welldon” (William Waldren, in real life) and his dig appear in BETTY & HOWARD’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and then he shows up again in FINDERS KEEPERS and we’ll see him again in future…

Here’s our introduction to him in FINDERS KEEPERS

Jane walked into the Middle Common Room and spotted Professor Welldon immediately.  He was settled in a plush armchair, deeply engrossed in a book.  She couldn’t help but smile; her advisor was always “deeply engrossed” in whatever he happened to be doing at the moment.  The man had more energy than anyone else Jane had ever met, and he was able to focus it like a laser beam on who or whatever was in front of him.

Jane went over and sat in the next chair, wondering how long it would take for Professor Welldon – she couldn’t bring herself to call him Bill, no matter how often he asked – to notice her.

The answer was: until he reached the end of the chapter he was reading, about ten minutes.  Her advisor put the book down and grinned at her.  “Right on time!”  Jane didn’t bother to point out that when she’d gotten here ten minutes ago, she was already ten minutes late; she’d learned the first week of term that Professor Welldon didn’t set much store by the clock.




Now it’s your turn!

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6 Replies to “Welcome Wednesday – Art Imitates Life”

  1. Thanks for this opportunity, James! I like to use real settings in my novels. In HEARTS UNLOCHED, my setting is Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., a real place with a lake that’s really called a “loch,” just like Loch Ness. No sea monster, but a sinister history nonetheless. It’s rumored that the Mafia used Loch Sheldrake as a dumping ground for their victims back in the day. The urban legend inspired the book, and here’s an excerpt:

    Furrows appeared between Marco’s dark eyebrows, and he leaned closer to her. “I’ve heard the rumor. The one claiming Loch Sheldrake is chock-full of sunken corpses, victims of mob killings.” He drew in a deep breath and raked a hand through his hair. He stared straight ahead at the wooden back of the empty booth opposite them. “That’s all I need,” he mumbled, “is for a skeleton—or two—to show up in the walls or under the floorboards during the renovation.”
    “I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Kate murmured. “I’m quite certain the bodies are on the bottom of the Loch.”

    Hearts Unloched
    Book Trailer

  2. Thank you for the opportunity!
    My latest release, UKULELE MURDER features an obsession of mine for ukuleles. I took a class at the local music store and started playing a few years ago. I’m okay – not great. But I only play for myself so it’s fine. Once I started this hobby, a cousin brought me a ukulele that my grandfather played – I never knew! So, now I’ve written a book about a character – Nani Johnson – who moves from Kansas to Kauai to pursue her dream of being a ukulele virtuoso. Here’s a taste:

    If anyone requests “Ukulele Lady,” I’m out of here. I’m not going to do it. Not again. Not for the millionth time. Is that the only song tourists know? Yeesh. Please, tiki god of the Ukulele, don’t let me kill a tourist today.

    “‘Ukulele Lady!'” a dumpy, middle-aged man in a Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt screams.

    He gives me a knowing nod with his balding head to indicate he’s the only one in the room who knows true Hawaiian culture.
    I hate him. I imagine bludgeoning him with my koa wood uke.

    But I don’t. Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of koa wood? Well…I don’t know either, but I’d guess it isn’t easy.

    Instead, I play the damn song—smiling as I imagine shoving his pineapple drink up his…
    The crowd cheers as I perform. I know—it’s not so bad having an adoring audience. But this isn’t the audience I want. This is Judah Horowitz’s bar mitzvah. One of the few gigs I could get in Aloha Lagoon.

    UKULELE MURDER is on sale for only 99c

  3. Thanks, James, for this opportunity. I worked ten years at a local cemetery/crematory. I took a lot of liberty and used my background in the field to create Kyra Russell, the superintendent of the cemetery. Years ago when I worked there I thought it would make a good setting for a novel. How do we know what’s inside the coffin when we place it in the chamber? We sign for it and accept as is the box. It is the undertaker’s responsibility to make sure all is in order.
    Thus Burn in Hell formed in my head. On the day Kyra agrees to burn bodies for the mob, she meets and starts dating Lt. Jake Carrington. A one night stand turns into more than either had planned.
    He normally didn’t go for redheads, but this one…Yeah, he’d have to give her a try. Realizing he’d held her hand just a little too long, he dropped it.
    “You’re Dina’s boss. I thought you worked at the cemetery, Dina?” He turned, looking back at Dina.
    “I do.”
    “Oh, what do you do there, Kyra?” He turned back to her.
    “This is normally a conversation stopper…oh well. I cremate people for a living.”
    “Seriously?” He stared into her eyes, waiting for the punch line.
    “Seriously.” She smiled.
    “Interesting.” Jake scratched his chest.
    He reached behind the bar and poured himself a glass of bourbon. For the life of him he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
    “What do you do, Jake?” Kyra asked.
    “I’m a cop. A homicide cop.”
    “Interesting,” Kyra said.
    Jake started laughing. “I asked for that one.”
    “You did,” Kyra responded.
    “You look a little nervous Kyra, don’t like cops?” he joked.
    “I have no problem with them, actually never thought about it.”
    “Ouch.” Jake frowned. He had a live one here, but she was hiding something. Jake never ignored his gut, it’s what kept him alive. Trying to camouflage it, he thought it would be interesting to find out her secrets. He smiled inwardly.
    “Sorry, I’m told I can be a bit abrasive.”
    “Yeah? Who told you that?”
    “My soon-to-be ex-husband.”
    Another conversation stopper, Jake thought. The three of them stood there in an awkward silence.
    Jake broke the silence. “Who wanted the divorce?” Both women looked at him like he had a third eye. Oops, wrong question.
    “He did, but it’s mutual.”
    She offered no more. He really should move on, say hi to the guys. Kyra held his attention, few had since Mia.
    “Kyra—Gaelic isn’t it?”
    “Yes. My name warns you, in case you couldn’t tell by the red hair and freckles, I’m Irish.”
    Laughing, he said, “Me too.”
    “You don’t take no shit from anyone.”

  4. Thanks for hosting James!
    Mine is short. But, in Welcome to Sortilege Falls, the main character moves from Virginia to Missouri. I did that move when I was in my early twenties. Sortilege Falls is loosely based on Joplin, where I lived for five months.

    In a second parallel: I moved from one part of VA to another during my fifth grade year. I really thought I’d get to the new school and would make friends easily. That was not the case. It was a really difficult transition and Grape’s experiences are partially based on my own.

  5. I recently wrote a post on this topic: What We Really Found: The Murder That Inspired a Novel

    I like to say that for a writer, everything is research…. You never know when experiences like these might be useful in writing a novel. Or in some cases, an experience might inspire the whole story. That happened a few years ago, on what started out as an ordinary day….”

    What We Found

    Two friends and I were exploring the mountains, looking for some suitable gravel to try gold panning (because, why not?). We found a likely spot and were about to take a sample when the guys smelled something horrible. A glance in the right direction showed them a dead body hidden just out of sight of the path.

    Read the whole thing here:


  6. Thanks for the opportunity to write on this blog!

    For some time, I wrote romances in my books which started within the plot. But because of living in very happy relationship for many years, I decided to bring this into a series – Jazmin & Ethan. They are a happy couple, who face some hardship during the stories, but always keep that relationship going with love, trust, and strength to overcome difficulties.
    The series can be found here:
    Have a great time!

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