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Who are your characters REALLY based on?

That’s a question I get frequently – especially from people who know my family. Even the occasional aunt or uncle gives me a knowing side-glance when talking about The Summer of Grace.  My answer is always an angelic smile followed by the words “I just have a terrific imagination.”  Well, this leaves everyone unsatisfied. Why?

Readers desperately crave finding out the “scoop” on characters – things the story did not have time (or willingness) to supply. Family members want the “lowdown” on secrets kept hidden for years. And the writer wants to avoid a lawsuit. I jest, maybe. The writer wants to tell their own, personal, blazing, hair-raising and somewhat damaging story. Yet they will all remain unsatisfied because, you see, truth and the writer have come to an agreement.

In the dark of night, when truth is the only light by which to write, and this truth brings anguish and troubling clarity, there is a struggle. The writer and truth rage, then despair, then smile as they find their way through. And so comes the agreement. Truth can appear in bits and pieces and be satisfied that reality is being presented, and the writer will plumb the depths of their memory, scour the corners of their closely held secrets, linger lovingly on the way things should have been, and fly on the wings of imagination to supply the narrative. And The Summer of Grace is born.

So, who are my characters REALLY based on? I just have a terrific imagination.  I jest, maybe–but Brown Hound is real.  

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