I've been working with my web designer on the series site, and laying out the pages. One of them is called Truth is Stranger than Fiction, and it explains what is real - to me - in Book 1, and the experiences I have drawn from to incorporate in Jude's life.
Writing from life is odd. So many authors, agents, editors and publishers warn against it, but hey, it worked for Anne of Green Gables, right? Seriously, though, I believe that a writer MUST write from - and sometimes of - their experiences. The sense of realism that comes from the real is almost tangible, and if I'm going to read a novel, I want it to be relate-able and convincing. Mrs. Amstad is convincing because she is my high school Drama teacher, Mrs. K-O. Stacy is relate-able because she is an homage to my Stacy. I find Sam alluring in the extreme because he is based (loosely!) on the man I find most alluring: my husband.
That begs the question: am I Jude? Is Jude a Mary Jane and the heroine of my own life story? No, no, and no. Jude and I have a couple of experiences in common, but I am not Jude. Jude has a dark side; no Mary Jane's here! And Lord-willing, she will never be the heroine of my life story because I know what I'm going to put her through in books 2 & 3, and those are things I would never want to deal with. It moves me to tears knowing what she's going to have to face in the next couple years of writing, editing, editing, editing, and publishing, and so I struggle with my own outlines for the books. Odd, really, being god with her life. Odder, still, that I know her well enough to know how she'll react and cope with the things life is going to throw at her, even though they haven't "happened" yet. And she won't react like I would. We're not the same person. She just lives in my brain. ... Multiple personalities, much? Nah. I'm just right-brained. (Wait, are right-brained people the artistic ones, or the logical ones? Because I'm [generally] the artsy-type. Leave it to an artsy-type to have no clue whether the left or right brain controls their artistic tendencies.........)
Anyway, yes, I write from life. I have to. It's my base of experience, my realm of expertise. It can also be a little cathartic, yes, but that's wholly irrelevant. (*wink, wink*) Oh, and...once the series site is up and running - hopefully soon! - here's the link you'll want for the Truth is Stranger than Fiction page, but if it's not up yet, well, hang in there. Lots going on on this end..........................