I had an idea in my head about the story I wanted to tell. I wasn't certain of the entire story, but I thought, naively, I would write and the story would take shape. I knew I wanted it to be a romance novel and my main characters were going to be 59 and 62 years old, as opposed to the endless stories about 20-30 year-olds.
I really felt God telling me to write so that individuals in the 55+ age bracket would realize they aren't dead yet. My characters are vibrant, healthy, sexual beings who live life to the fullest.
The first novel, Bring A Cowboy Home, was written in two weeks. I couldn't leave my characters there, so I wrote the second in the series; Riding With A Cowboy. I am writing the third in the series now. (I've been told 'series' need to be comprised of at least 3 books.)
I'm not writing this post to advertise the books (well, maybe, just a bit) but to express the personal journey it has led me on.
I heard other authors say many times about becoming attached to your characters but I didn't put much stock in it. After all, they were fictional people; they didn't really exist in this world.
I have to say I have become so involved in my characters' lives, I hurt when they hurt; I cry when they're sad, I laugh when things in their lives are funny. I enjoy their friendships, I become stressed when they are experiencing some sort of dilemma and I miss them if I don't write about them for a few days.
I realize you are getting ready to call the people in the white coats to come get me and I understand completely.
I don't know how to write fiction or non-fiction without putting pieces of 'me' in the story. When people read my book about my special needs daughter, many of them told me they heard my voice and felt as though I was sitting across the table from them and saying the words.
I believe I have interjected myself into these fiction books also. I have not lived in Chicago nor Texas. I have not owned a hugely successful business and I'm definitely not wealthy...but, many of my main female character's reactions and feelings are mine. I didn't realize that when I was putting words on the computer but when I would re-read what I had written, I recognized myself.
Then came the introspection; did I want someone to come along and be willing to take care of me? Would it be nice to have someone else help make decisions and not always be the sole person responsible for everything? Could I love someone enough to be willing to give up some of that control I've had to have for MANY years?
Without telling you the story and ruining it for you, I can't tell you what Lucy's (my female character) answers are to these questions, but I can tell you this fiction writing has taken me on a personal journey I didn't even realize I wanted to take.
If you want to know more about yourself, write something...it doesn't have to ever see the light of day or be shared with anyone, but make it something you are passionate about and you will discover some truths about yourself, I promise.