Big thanks to U.L. for being here today at The Cajun Book Lady! My question was this: How much of real life do you think authors intertwine into their stories? Do you think that this really DOES make the best story?
From the Author:
It’s an interesting question. How much real life do authors insert into their stories? I can’t speak for all authors but I’ve always been a fan of generalizing and I don’t mind doing it here. So to generalize I’d say most of what an author puts to the page is basically out of real life, and yes it does make for a better story.
To go on with this, let’s quickly define real life as it pertains to being in a story. There is real life based on real life moments of the author and then there is real life based on what an author has heard about or seen. Both are great. Both connect the reader. Both produce meaning to the reader without emotional content, necessarily. Meaning, the reader, simply by recognizing what the moment is feels for the situation. It happens. I had a moment like this in several books I’ve read. Let’s take a look at a popular one. Catcher in the Rye. It was something that Holden’s teacher told him about school. I’ve always had a problem with school so what he said—for me at the time in particular—really hit home. I was stunned. And no, I don’t remember what it was. Here’s another one. The Road. There is this amazingly poignant dialogue between the father and son that is absolutely powerful in a sad way, at least to me. To paraphrase the moment, after his son asks if his father would want to die if he died his father easily says yes he would want to die. Later on I found out that, according to the author, it was a conversation that he really had with his son. I just connected with the scene because, well, I’m a son and I have a dad and I pictured he and myself in that scene. That easy.
In my novel The Flesh Statue Grandpa took the place of my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Most of what is about Grandpa comes from me thinking, what if this would have happened instead of this. Or, this is what I should have been thinking at that time. So I had a mixture of real and unreal.
Sure there are bits of written work out there by well published authors who kind of shy away from the real world. There are writers who are concerned about connecting with readers in the right way and all this rigmarole. Unfortunately they are drawing from the real world as well, only destroying the nature of it to make the real thing less creative, less inspiring and less readable.
About The Book:
Tired of watching his ailing grandfather wither away from Alzheimer’s, 19 year old Langley Jackson moves from his middle class home and subsequently struggles to survive in downtown Long Beach. Here he finds himself part of a social movement bent on destruction and retribution. Through all of this, Langley must decide on trying to subsist in a complicated and unlawful new world of graffiti and poetry or endure in a disheartening old one outlined by the death of his mother and his sick grandfather.
You can visit U.L. Harper at www.ulharper.com