Why is that so hard to grasp? When I read a favorite author (Elizabeth Berg comes to mind) it is difficult to imagine that she is not writing about herself. Berg insists she is not her characters but I never believed her – until I wrote Dead Behind The Eyes.
I have been asked numerous times if I am Claudia. I am not. But no one believes me. I have found myself in a few similar circumstances but that is as far as it goes. I have walked in other characters’ shoes from time to time but I’m not any of them, either.
I got a call from someone who declared it was obvious who Sumner Jackson was. I could not convince him otherwise. A week later another call came in from a retired telecommunications employee who claimed he knew Sumner’s true identity. He named someone altogether different. Also wrong. Sumner is Sumner. I made him up.
Truth is, I may have started out having some composites of people in mind and those images might have given me a paragraph or two. But the stories and characters very quickly took on a trajectory of their own and I was just along for the ride.
I’m glad readers feel like they know the characters and can relate to some of their situations. But they are, in fact, fictitious characters presented in a book of fiction. So sue me. On second thought, please don’t. It’s a novel.