Monday, March 6, 2017

Do You Want to Hear a Story? by Melinda Curtis

If you're an author, chances are you've heard the following when someone learns your secret identity:

Do you want to hear a story?







A few months back, a woman trapped me between the leg press machine and the lat pull-down machine at the gym and told me all about her nasty divorce and subsequent discovery of her true prince charming. I murmured the appropriate condolences and made the appropriate sounds of shared happiness. And when she asked me if I thought it would make a good book, I told her it wasn't the type of story I write, but I encouraged her to write it herself.

Lately, I've had the opposite problem. People in my life have told me NOT to write their stories. My nephew fell in love with a nice girl from Taiwan while doing his graduate studies. When I asked him how they met, he told me he couldn't tell me. "It's private," he said. "Not for your kind of books."

Say what?

A few weeks ago, I visited my kids in Oregon, where they go to school. My son has been in love with a young woman since September, but she has a boyfriend. When I arrived to visit, he had a love bite on his neck! I asked him if he was seeing Jaime and he told me he wasn't seeing anyone. How could I not come right back at him with, "Then that love bite must have come from a big mosquito."

During this same visit, my daughter told me her boyfriend was going to ask Mr. Curtis and I for her hand in marriage. Didn't happen. I got a text message on the drive home from my girl telling me not to make a big deal out of a non-event. "I don't want to see this in one of your books, Mom, because his mom reads your books."

I think I should be offended. More likely, I'll just laugh it off. I'd love to hear your tales of sworn secrecy or being snubbed on information (like how someone met).
Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her latest releases are on pre-order: Frankly, my dear...Creating Unforgettable Characters (3/21), Love, Special Delivery (4/4, a Harmony Valley novel), and A Kiss is Just a Kiss (Summer Bridesmaids, book 1, 4/27).


15 comments:

  1. Up until my first book was published, only close family knew that I was a writer. Now I have people telling me what I should write and if I'd write about something they've experienced. So far, no one has withheld information from me out of fear it will end up in a future story. So, did your daughter get engaged? I won't write about it. :)

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  2. Your post had me smiling, Melinda, but I haven't experienced either extreme. I'm interested to see how other authors respond.

    Like Jill, I'm curious, too. Is your daughter engaged . . . and, if so, with all your bridesmaid-themed books, will the wedding or elements of it make it into a book?! ;)

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  3. These are funny stories, Melinda! I have had people tell me "great ideas" for a book and respond just as you did. My daughters have warned me sometimes not to reveal their news to others via the family grapevine. But I do like that your daughter's boyfriend's mother reads your books! Hmmm. What if.........

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  4. That's funny, I am not an author and can keep secrets so I don't think I have ever been snubbed for info. 😀

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  5. Toooo funny. I've had people tell me I should write their story. And then I've had people tell me to write a story involving pickleball, but "I better not see me in it." Makes me chuckle.

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  6. I mostly have people trying to find themselves in my stories--like their appearance, for example. One of my friends thought she spotted herself, and I had to admit that that character was based on a celebrity, BUT, I did base a future heroine on her. I just wasn't going to say anything, because it seemed like overstepping. But she loved it! So... phew! :)

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  7. Thanks for the giggle this morning, Mel! Too funny that your kids censor the information they share with you. I have the opposite problem. People love to tell me things and then say, "That would make a great story for your next book!" Usually it's something that has absolutely nothing to do with romance or a happy ever after. I get that drama is interesting but not all drama is a good for a romance novel!

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  8. I love to eavesdrop on total strangers and sometimes pick up story-ideas that way. I have old friends from school who are sure they see other friends in my books, but I tell them I'm careful to not put any known person in my work. Maybe they see things I don't. And I have had people ask me to write their stories. I pretty much do what you did, say they should write it and that I have to promise my publisher that my stories are fiction. That usually lets them not ask again.

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  9. Thanks for the giggle this morning! I've never let any family or close friends read my stories until recently and they've all read my new book trying to find similarities between themselves and characters in the story. I've heard some pretty far fetched connections. I can't wait until one of them asks me to write their story! I wouldn't be able to of course, but telling them to write it is such a great idea!

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  10. Melinda, thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning. This stuff with your kids is hilarious. I've never had a friend or family member tell NOT to write anything they've shared with me in a book (yet). But it's surprising how often people share anecdotes they think I SHOULD put in a book. Usually I'm standing there thinking that they've obviously never read one of my books because what they've told me isn't anywhere near suitable for a romance novel. I often respond the same way as you by suggesting they write the story themselves.

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  11. So funny. My kids have never been big sharers anyway, so I assume they'd never let me use one of their stories, although one character gets a few characteristics from one of them. I'm not saying who. They're also both low-drama, so their stories would lack conflict. And I too want to know your daughter's engagement status.

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  12. OMG, this is so funny. I have had a couple of people want me to write their stories...mostly their life stories, but yeah. Moving on, LOL. I love that your kids think you'd steal from their lives, LOL. Thanks for the good start to the week. <3

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  13. I don't have family members with off-limits stories, but if I'm talking to someone, family or not, and like something they've said or they tell me about an event in their life that I can spin into my story, I always ask permission if I can use it. Most times they're thrilled at the idea of some part of their life in a book.

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  14. My problem is the opposite. EVERYONE wants me to write their story. And no one understands that my mind doesn't work that way. And like you, I tell them to write the story themselves. :-)

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  15. That is funny! When I wrote a humor column for the newspaper, my kids did get a little irritated because of what they referred to as my embellishment of the truth. Pat's right, though--people do want you to tell their stories.

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