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Put Yourself into Your Books with Cathy Tully
Posted By Carrie Spencer On June 2, 2014 @ 12:22 am In Characterization,Craft of Writing | 4 Comments
Welcome to a first-time poster on RU, author Cathy Tully. Today Cathy’s going to tell us how she puts a little of herself into each and every book she writes.
I’ve been writing for almost fifteen years and I’m a firm believer in constantly honing my skills by attending workshops and conferences for writers. Not only do you make friends you will have for the rest of your life, but you learn important skills to perfect your craft.
A few years ago I listened to a woman speak at one of the writer’s conferences I attend every year. This author had twenty plus books published so I figured there must be something I could take away from her talk and put to use. Guess what? There was…
She encouraged our group to think about how our hero/heroine might become more relatable–more three-dimensional–and how it would be easier for your reader to sympathize with them if they were as close to real as real could get. The speaker suggested putting a piece of yourself into every book you write. At first I didn’t get it. So I let the idea fester awhile.
The workshop lasted about forty-five minutes and when I left I couldn’t get the speakers suggestions out of my head. So I sat down with my laptop and thought more about what the speaker had said and something clicked. It was my light bulb moment. So, I took her advice and incorporated a part of who I am into my next book, and like they say, the rest is history : )
My first book, All You Need Is Love features, Little Man, our family dog, who we lost to illness. Little Man was full of love and life and filled nine years with tender moments we will always hold close to our hearts. Dedicating this book to him was the biggest tribute I can pay him, and I’m pleased to say his cuteness jumps off every page.
I love dogs, I always have, and through no planning of my own, a dog seems to pop up into every book I write. In my mind, dogs are better than human secondary characters because they make people vulnerable without saying a word. We’re allowed to be our true selves around them without any judgment; and their unconditional love brightens even the darkest day.
People relate to animals on a completely different level than they to do humans. By using a dog in a book, it allows me to show a side of the character interacting with the dog, to the reader that they might not have seen at all. So I used the dog we loved for nine years in All You Need Is Love, and my reviews have shown that my theory was right : )
Marrying Mr. Right, my first novella with The Wild Rose Press, has a heroine, Missy Modesto, who is similar to a good friend I’ve known my whole life. Missy is a strong woman with a heart of gold and although years may pass between visits, when we do meet, it feels like only yesterday : ) Using Missy as the heroine in this novella made the story easy to write. And of course, adding a lovable dog to the mix only made it more fun.
Training Travis, my new contemporary romance, is about a divorced dad who gains custody of his fifteen-year-old daughter after his ex-wife’s untimely death. And even though I can’t personally relate to being divorced, I am the mother of two girls, so I can relate to Travis’ fifteen year old daughter and the mood swings of a teenage girl : )
My work in progress is a woman’s fiction about a menopausal mother of two; a substitute teacher who wants a real career of her own. So begins her journey into interior design : ) My old stomping grounds twenty years ago. Putting a part of myself and my life into my stories enriches the reader’s experience because the characters seem to come alive and jump off the page.
I’ve gotten great feedback on my characters and their journeys, and I can’t help but feel it is because I took that writer’s advice so many years ago and put part of myself into every book I write.
If you’re a writer, try putting ‘a type’ of someone you know into one of your stories. Or give your hero/heroine a career you’ve been in, and I guarantee it will not only be fun for you as a writer, but your reader will love it too : )
What little bit of yourself do YOU put in your stories?
Join us on Wednesday for Handsome Hansel
Bio: Cathy Tully has been writing contemporary romance, sweet romance and women’s fiction for twelve years. A member of RWA and LSFW, Cathy believes in continually honing her craft. She is a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and loves the sense of independence and self-confidence it gives her. Cathy lives in central New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.
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