Brynn Stein on Real Life in Fiction

My guest today is Brynn Stein, here to talk about her new book Through the Years and how real-life events seem to find their way into our stories.

Thanks Shae, for hosting me today.

I’ve noticed over the years (for fan fiction) and year (for original fiction) that real life likes to creep in.

In Haunted, the fact that Jason kept his journals stuffed in a locked drew in a desk came from real life where my mother had a bazillion journals stuffed in her desk. She insisted that we get them before getting rid of the desk. It was years and years of random thoughts. Not so much a diary as just everyday things. She had grocery lists and reminders of PTA meetings. All sorts of stuff. Jason’s were much more organized and of more import to the story. But the idea came from there.

In Living Again, the trip to the zoo drew from my own trip with my daughters to the zoo. They wore me out running ahead, hollering, “Mommy, look” and then running back to get me and drag me to the next exhibit.

In Through the Years, there are quite a few things taken from real life. I already mentioned, on other blog tour stops, that the prologue came from a real life scene at the hospital, and Luka is based on two different students of mine. But little things like reading Winnie the Pooh to the girls before bed, or living with (or around) alcoholics, crept into the story.

There are some books coming up that have touches of real life in them. In Ray of Sunlight, CJ’s road trip mirrors that of my daughter’s and mine coming back from the beach. We kept seeing signs that could be taken dirty, or made into innuendo and we laughed all the way home. CJ has an even dirtier mind than either my daughter or me, so it’s a funny scene.

In For Mac, Liam and Branson go to see “Rise of the Guardians” because Liam loves all things Chris Pine. In the story, there are three teens sitting in front of them and the five of them collectively are the only people in the theater. My youngest daughter and two of her friends were literally the only people in the theater when they went to see that movie. In the story, the teenagers’ giggles make Branson uncomfortable. When my daughter read that part, she said, “Oh, sorry Branson. This scene is my fault.”

Liam and Branson are also big Isaac Asimov fans, and avid trekkers, as am I in real life. In fact, several of my characters in various stories are Star Trek fans. In a story I’m writing now, Cody is trying to teach Adam “Texas Hold Em” and Adam says it would be easier to learn to play Fisbin. (Go to YouTube and watch the clip from the original Star Trek series where Kirk is making up a card game to provide a distraction. It’s hilarious).

What about you, writers? Do your interests or odd things that have happened to you or your family or friends, make it into your stories? Readers, have you ever read something minor in a story and wondered if it had really happened to the author or someone the author knew?

Comment below to be entered into the raffle.

Here’s how the raffle works:

I’ve listed the tour stops on my website. Feel free to stop by as many as you want. For each stop that you comment on, you will receive one entry to the giveaway. I’ll check all the stops numerous times throughout the tour and will draw five winners on Thanksgiving Day, so even if you come in late to the tour, you can go back through the list and comment on past stops.

I’m giving away five prizes. Prize 1) a signed paperback copy of Through the Years; Prizes 2 and 3) electronic copies of Through the Years, Prize 4) your choice of either a signed paperback copy or an audiobook of Living Again (the audiobook won’t be available until December), and Prize 5) an electronic copy of Haunted.

ThroughTheYearsLGEdward and Gene were instantly drawn to each other when they met at college in Maryland. Fast friends, they developed a “closer than brothers” relationship. But then Edward began to feel more for Gene. In 1967, those kind of feelings would not be tolerated. Not even by Edward himself.

Gene always thought he was asexual. He had never been attracted to anyone… until he met Edward. He dreamed of Edward as more than a friend throughout college, but he knew Edward would not welcome that kind of attention. So Gene wasn’t surprised when Edward reacted badly to a drunken kiss just before Edward’s graduation. He was surprised when Edward moved to Florida and had little to do with him for years afterward.

When fate finally brings them back together, Edward is married and has a little girl. Gene gladly accepts the role of “Uncle Gene,” happy to have Edward in his life in any capacity. Together, they face all the trials and tribulations life throws at them, including the death of Edward’s wife, and as each grows and matures, their life views change. The relationship they’ve secretly wanted all along is closer than ever, and if Edward can break free from his homophobic upbringing and admit his feelings for Gene, there might still be a chance for them to share their lives in the way they both desire.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Buy from Dreamspinner Press

brynnsteinlogoBrynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres – everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural – she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered ‘slash’, male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia with one of her two two-legged children, and two four-legged ones. Her supportive family encourages her writing and provides a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following:

6 responses to “Brynn Stein on Real Life in Fiction

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever wonder if anything from a book has actually happened to the author but I’ve read plenty of times where they comment that some thing or another did come from real life so, to me, it’s not a surprise. A lot of times we write a scene by either experience of personal knowledge.

  2. Xena Semikina

    I think that things from real life, particularly trivial, inconsequential things, give your story authenticity and credibility. The simple explanation is that they naturally come with all the detail imagination usually lacks. I do think it’s a good idea to use them or even sprinkle your story with them. However, very often I model imaginary scenes on real life, aiming to introduce the same level of detail. In this case I don’t copy a scene from real life, but only follow its blue print, using completely different setting and circumstances.

  3. Usually, if it’s something too specifically crazy, I figure it’s a true story–I’m an adherent of “truth is stranger than fiction” a lot of the time!


  4. The more realistic stuff I read in a book usually make me think if it really happened to the author or someone they associate with. Also with stories of abuse or disorders I have a passing though that it could be a true story or close to a true story that may or may not be directly related to an author or someone they know. That it might just be something they read while doing research.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  5. Thanks for your comments. I’m making the rounds and adding all your names to the raffle. Stay tuned for the winner.

  6. Yes sometimes when I read something I wonder if it really happened because it just sounds so real!