All good stories begin with some variation of the above. With the release of my second contemporary romance fast approaching (less than 3 months!), I’m working feverishly to finish formatting and final edits.
I’ve had great success with beta readers this time around (I’m looking at you, Melanie, Ann, and Sarah). The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and constructive in all the right ways. I feel so blessed to be releasing Rose and Julian’s story to the world!
Anyway, I’m here because I decided to take a breather from editing, work, and parenting to invite you on a walk down my personal Memory Lane. I’m thinking about The Reluctant Socialite, and the question I’ve been getting recently from several acquaintances (one of whom is my husband’s coworker–EEEK!). The question is, “How much of Thea’s story is autobiographical?”
It was bound to come up sooner or later; I’ll show you why in a minute. First and foremost, the short answer is “30% or so.” I’m not an interior designer, my husband isn’t a billionaire restauranteur (and is tattoo free), but there are some parallels between Thea’s internal self and my internal self. Especially when I was younger. We’re both voyeuristic, unsure of our place in the world, and forever in search of the answer to the question, WHO AM I?
Nowadays I have pretty good handle on the answer. Past-me/Thea, not so much. Although in some ways her journey to finding peace mirrors mine. (Not that. Get your head out of the gutter!). There are a few other parallels, but I’m not going to get into those.
Instead, I’ll show you why the question even comes up at all. For those of you who don’t know me personally, this is my back:
No, I’m not kidding. It took 5+ years (restrictions of a full-time job), over 50 hours, and was hand drawn by the man in the photo, the AMAZING Forrest Lang.
And if you’re wondering (everyone does) whether it hurt… Yes. Just look at my face:
Thats my HOLY CRAP MY BRAIN JUST VIBRATED face. Here’s another:
If you look closely, you can see the beads of blood along several fresh lines. Sorry. But I meant what I said in The Reluctant Socialite – tattooing is a bloody endeavor. The scene in Ocean Beach, when Thea is reminiscing about her first session and being stung by a wasp… True story.
Nor is the aftermath pretty. Pretty sure you can tell I’m a pain-filled zombie in both pictures.
More than ten years after my first session under a needle, have I ever regretted it? Nope. I have a painting on my skin. Mine, for me, about me. Birds for freedom and home, my heart anchored to my body, water to calm my fire, and roses for all my imperfect perfection.
So now you know.