I’ve been meeting with book clubs and doing signings since the release of Autumn Colors. A question that comes up repeatedly when I tell groups that the story is based on a real life experience is “why did you not write it as a memoir?” Memoirs are very big sellers these days!
I did consider that when I started writing the book. But it wasn’t long before I decided against a memoir for a few reasons. The first – at the risk of sounding boring and unexciting – is that most of my real life is, well, boring and unexciting. And I like it that way. It’s not that I don’t keep busy and love my life and the people in it. It’s just that it wouldn’t hold a stranger’s attention for long. The drama and conflict needed to hold a reader through 300 or so pages hasn’t been a part of my life. Most people’s lives, for that matter, don’t have enough day to day conflict, tension and suspense – not to mention larger than life characters – to make great reading. I’m a bit in awe of the authors of some of the better-written memoirs on the bookstore shelves, because either they’ve had much more interesting lives than I, or they have greater talent for turning the ordinary into anything but.
Another reason I chose the fiction route is that I value my privacy. It’s one thing to include a tragic and momentous experience as a seed of a story. It’s quite another to lay bare your entire life, warts and all, in the pursuit of entertaining (hopefully) hundreds of thousands (or more) of readers. It would, for me, be sort of like joining a nudists group and revealing cellulite, scars, and other bodily imperfections. I’m not comfortable with that level of exposure.
And last – and perhaps most important – I want to gain recognition as a fiction writer. Perhaps writing a memoir first wouldn’t rule that out, but I chose to take this road.
So Autumn Colors is a work of fiction. I hope you read it and enjoy it! (Available on Amazon – Kindle, hard and soft cover).