Are My Novels Autobiographical?

More than once I’ve been asked if my novels are autobiographical. A reasonable question from people who know me well and probably a reasonable one from people who don’t know me.

My first two published novels were written from a teen girl’s point of view and several of my unpublished manuscripts are written from a woman’s point of view. So let me hasten to emphasize that I am all male and have no inclination towards changing my gender. So from that perspective my novels are NOT autobiographical. Not in the least.

My novels do tend to reflect some of my characteristics, however. One of the fun things in a yet-unpublished manuscript is the female protagonist’s description of the male protagonist, whom she is growing to love:

That man was so cute about not wasting gas. I’d been with him when we were three or four cars back at the bank drive-thru. He turned the engine off whenever the line moved up one spot and started it again only when the front car moved on. As if that didn’t tickle me enough, he also turned the car off once he reached the window.

I finally convinced him it wasn’t safe to keep turning the engine off at red lights. Thank goodness he didn’t do it at stop signs.

Whenever I teased him about being so economical, he always responded the same way. “Starting the engine wastes less gas than leaving it running longer than a minute.”

I’d never heard that before, but it was one of those little rules Robbie lived by, and I couldn’t knock saving gas—and, consequently, money.

Although I’ve never turned off the engine at traffic lights or stop signs, the rest of that is a pretty accurate description of how economical I am about gas. Even now when the prices have dropped so amazingly.

Another thing I tend to do in my writing is to make the protagonist an only child–and frequently with deceased parents. Yep, those things are me, too.

Because I love to make puns and other word plays, that characteristic sometimes comes out in my characters. And even in my titles. As in Impractically Yours.

Divorce is part of both my past and my wife’s, and that plays an important part in several of my novels. Including one that’s about two couples trying to hide their pending divorces from one another. That part’s not autobiographical, though.

And then there’s my growing preference for using older characters, one or two as old as I am. Oh, and several involve PKs (preachers’ kids), and that’s definitely me. At least one of my characters is a guitarist and song writer, just like guess who.

And all of my stories are told from a Christian perspective. Because of the importance of my faith, I doubt I could write anything else if I tried.

So, to make a long story only slightly shorter, you’ll find a lot in my books that relates to me personally, but no one book is all about me. And I don’t expect to write one that does. Better to keep my readers guessing…

Do you have a favorite author you think or know writes fictitiously about himself or herself? How about leaving a comment?


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Best regards,

4 thoughts on “Are My Novels Autobiographical?

  1. You write what you know. I couldn’t help peeking into the Pastor Gus character and thinking ”just where is the line drawn between the fiction and the man.” Seems to me you probably always wanted a red sports car but, even though that was BL Zebubs thing, I wanted to put you in that car for some reason.
    I’ve been working on some folks for my first try at a book and I’ve been studying people I know, looking for their tics, things that make them different than others. Living people. We’ll see where that goes. As for your people I find them real and believable, especially the guys who were giving pastor Gus a hard time at the church.


  2. Good points, Tom. And with your keen powers of observation, I feel certain you’ll come up with some really unique characters. Oh, and yes, I always wanted a red sports car, but have had to settle for a red Honda Civic coupe that does look fairly sporty.


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