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Monday, August 22, 2011

Real Life Inspires Art

A big hello to our All Day, All Night Writing Divas aficionados! I’m Susanne Marie Knight (SusANNE is my entry into this terrific group of writers!) and I write in quite a few different genres. My motto is Romance Writing with a Twist! To date I have 32 books published/under contract.

For today’s blog, let’s talk about incorporating things from the real world or from your personal life into your books. By “things” I mean events, locations, emotions, experiences; you know, the kinds of touches that can bring your novel to life. These snippets or bits and pieces from real life can help endear the story to you AND your readers.

For example, in my newest fantasy romance, UNCOVERING CAMELOT, Stonehenge, specifically the Stonehenge Memorial in Washington State, figures prominently. Also important are Merlin and other members of the Arthurian legend.

But a personal touch to this tale concerns an off-chance remark a friend had said before I’d even started to think about writing this book: she was the youngest in a family of seven daughters. Seven daughters conjured up fairy tales I’d read as a child. The hero was often the seventh son of the seventh son. I couldn’t ignore this opportunity. My heroine, Heather Woods, had to be the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter, thereby enabling her to have a magical experience.

Here’s the blurb:
A VACATION RUINED--Heather Woods suddenly learns her boyfriend, Connor, cancelled their summer plans. Determined to forget about him, she visits her flaky godmother, Nerissa, instead, for an impromptu vacation. Nerissa insists that Heather has a healing gift, something Heather doesn’t believe. But when she experiences visions... hallucinations... or whatever her jaunts back to Camelot are, she fears for her sanity. Meeting a man that might actually be Merlin the magician, and his very attractive nephew, Matthew, convince Heather that she’s in the middle of a strange, metaphysical phenomenon.

A VACATION CHANGED--Judge Matthew Limner also finds his vacation plans changed. He receives a call from a long-lost Uncle Mallory--so long-lost that he hadn’t even known Mallory existed. Mallory flies in from London, and expects to go sightseeing with Matthew. Resigned, Matthew plays the host. First stop: the Stonehenge Memorial in southern Washington. A chance encounter--or is it?--with Nerissa and Heather convince Matthew that something much more than coincidence is happening in this tiny corner of the world.

Available at

For my newest book in the popular Minx Tobin Murder Mystery Series, THE VIRTUAL VALENTINE, I combined my love for the murder mystery genre with my fitness background for the heroine’s occupation. Here’s a pic of me with the legendary Sherlock Holmes!

I also included an interest of mine in THE VIRTUAL VALENTINE--Lewis Carroll’s fantasy world. In my book, I created a café called the Mimsy Grove, based on Carroll’s poem, “Jabberwocky.” The café features servers dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. “Off with her head!” Oops!

Here’s the blurb:
KISSES CAN BE DEADLY--The serial killer stalking Los Angeles will soon be served his just deserts. But that doesn’t mean Minx Tobin is out of danger. First, there’s a crank caller. Then her tire is slashed. Quite possibly, her throat is next. But if the throat-slashing murderer is out of the picture, then who has it in for Minx?

Gabe Harris works two full-time jobs. First is solving murders as homicide lieutenant for LAPD. Second is trying to keep his new girlfriend, Minx, out of danger. But this time, she isn’t to blame for her predicament. Gabe’s job is proving hazardous to her health.

Available at Desert Breeze Publishing, ,, and other Internet locations.

A few quick examples that also helped motivate me to include in my books are:
GRAVE FUTURE (paranormal suspense): I did get lost in the Poconos looking for a friend’s summer home.
THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD (Regency romance): The young character of Freddy likes to insist he's the Duke of Wellington, a hero from the Napoleonic Wars. I can thank a child from my daughter's pre-school for this. Out of the blue, a boy walked over to me and with a serious face, told me he was Batman!
Alien Heat (science-fiction/futuristic romance): The secondary character of Will Flagg was inspired by a boy I knew in seventh grade, and generated this passage: "There were two things Will Flagg hated above all else. The first was to be called 'short.' The second was to be a disappointment to someone he thought highly of. Unfortunately, the latter was just about to happen."
PAST INDISCRETIONS (paranormal suspense): This novel is about Atlantis, past lives, and cloning. I created the Colby clan with three boys and a girl. One weekend, my family met a couple with three boys and a girl in the same birth order as my book. My daughter mentioned, "Mom, they all have the same face. It's scary!" I pounced on this sentence because it was a perfect fit, especially since my book deals with human cloning.

What type of personal experiences do you like to include in your writing? Or read about?

For more info on Romance Writing with a Twist, visit me at my website or blog! Thanks!

Susanne Marie Knight


  1. Write what you often do writers hear this? Yes, I add elements to books from experience and things I have knowledge of.
    I married an Army of my heroes is an Army officer. I taught of my heroines runs a daycare facility. I have a of my books has a corgi in it! I lived on Long Island during the '65 Blackout. One of my books is a time travel and uses this era.
    Nice post and happy to have you here, Susanne!

  2. A short story I wrote many years ago featured a little boy named David. My son, who is also named David, was not amused. Then he decided he deserved half my pay of fifty bucks because he actually did everything in the story and all I did was write it down.

  3. It's very cool to be here, Marianne, and to get to know all our Marys and Anns. I also married a military officer -- Air Force -- lots of good fodder for books there. :)) And I also was in New York (the Bronx) when the lights went out in '65. !!! What's the name of that time-travel book?

    Marianne, I think you have a very astute son. He was absolutely right; he did deserve half your pay. Is he a good negotiator today? :))

  4. I write in several different genres, but what I like to add to each of my stories is the joy and necessity of friendship. With a few close friends to stick by them, my characters can get through anything. Very nice blog, by the way! Your books sound very interesting, especially the last one you mentioned. The thought of cloning always creeps me out.

  5. Thank you, Dianne! Whenever I think of cloning, I always remember a SF short story I'd read way back when. I forget the author, but the title was, "Let's Be Frank." You can imagine what the conclusion of the story was!

  6. I often write the paranormal or the unexplainable in my books . . . you know, prophetic dreams, visions, gut instincts, intuition, or, as I call it, the vibes. So many times these come into play into our daily lives and we dismiss them. I feel they add suspense and drama. Life is not stranger than fiction!


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