Does Art Imitate Life

Hi, everybody. Or, maybe I should say, “G’day,” since I’m delighted that my favorite Aussie, the lovely, talented, slightly-wacky, author/blogger Kristy Berridge posted an interview with me on her blog this week. Feel free to hop over and check it out, then come back here so I can ramble on about something loosely related to one of the questions she posed.
                                                                      Kristy's Blog

So, now…
       Is art a reflection of life? That’s what they say, but is it really? I wonder sometimes, because when my characters pull something like one of them did this week, it makes me question my writing.

Don’t look at me like that. Yeah, I know I used the terms ‘art’ and ‘my writing’ in the same paragraph. Let’s don’t go there, okay? For the sake of argument let’s just say my writing is art. Good. That’s out of the way. We can proceed.

I enjoy watching the effects of the emotional baggage my characters have on their developing relationships. It’s one of the reasons I chose to have the central character in the Red Wolf novels be an older man. Clifford Crane has accepted who he is and has no intention of changing when he is suddenly turned into a werewolf, in effect forcing him to change.

In my naiveté, I had the idea that, given werewolves live for a thousand years, they’d have all that extra time to work out their issues. As it turns out, they often just accumulate more baggage. You think your current girlfriend or your recent ex-boyfriend is effed up over what they went through the last twenty years? Try hooking up with someone who’s been carrying the stuff around for hundreds.

Case in point, Ying Hua. You are going to love her. She’s a three hundred year old omega wolf in Red Wolf Rising saddled with the task of being the “calming influence” on the super-alpha assassin, Wei. But, it’s hard to be a calming influence on someone when you’re pissed off at them all the time. And I wrote the scene this week where the two have a fight on the eve of the confrontation between Wei and Clifford, his latest target. It didn’t go as planned.

She was supposed to slam the door to her bedroom, fume for a few seconds, then repent and help Wei work through some stuff. Instead, she stayed angry maybe ten seconds too long. Those ten seconds allowed Wei time to, well, I won’t go into details. The book will be out later this year. But, suffice it to say, werewolves can be impetuous creatures, capable of doing great damage in a short period of time.
        Now I’ve written myself into a corner… again. Not my fault. My characters regularly go off on their own, unplanned paths. But, isn’t that the way life is?

Haven’t we all gotten angry at someone over things that had more to do with our own internal struggles than the behavior that set us off? (Oh, maybe I’m the only one. I’ll just pretend it’s something everyone does.) Sometimes we see it coming, but we can’t head it off. Once the lid on the pressure cooker has blown, we watch ourselves saying things we can’t take back. We understand that an immediate apology has the best chance at repairing the damage. Yet, that anger is now in control, and something… keeps… us… from… letting… go.

It’s like the Big Bang. So much happens in those first few seconds. Then, the seconds turn into minutes. Our brains and defense mechanisms take over, and we begin to rationalize and even justify our actions. The minutes turn into hours, days, weeks, and a new universe has not only been created, it has evolved with a life and physical laws of its own.

Sigh. I’ve lost a few promising relationships over things said in anger. That’s unfortunate. But in my books, people die over this stuff. Now I’ve got my main character in mortal danger, and I was hoping to get at least one or two more stories out of him. Sure am glad my life’s not a book.
        … or is it?

      Well, that's all I've got for now. Until next time...
           Happy Reading!
Oh, don't forget you can purchase either of my books by clicking on the links below...

The Draculata Nest -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Click on the link to order:
ebook for Kindle    ebook for Nook    ebook for Kobo    in Paperback
in Charlotte    Smashwords

The Dragon of Doughton Park ----------------------------------------------------------
Click on the link to order:
ebook for Kindle    ebook for Nook    ebook for Kobo    in Paperback
in Charlotte    Smashwords


  1. Haha! It's so good to see that I'm not the only one who writes themselves into a corner. But I think that's the beauty of 'art' in writing, you let the piece take you where it needs to go, rather than the other way around, it's often more natural. I wouldn't worry too much, John, you have a gift, I'm sure these characters and this new book will be a smash just like the other two.

    1. Thank you, Kristy. And I totally agree. That the characters do what they want is often what makes this whole thing so much fun!


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