My first book, Confession of an Abandoned Wife, was written as a personal blog. This was my first experience of serious writing and I thought that, before tackling a book, I should first write a personal fictional blog. What happened at the end was that the blog was so successful and received so much positive feedback that I was persuaded to turn it into a book. In my last post, I confessed to my readers that the blog was fiction, and after a few weeks I deleted the blog.
For those who haven't yet read Confession of an Abandoned Wife, I'll just explain that this is a story of a woman whose husband is so devoted to work that she decides to search for a lover. She - of course - finds one. I've never cheated on my husband, so the story is certainly a fiction for me, but I received many comments from readers who asked whether it was true or false. On the one hand, it's difficult for people to believe that someone would confess adultery, but, on the other hand, it’s not the only blog that talks about infidelity and I never used "real names" or pictures. I can tell by the number of personal messages I received from men that I certainly managed to convince quite a few that the story was true. Also, for my subsequent books, Hill of Secrets and Déjà Vu, both complete fiction, I still get comments that the books are very "realistic."
So how do I do it?
The answer is the same one I gave to all who asked me in my blog whether my story was true or false. The answer was both (and I didn't lie). I don't know how other writers develop the stories in their books, but my stories are basically fictional, with the details, in part, based on my personal experiences or the experiences of people close to me. People close to me always manage to identify themselves and the real situations in the books, and it always makes them laugh.
I'll give you some examples from my books. (I'll try not to give away spoilers for those who haven't read the books; personally I think it just adds to the enjoyment.)
1. In Confession of an Abandoned Wife, Sharon, the heroine, played tennis for years when she was younger at a cozy tennis club. I also practiced in such a sports club, but not tennis. I practiced Kung Fu for many years. By the way – "Eric" is also real…
2. Dr. Manny – Sharon's lover in Confession of an Abandoned Wife - was based on my own surgeon. Needless to say, I stopped visiting him after the book was published.
3. Hadas, the heroine in Hill of Secrets, had childhood friends who called themselves “The Monastery.” This fact is completely true. We were a group of five girls, who called ourselves The Monastery because we'd been avoiding meeting and talking to boys. After the publication of the book in Hebrew, I invited all of them for a cup of coffee (in Givat Shmuel!) and gave each of them a copy of the book.
4. Just as in Hill of Secrets, my real life sister lives in Givat Shmuel. Last year, my parents moved and they now live just three buildings away from my sister.
5. Like Hadas Levinger in Hill of Secrets, I also have a dog.
6. Rose, in Déjà Vu, is an Israeli CPA – just like me.
7. Aya and Lior in Déjà Vu are based on a couple of my friends. They also studied accounting and law and they’re now both successful lawyers. In real life, just like in the book, they went to do an MA in New York. Am I envious of them, like the character in the book? Maybe...but I’d like to think I'm a little more supportive...
8. The story about the resignation from Smartgreen in Déjà Vu is also a true story. I was the chief bookkeeper in a small high tech company. It drove me crazy that I was actually a qualified accountant, and my title was not respectable enough. I went to my manager (“Gideon” in the story) asking to change my job description. Like in the book, my boss almost fired me. Six months later, I resigned from my bookkeeper’s job (just like in the book) and went to work for an importer. What’s not written in the book is that my boss (“Gideon” in Déjà Vu) called me a week later. He begged me to come back and said he would give in to all my demands.
As you've probably understood by now, I can’t write with complete detachment from reality. I don't know how other writers write, but I can’t help it. I think that such a mixture of truth and falsehood gives the books more realism. After all, thoughts and dialogue, even if they’re imagined, are based on my experiences or memories. I try to write what I’d like to read, and I love to read stories about the special experiences of ordinary people. I admit that I've never found science fiction interesting, so I can’t imagine myself writing in this genre. Our everyday reality can be exciting and no less interesting. Humans are creatures so complex and interesting that I’ve never felt the need to fly them into space, or to turn them into vampires