After devoting most of 2014 to writing my first novel The Perfect Murderer, and having a few nightmares as a result of the gruesome research, I’ve planning to write something lighter and funnier next—a modern comedy of sexual manners, perhaps.
I was wondering how much I should include my own dating experiences over the last twenty-five years, which is about as long as I’ve been using online dating agencies. I’m no heart-breaking Lothario, and have had some happy relationships (and several troubled liaisons), making several close and long-term friends along the way. I’ve found it moving to see lonely hearts trying to begin again in their forties, fifties and sixties following unexpected bereavement or divorce.
I fretted a bit about a kinky sex activity that I’d put into my first Cornish Detective as a bit of light relief (no pun intended), thinking that the reader would associate me with this strange deviancy. I’m not the only writer who has been troubled by such concerns, as this article shows, where a young, Indian female author found people casting aspersions about her virginity—because that’s what her heroine was trying to lose:
Have any of you encountered any tricky situations, as a result of what you wrote?
Personally, I’m thick-skinned when it comes to what readers might think about anything I’ve written that could apply to me. To adapt something that Eleanor Roosevelt said about being made to feel inferior, I cleave to the notion that ‘ No one can make you feel embarrassed without your permission.’
On the other hand, I’m very circumspect in revealing any personal stories that people have told me about their lives. That would be manipulative and cruel.
Some writers have used their novels to wreak revenge on people, but the closest I’ve come is stealing a few unusual names and characteristics from folk I knew decades ago.
How about you? The pen is mightier than the sword, after all….