Fiction mimics real life…doesn’t it?

I have realized over the years that I am attracted to writing stories based on real life experiences, whether they are mine or someone else’s.

WhileWOW.BanW._wow (2) visiting a convicted murderer (Cook County Justice) at a state prison for men I observed women waiting with me to see their men. Some of them had been coming for years.  What was that like I asked myself.  How do they survive on the outside?  What are the stories that brought them to this place?  Were they married to monsters, gang members, killers?  Or just regular guys who had made some very stupid choices?  (Women Outside the Walls)

The most rewarding effort has been writing about what I know of life.  Confronting the challenges that life throws at all of us and then  goJohn.Songof YUkon 001 on to deal with it with some sort of grace under fire.  That’s how “The Ash Can” was born.  An experience very close to me where a person threw away everything  in a blink of an eye.  Deciding to take irrevocable actions and leaving heart-break and tragedy in their path.


While growing up my mother would tell endless stories of when she and her 13 siblings were growing up in the wilds of Tumwater, Washington.  They were charming and hilarious and real!  She went on to tell of her early days in Safiction, women, flappers, prohibition, San Francisco, roaring twentiesn Francisco, playing semi-professional women’s basketball, buying a bar and grill, and working long hours, then going out dancing all night.   Years later I heard the rest of the story, from my two older siblings;  how our mother had ‘farmed’ them out to get them out from under foot.  The many men in my mother’s life.  It was difficult to write about my mother in this way, but I believe that I was faithful to the truth. (Wild Violets)

A story that fascinated me was that of my song-writer/aunt, LaVerne Guyer.  At the tender age of seventeen she ran away from home, worked on a freighter to gain passage to Alaska.  She settled in Fairbanks which at the time was little more than a trading post. (1920’s) and shortly thereafter homesteaded in the Tanana Valley.   (Song of the Yukon)

Act.Murder.Cover.Book3Even my most current effort, The World of Murder series is based on real life crime.  I am admittedly a crime reality show junkie.  It’s a wonderful way to research  police and forensics procedures.  And of course I recheck that information with experts.  Recently the corner’s office here in Chatham county helped me with accurate data concerning stomach content.

Drawing from my years on stage I wrote ‘The Act of Murder‘ a mystery based in the Broadway backstage world.  (Book 3)

Cook County Justice‘ is strongly based (it’s been referred to as a documentary) on the real life prison, murder, injustice, incarceration, innocenceconviction and incarceration of convicted murderer, Bill Heirens.


The only fantasy that I have created from my own imagination are my children’s books, The Fabled Forest series.  But who’s to say that under the deep undergrowth, the huge ferns, the towering trees, and faeries, elves, warlocks, fables, riddles, fairy tales, theatre soft green moss there isn’t a world of faeries, elves, unicorns, handmaidens, henchmen and war lords?  Could all those Irishmen be wrong?



In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Ace Atkins is my July author.

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