We’re delighted to have Julie Bozza with us today talking about “Writing What I Know.” Find out what Julie has to say about how her characters were formed for her latest novel The ‘True Love’ Solution. There is also a very generous giveaway so don’t miss your chance and enter below.
Writing What I Know by Julie Bozza
I’m sure we’ve all heard that hoary advice from Mark Twain (sometimes attributed to Hemmingway): ‘Write what you know.’ It is often understood these days in very literal ways, to mean that we should write about the things we encounter in our day-to-day lives. However, when you Google the phrase, all the top search results are discussions of why the advice means so much more than that. Jason Gots, for example, suggests that it’s like method acting: apply your memories of real emotions to fictional situations, and your readers will feel them, too.
For me the advice means to write what I know / imagine / empathise with / identify with / research. And research can of course include everything from reading books to pondering personal blogs, from talking with people to visiting actual locations.
I think it’s the imagination, empathy and identification that are the real key, however. The rest is vital, too, but without being able to walk a (virtual) mile in a character’s shoes, I doubt that many readers will find the character authentic.
This can be a bit disconcerting at times, as when I was writing The Definitive Albert J Sterne, and found myself walking a mile or two in a serial killer’s shoes. OK, so I am very happy to say up front that I don’t literally know what it’s like to be a murderer, but I did a lot of research – of the reading variety! – and I felt at times that my imagination of how John Garrett thought and felt was all too vivid.
On the other hand, I don’t think this ability – this ‘negative capability’, if I may use Keats’ term – is infinite. There are some people and some traits that I find I just can’t imagine myself into.
Anyone who has read a few of my novels will realise that I rarely write about LGBTQ people facing prejudice. The characters themselves might be very cautious or embarrassed or fearful about coming out and being known, but I really don’t write about them coming out and facing the difficulties and angst of a bad reaction. It’s because I just can’t put myself into the shoes of the people who’d be so antagonistic to my characters for that reason alone. I don’t comprehend where they’re coming from. I am not saying this as even a ‘humble brag’, because I see this as a real flaw in my writerly make-up, given the nature of the genres I’m writing in. On yet another hand, though, maybe there is a place in the world for low-angst queer romance and fiction.
Why am I talking about this in relation to my new novel, The ‘True Love’ Solution…? It’s because in this story, more so than in any since Albert, I wrote about what I personally know. It all started when I was at the local police station giving a statement about being defrauded while purchasing what I thought was fannish memorabilia. I didn’t think I’d ever get my money back, but I thought, ‘Hey, there’s a story in here! Why not earn some royalties instead?’ LOL!
My hero, Jules Madigan, is a gay ginger accountant just turning thirty. And while that’s not literally me, he is still an ‘alternate universe’ version of me. The police officer Leonard Edgar and the romance author Ewan Byge aren’t literally me, either, but I could walk a few miles in their shoes. Especially Leonard’s! (I’m sure they’re very sensible black boots.)
And it was fun to add in the little details of life that I do know all too well, whether it was unreliable old boilers, the difficulty of navigating your way through Islington, or the delights of having a new book to read from your favourite author.
On the other hand – how many hands am I up to now? – Jules soon became his own man. As a writer, you know something is working out right if the characters gain a life of their own – if they reclaim their own shoes, as it were, and stride out to lead the way.
I very much hope that if you read this novel, you’ll enjoy the story – oh, even half as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you do, you’ll have so much fun!
Thank you for reading.
The ‘True Love’ Solution by Julie Bozza
Title: The ‘True Love’ Solution
Author: Julie Bozza
Publisher: Manifold Press
Release: 1st February 2016
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.
::: MARK’S REVIEW HERE :::
Meet Julie Bozza
I have been writing fiction for over thirty years, mostly for the enjoyment of me and my friends (that is, fan fiction!) – and writing is my love and my vocation, so of course that’s where my dreams and ambitions are. In the meantime, technical writing (mostly eLearning) helps to pay the mortgage.
I was born in England, and lived most of my life in Australia, before returning to the UK a few years ago; my dual nationality means that I am often a bit too cheeky, but will always apologise for it. I love the Australian lifestyle, but I also love Britain’s very real sense of history, and it’s so wonderful to have the rest of Europe so close by. We enjoy roaming ruined castles and Tudor mansions, and I am delighted to visit (and even occasionally work!) where John Keats and other literary heroes lived and worked.
I am fascinated by film and television, both the product and how it’s made. I have been greatly enjoying the BBC’s most recent take on the Arthurian legends. These interests, along with my love of the English and Welsh (and indeed French) countryside and castles, have combined to form the web siteMerlin Locations.
Two bits of paper I’m particularly proud of are a Diploma of Communication and Media (multi–media strand) from the Canberra Institute of Technology (2004), and a Certificate in Social Sciences from The Open University (2006).
You will have gathered by now that I have fun with photography, web design, reading, and watching film and television – but no list of my interests would be complete without knitting and the imbibing of espresso.
Connect with Julie
Purchase Links for The ‘True Love’ Solution
Julie will be very generously giving away a choice of any of her titles to five lucky winners drawn first and five copies of The ‘True Love Solution to the following lucky five drawn.
Ten winners in total! Just enter the draw below.
Good Luck X