After listening to a couple of podcasts on the topic and with the release of Aquaman last week, I thought I’d share my own author origin story.
I’m not one of those writers who always knew I wanted to write. I never had this burning desire to record all of the stories I made up when trying to trick my cousins when I was little or to impress friends at school. And, TBH, I’ve always been a pretty truthful, forthright person. If I fibbed about an accomplishment, the lie would eat at me until I admitted the truth. Now, honesty is one of the qualities I most admire in others, so I try to display it in myself.
Writing fiction, by definition, is lying. It’s making up stories to entertain others, and though I was okay at telling some wild stories when I was younger, I never wrote them down until I got to college.
At FSU I took a lit class where we were expected to write fiction – poems, short stories, and character bios. This was my first foray into fictive writing and, honestly, I sucked. I wrote a short story, “Control,” about an abused wife who was contemplating suicide only to be confronted in the woods by her husband. He almost talks her into coming back in the house with him, but somehow she finds the courage to knock him unconscious with the same shotgun she was going to use on herself. With him unconscious, she is able to consider a life free of him and that’s where the story ended.
I never had any experience in the topics included in that first story. I hadn’t been married or abused—not even by a boyfriend. I’d never contemplated suicide and didn’t know anyone who had. What I did have experience in was strong female role models to base my main character on. That is something I still utilize in my stories today—women who can stand on their own two feet, but prefer the balance and support of a loving partner.
One of the criticisms of “Control” that I received from a peer review was that the abused character wasn’t realistic. The critic’s sister had been in an abusive relationship and, after I volunteered to read my story to the whole class, he announced that battered women don’t behave like that. They’re too frightened of and brainwashed by their abusers to fight back.
That criticism has stuck with me for twenty-four years. And that may be why, when I started writing seriously five years ago, I chose to write a series that included a number of strong, realistic female characters. My lead characters are flawed. They harbor self-doubts and make mistakes, but they’re determined to live their truth while finding a partner that will support and love them for who they are.
You can read the short story “Control” here on my blog. And you can find my first series, The Destined Series, exclusively on Amazon. If you’d like to receive Spirit, The Destined Series Prequel, for free, sign up for my newsletter The Circle here.
Tracie Roberts is a native Floridian who laughs loudest at her own jokes, ODs quite frequently on 80s nostalgia, and eavesdrops on perfect strangers to glean story ideas. She’s been writing for all of five years but has been telling stories since she was old enough to realize she could make people believe her lies. She writes all shades of romance—sweet to steamy, contemporary to paranormal—all with happy endings.
Find out more about Tracie’s future works at tracieroberts.com or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.