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Writing What I Know: Guest Post by Leslee Hare

Writing What I Know: Guest Post by Leslee Hare

Writing what I know. That tired writer’s adage has taken on fresh meaning for me over the past couple months. I’ve been working on a memoir for a few years, and last fall I published two children’s books. These contain things I “know”, for sure.

But lately, my imagination and fingers itch to try something new. Up popped short stories.

I’ve had enough drama in my life to keep friends amused (or irritated) for hours with tales, so finding familiar material isn’t an issue.

Here’s the kicker: I’ve only recently learned that my “normal” is “paranormal” to most people.

You see, I’ve got a very active inner world. Stories arise out of it and float on a whole other plane of something. I learned in 2018 that this is unusual. In fact, it played a large part in my receiving an Autism Level One diagnosis from my therapist.

I had no idea that most folks don’t experience the sensations that play a central role in my life. I just thought I felt them more than most people. On one level I still wonder if my therapist was playing a cruel joke on me. This is the only reality I know. But a dear friend, who’s also a therapist, corroborated it.

So, I’ll take their words for it, like a blind person trying to understand another person’s description of the color blue.

In light of that, “writing what I know” comes into play in the new ways I’ve been craving. Plenty of folks enjoy paranormal fiction. It occurs to me: instead of keeping my stuff bottled up inside because people might think it’s too weird, I can just write it into paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy stories. Relief.

Why am I just now figuring this out? Because I’ve been self-conscious about being thought “weird” since I was a little kid, like Allie.

Allie’s Roses, a new short story I just published on my website, illustrates this. It’s based on several autobiographical elements, and weaving these into the story brings healing and reconciliation that I’ve longed for. It celebrates the intense bombardment we feel on the spectrum: anxiety, racing thoughts, and a blurring of dimensions that calls to question what makes things “real” for us.

Writing this way eases the pressure of the emotions and over-stimulation that come with sensory issues. I highly recommend it to anyone with similar tendencies.

So now I’m working on stories that enlist characters, places, and concepts I’ve known for what feels like ages. And you, the reader, get to speculate about what parts I consider real and true versus totally made-up. And we’ll call it fiction, just for laughs.

Author Bio:

When she was a child in Alabama, Leslee Hare would lie in the grass and wonder how an entire universe could fit into those radiant blades hit by the sun.  And what happened to all the life that was once in the parts now hinting at a brown edge?
From those early years, her vivid dreams took her to worlds and people she’d never seen before, even in books and movies.
Where did they come from? Were they real?
Curiosity spurred Leslee to ask an annoying number of questions about why this world seems the way it does. And why different people see it differently.
Writing and creating images have been her most passionate creative outlets since childhood.
Leslee draws upon her experiences as a Buddhist, a teacher of kids’ Dharma classes, an Architect, a Writer, an Illustrator, and a participant on the Autism Spectrum to share her insights and view of the world.
You can see more of her work on her website.
These days, Leslee lives in Pine Lake, Georgia, with Lucas the Game Designer, Sylvie the Cat, and as many flowers as will fit.

Image credits: Image by Leslee Hare, using files from Wikimedia Commons:

By Erixsen – Own work by uploader: ok, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7051077 andhttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Writing_hand.jpg


Origin Story: Guest Post by Tracie Roberts

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.

The Destined Series

Author Bio:

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.


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