Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Much is Real?

I guess I should take the question as a compliment. "How much of Lowcountry Bribe is real?"

Just completed an interview with a Columbia, SC reporter who is doing a feature on Lowcountry Bribe, FundsforWriters, and me, all in one, for their next issue of The Columbia Star. The first question on her list was "How much is Lowcountry Bribe autobiographical?"

I chuckled. A bribe actually happened. There were two agents. There was an investigation. I worked for Agriculture. I once lived in Charleston, well, Summerville, really. From there on, the story has a life of its own. The real life events paled in comparison to the ones I made up for the story. For some reason that catches people off balance. They want to hear how Carolina Slade solved a true crime mystery.

And I find that thrilling.

My son envisions the house where Slade lives as one he lived in as a child. My daughter-in-law thinks it's more like the house I live in now. An ex co-worker wonders if he is the hog farmer. Another wonders if she is one of Carolina Slade's co-workers. A critique member wondered if my kids had ever been involved in  ____  (won't say what so I don't spoil it for you).

They see me as Carolina Slade.

Now THAT is friggin' cool. It means I've been able to get in the readers' heads with my first person voice and make it seem real. That's an arm-pumping COOL!

The funny thing is, there's a scene or two in there that I've written so many times, ones that I can see in my head so vividly . . . that I feel they are real myself.

Not that I've done everything right in this book. Far from it. I can tell you all the little mistakes in that book. But when fiction and reality entwine and the result is a story that takes the reader on a ride no matter what's real and what's not, that's success in telling a story like you want it told.


Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

I love entwining fiction and history. One of the villains in my Civil War horror novel, Dr. Symes, is based on a friend of mine who lives in the same Missouri county as Symes. My friend is a great guy but looks pretty freaky and has lots of tattoos, so he was the perfect fit. I asked his permission, of course!
I include lots of little in-jokes about my Missouri friends, but Symes and some historical figures like Bloody Bill Anderson are the the only ones based on real people.

Karen said...

Now that is really cool! Congrats!

Hope Clark said...

Yes, it is cool. Love hearing all the interpretations.

Eleni Poulakou said...

Dear Mrs Clark,

I regularly receive your newsletter and I greatly appreciate your work on your website.

I was the recipient of a blogging award, and I was assigned the task of passing it on to other bloggers. I felt letting writers know about your work would be a useful move.

Would you care to drop over to my blog and receive your award?

Thank you :)

Hope Clark said...


What blog??