I've been asked over the years if Deputy Tempe Crabtree is me--and I always wonder why people ask. After all, Tempe is an American Indian, in her late thirties and is a deputy sheriff. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I'm not an Indian of any kind, much, much older and have never been in law enforcement.
But--and it's a big one--there is a lot of how Tempe thinks and figures out things that's very much like I am. And since I've written so many books about her, I probably know more about her than I know about any of my friends or my relatives. I know exactly how Tempe thinks--something I don't even know about my husband of nearly 59 years.
When it comes to what Tempe encounters in her books, I have to admit that a lot of what happens are taken from incidents that I've experienced or come across in my life. That's one of the advantages of having lived a long, long time.
In Dispel the Mist, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, a residential care home is licensed in an upscale community and the some of the neighbors are not happy. We owned and ran our own licensed care home and though we got along fine with our neighbors, we had friends in the business who weren't as fortunate.
One of my friends told me about the murder of one of her cousins and it became the seed for the murder in Dispel the Mist.
And of course, the Hairy Man, is the Big Foot counterpart to the Indians on the reservation near me that closely resembles the Bear Creek Reservation in my books. No, I didn't see the Hairy Man, but I talked to people who knew about him and knew people who'd seen the Hairy Man. The closest I got was to view the pictographs of the Hairy Man and his family in a hidden rock shelter on the reservation.
In my other books, I draw from people I know and events that I've heard about or may even have experienced--but when I write about them, they are fictionalized.
What about you? How much truth is in your fiction?