Using Personal Stories in My Books

Every single book I write has a little bit of me in it. Pull from what you know, right? More often than not it’s things like sneaking Star Wars in, or an expression I use a lot. But sometimes I use personal stories to help me bring my characters, settings, or situations to life. Some have more me in them than others.

My Hills of Texas series, in particular, gets a lot of me in the books. Maybe because I’m writing characters in my home state, or maybe because these are ensemble books centered around the Hill family.

SavingTheSheriff-Teaser3

Sometimes, the moments are smaller. In book 1, Saving the Sheriff, Cash’s daughter Sophia is quite a character. A lot of her moments in the book are taken directly from moments with my own daughter. She is older that Sophia now, but I write down a lot of her quotes just because they are so good, and that comes in handy when writing kids.

Here’s one of those moments in Saving the Sheriff:

Sophia hopped right up on the chair specially deemed for the birthday girl. She donned a sparkly tiara that Carter had bought her and sat up very regally. “I am the queen, and this is my palace.” She waved toward the house.

“I thought this was Pop-pop’s and my house.” His mother had her hands on her hips.

Sophia shook her head. “No. You’re the groundskeepers.”

Cash burst out laughing while his mother muttered, “Why I never.”

ResistingtheRancher-Teaser2

Other times, I’ll pull goofy little details into a story, usually nothing huge. In book 2, Resisting the Rancher (coming July 30th!), the heroine is feisty and independent and trying to prove herself. Her truck is a reflection of that. I modeled after a truck I used to drive.

Williams Hill dragged his hand over his face as he sat in his truck at a stop light in Estes Park, Colorado. After two straight days of driving up from Texas, he was ready to reach his destination of the rodeo grounds in the small Rocky Mountain town. Flexing his shoulders to work out the kinks, he happened to glance over at the vehicle stopped next to him.

Everything in him froze…then released in a pent-up laugh.

The woman driving a shiny new black Ford truck was gorgeous with high cheekbones and pouty lips. Her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail, so he couldn’t quite make out the color, but her appearance wasn’t what had made him laugh.

She was clearly enjoying a favorite song—singing and dancing for all she was worth, without a care in the world for who might be watching. He chuckled again as she did a little shoulder shimmy. Adorable was the word that struck him, and he was strangely affected, an instant attraction coiling inside in a way that surprised him.

He wasn’t an instant attraction kind of guy.

Suddenly she glanced toward him and stilled as she discovered her audience. Her eyes went wide and she sent him a sheepish grin. He smiled back and pretended to tip an imaginary hat. However, instead of another smile, she went cold on him, eyes hardening, lips thinning. She whipped her head around to face forward, her chin in the air, and didn’t glance his way again. She definitely didn’t start singing again. Not that she would have had much time, because the light changed a second later.

She was quick to hit the gas, faster on the draw than Will who was still blinking at her abrupt about face. He almost expected her windows to frost with the drop in temperature in there. A flash of bright pink on her back window caught his attention as she drove ahead of him. For the second time in a handful of minutes, Will chuckled. The sparkly sticker on the back of her truck read, “Silly Boys, Trucks are for Girls.” Lips tipped in amusement, he shook his head.

At the next light, she went straight when he turned, which meant she probably wasn’t there for the rodeo. He gave a mental shrug. Wouldn’t be seeing her again. Probably for the best, since he was here to work.

I always got a kick out of men’s reactions to that sticker in real life. Lol. Some would drive by and glare at me. I even caught one taking a picture once. Hilarious. 🙂

I’m working on book 3, Partnering the Playboy, right now, and the entire opening scene has my goofy butt written all over it. I’m drawing from one of my most embarrassing moments, but turning it into a meet-cute. You’ll have to wait for that one, but let’s just say it involves the heroine accidentally locking herself out of the wrong truck.

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