When Truth Becomes Fiction by Linda Andrews

Please help me welcome my friend Linda Andrews to my blog today. Linda is going to treat one commentor to a $5 Amazon gift card and for everyone, she’s putting the book Hearts in Barbed Wire on sale for 99 cents.

HeartsinBarbedWire1_2I love a good story. And the best ones have a basis in truth.

I was fortunate enough that my grandmother and grandfather would humor me by telling me stories of when they were young. Some were downright scary—my grandmother’s tales of the 1918 Flu Pandemic that took her father and a newborn sibling. Some were touching glimpses of humanity—a ship’s captain taking a small immigrant boy from steerage to the deck and giving him a fresh apple to eat.

While I wrote these stories on my heart, I never set out to use them in my fiction.

But my grandmother’s memories appeared in pieces in my apocalyptic novel based on another, more deadly flu pandemic, and my own aversion to coffee and love of tea appeared in my heroine of The Christmas Village.

I told myself to stop it.

And I thought I might actually listen until I found myself in a bind. I needed to move soldiers behind enemy lines from point A to point B. This time it was my grandfather’s story that came to mind. The time was right, as his family snuck out of Poland in 1913 and they did it in a hay wagon. Yep, a hay wagon. Okay, so I fudged a bit and used a wheat wagon and instead of searching for hidden folks with pitchforks, my baddies used bayonets, but the homage remained the same.

Of course, I won’t do that in the next book. Right. Sure, and if you believe that I have a bridge you might be interested in.

Thankfully, Cynthia already admitted that she based one of her books on how her parents met, so I know I’m not alone. But we can’t be the only ones. Have any of you ever borrowed a piece of someone else’s story to create something new?

EXCERPT
Except:
Luc faced the wagon. Harvested grain filled the vee-shaped bed. He frowned. “Now how do you propose we hide? Climb on top and dig our way down?”
Cupping her elbow, he dragged her forward.
Tingles raced up and down her arm, despite his gentle hold. Perhaps she really was falling ill.
Before she answered, Uncle Cyprien appeared towing Mathieu behind him. “You can’t see the compartment? Good.”
Mathieu shambled as if he still slept. When Uncle stopped, her brother bumped into him before stopping as well.
Madeline sucked on her bottom lip. Please, Lord, help my brother. Break the chains of horror imprisoning him inside his head.
“You stay.” After patting Mathieu’s head, Uncle walked to the back of the wagon and lifted the back gate. A dozen bundles of wheat rolled to the ground, revealing another gate and an empty space under the harvest. “The Boches haven’t found it either. Although I would draw your legs in tight if we’re stopped.”
Luc marched forward, tugging her along with him. Crouching, he peered inside. “A meter wide by half a meter tall?”
“Not quite half a meter tall.” Uncle’s barrel chest puffed out before he pointed to the wheat packing sides. “A bayonet won’t reach the wood.”
Madeline’s knees shook. Bayonet? Why would the Germans stab the grain? She mentally slapped her forehead. To search for concealed people of course. She’d seen the notices about helping wounded soldiers.
Scratching his chin, Luc glanced at her, then Mathieu and Mille. “I don’t think we’ll all fit.”
Uncle nodded. “Just you and him. Maddy and Mathieu will walk beside me to the mill.”
Walk? And risk exposure? Bile burned the back of her throat.
“No. Absolutely not.” Luc thrust his jaw forward. “She and her brother are in danger as well. They hide with us or we don’t go.”
“This is the only wagon altered for concealment.” Uncle strode forward until his chest nearly bumped Luc’s. “To do as you ask would require two trips. The enemy would notice.”
Luc’s face tightened until his lips diminished to a slash mark.
Reaching inside his trouser pocket, Uncle removed a sheaf of papers. “She and Mathieu have documents. They’ll be safe.”
She snatched them out of his hand and jerked them open. Sabine and Alex Neu. The Grim Reaper puffed cold air on the back of Madeline’s neck. Sabine’s house had the mass grave in front of it. How many people had died in the last two months?
“I don’t like it.” Luc braced his hands on his hips and planted his feet on the dirt.
She folded the papers and handed them back to her uncle.
Red suffused Uncle Cyprien’s face.
“Thank you, Uncle.” Pivoting she poked Luc’s shoulder. “Mathieu and I are walking to the mill. The only choice you have to make is whether you’ll be inside the wagon or stay behind and pout in the barn.”

LindaAndrews.jpg.w300h328_2BIO
Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: “What else would she write? She’s never been normal.”

All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house?

If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at lindaandrews at lindaandrews dot net She’d love to hear from you.

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10 thoughts on “When Truth Becomes Fiction by Linda Andrews

    • To answer your question, my whole series erupted from my sub-conscious when I found the photograph of my late father taken after WW-II in Prague with a lady’s handwriting on the back stating, “I’ll always be waiting here.” It was then that I remembered all the things my late mother had said, but which I didn’t understand at the time (because I was far too young)…”He is over there with that woman” and “He has had a child over there with her!” Sometime later my mother asked what I would do if she divorced my father. I wasn’t but five years old and just hadn’t a clue why she asked that (today’s children are probably more savvy) but because of the pain and passion in her voice her comments somehow stuck in my sub-consciousness to be dragged out sixty years later to start me writing.

        • It was evident that they “stayed together for the children” (or in this case the child since I was the only one – probably for that reason). As a child I never thought it odd that they had separate bedrooms and I didn’t like it that Dad drank so much, but children back in the 40s & 50s were not as savvy as they are today (at least I wasn’t). If you read the Free pages in http://amzn.com/B006ZCBT6G it talks about my mother and has the “infamous picture” but is as if from my alter-ego’s POV rather than my own (but HE is ME in the books).

  1. Oh, how I wish I could go back and ask my grandmothers and great grandmother about things because I’m always dragging bits and pieces of real life into my stories. The opening scene in one book is almost an exact recount of what happened to me and my daughters one night. As I wrote a historical, I realized my grandmother would have been the same age as one of the children in the story. It was easy to slide my grandmother’s enthusiasm for life into that characters personality. I think the grounding in reality makes it easier for people to identify with characters no matter what type of story we’re writing.

  2. I love to use snippets of my life and my family in my stories. I believe it makes them more real and exciting. In A Christmas Accident, my mom actually was in a coma and the whole incident with the main character waking up was true.

    Life is stranger than fiction so why not use it!

    Melissa
    daringzoey at yahoo.com

  3. Great cover for this novel, Linda. I was privileged to read this novel before anyone else, and I loved it. Being raised in Europe, I heard these stories from my oldest family members as a child, and this novel resonates with the truth of these difficult times and heroic deeds. Thanks, Linda for bringing this piece of history to life. for 99cts, it’s a steal.

  4. We write incorporating our experiences, and you’ve stretched that concept by using the stories told to you by grandparents. We sometimes forget what a wealth of information our parents/grandparents have; they’ve lived through some experiences we never will.
    How wonderful to find you niche in writing. Paranormal romance is a popular genre!

  5. Loved this post. As a kid I was hyper self-critical and used to daydream about how I would do certain things differently if given the chance. Now I sort of do this through writing. :) It’s less stressful that way!
    –Kara

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