What’s FACT and What’s FICTION in MY NOVEL

My poor parents. Now that my book is published, they are having to field questions like, “Were the meddlesome parents in the novel modeled after you?” We all chuckled at that, but the answer is a resounding “no.”

Another question was asked directly to me: “Is your novel based on past experience? Are you Annabelle in the book?”

Ha! What writer doesn’t base some things on past experience, though I can’t share with you all of what’s personal in the story. As writers, we must keep some of our mysteries to ourselves.

These questions are fair, fun, and funny. However, I must set the record straight. Ultimately, the book is a work of fiction. My parents are not those depicted in the book, nor am I Annabelle, though she may have aspects of me in her.

Which ones, you may ask? I’ll clarify a few…

  • We both like “When Harry Met Sally.”
  • We both enjoy eggplant parmesean.
  • We both love Annapolis.
  • We both have tornado dreams.
  • We both have an affinity for tall boots.
  • We both like to read.
  • We both happen to be professors.

Oh, right. You want to know about Cole. Yes, we’ve both dated a guy like Cole. But who hasn’t? That’s what’s so great. So many people can relate to both the good characters and the bad ones. It’s what makes reading fun.

Because the truth of the matter is, we read to connect. We read to identify with the material, the characters, the situation, the plot…whatever it is, we read so that we know we’re not alone. We read to know that others have gone through what we have gone through and have experienced what we have experienced. Or, we read to be swept away into an adventure that we could only hope to experience.

As a hopeless romantic, I read to find hope and connection in other people’s writing. As a writer, I endeavor to give you, my readers, and my characters, hope and happiness.

It’s my desire to help you find a little of that with Michael and Annabelle in “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.” The world needs a little more hope and happiness in it.

So there you have it. Some of what’s fact and some of what’s fiction. And some of the stuff in the middle I’ll just keep to myself.


  • Maureen Spearman

    Hi Stephanie,
    How about some discussion questions from your “Beneath The Mimosa Tree” for a book club.
    Am waiting for my copy to arrive from Amazon! Can’t wait to read it!
    Maureen Spearman

  • yellowlancer

    I know how your parents must feel 🙂 I won a prize in a poetry competition nearly ten years ago for a poem about a son/daughter who has to approach an elderly father about giving up driving. I got so many letters/emails sympathising, telling me how hard it must have been to approach my Dad. Of course, it wasn’t MY Dad, it came to me after I followed an elderly man along a road near my home, going at a snail’s pace and looking very disoriented. My Dad is getting older, as we do, but is still a very competent driver. Your novel sounds like a great read1

  • Steph's Scribe/Stephanie Verni


    You are quite right. Congrats on a prize in poetry. That’s an accomplishment! It is funny when people assume that everything you write is personal and that you’ve experienced it. That’s why we have imaginations.

    I doubt anyone asked J.K. Rowling if her story was based on personal experience. LOL. (Though I know she’s a wizard where book sales are concerned.)


  • Tim Miller

    LOL this is funny. When my first book came out years ago, EVERYONE I knew was trying to “find” themselves in my book, or assuming they were one of the characters. There was one guy I did make him a character in my book, but I had to. He is so cartoonish in real life, I couldn’t not make him a character. He got a kick out of it.

    One thing was funny, I was with my ex wife back then. My main female character was a tall, beautiful blonde. My ex was a short brunette. So she was all “Who is THAT supposed to be????” Truth is, it was no one other than a chick I made up for the story. lol

  • Steph's Scribe/Stephanie Verni


    I love when I can make things up. I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t. That’s the appeal–I get to make up things and make them happen the way I want them to happen.

    It doesn’t always work that way in real life. Right? But in fiction, it absolutely can work that way.


  • Cheryl Klein

    Sometimes I relate so much to my characters emotionally that I forget to clarify that our experiences are actually really different. I’m like, “Oh, Felix in Lilac Mines is totally me,” then have to add that no, I never got gay-bashed on the streets of West Hollywood (thank god). Like a lot of authors, I create characters who have a lot in common with me, then put them in situations totally different from my own. Sounds like you do too.

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