I am so pleased to have Bronwyn Storm, author of Ethan's Chase, guest posting here at Acting Balanced! I am also pleased to be reviewing her book here tomorrow, so take a peek into Bronwyn's world and don't forget to stop by again tomorrow to check out my review!
The question I’m most often asked is “how often does real life plays a role in your stories?” Okay…so that’s not totally true. The real question I’m most often asked is, “Whoa? They let you out of the sanatorium, already?” This is usually followed by a nervous smile, a “Whoops, there’s my cell,” and then the question-poser
screaming leaves to take the call.
But since that question isn’t writing-related, let’s just go with the initial question, hmm?
The answer is that real life is always the inspiration behind my stories. I write romantic comedies, and it’s been my experience that if you look hard enough at your life, you can always find a punch line in the craziest situations…goodness knows, when it came to romance and me asking a guy out on a date, well, it always made them chuckle. One guy laughed so hard, he actually herniated his diaphragm. I went to see him in the hospital, but as soon as I came in the room, he started laughing all over again, and I was asked to leave…I was also asked to never come back, but I think that was more to do with the Jell-O incident…or it might have been the mix-up with the hospital morgue and operating room…or maybe it was the—wait, what were we talking about, again?
Oh, right. Real life as an inspiration to art.
Below, I’ve chronicled some real life situations that were twisted and morphed into fictional incidents that took place in my romantic suspense/comedy, Ethan’s Chase.
Real Life: I was fourteen and madly in love with J.M. We took the (public) bus together and one day, as I’m coming out from school, I see him getting on the bus. I’m desperate for this guy to notice me, so I race for the bus. It starts to pull away from the curb, so I run faster. The driver notices me and stops. I’m so focused on where J.M. is, and if I can get a seat beside him, that I fail to notice that I haven’t cleared the steps…and I fall…flat-on-my-face-no-time-for-me-to-break-my-fall, fall.
Wait. It gets better.
I jump up, and take a seat. Everyone (including J.M. **swooning sigh**) asks if I’m okay. I’m trying to pretend that I’m not COMPLETELY humiliated, so I whip out my juice box and try to stab the straw in…just as the bus goes over a pot hole…and I spray fruit punch all over myself.
On the bright side, J.M. definitely noticed me…did I mention he’s the one who later ended up in hospital?
Fictional application: Chase is coming out of a coffee shop and she’s so focused on the fact they’ve given her the wrong drink, she fails to notice the corner or the super sexy guy coming around it…and promptly dumps amaretto steamed milk all over him.
Real life incident: I was out for dinner with my husband and we had this super awesome waitress. She was funny and smart, and she was putting herself through veterinary school, and playing for a national sports team…anyway, our patio umbrella was stuck and I wanted her to put it down…so she came over and I, in one of my trademark moments of It-Sounded-Way-Better-In-My-Head-Than-Out-Of-My-Mouth, said…well, something that was lost in translation and instead of coming out as I intended, which was all about how she was a Super Woman…I may have, inadvertently, intimated that she was a hooker…don’t even try to figure out how I managed that one…when it comes to Foot In Mouth Disease, I’m Patient Zero.
Fictional application: The whole anxiety mixed with adrenaline and coming out as the world’s dumbest statement led to this scene in Ethan’s Chase:
“I-ah, sorry.” Oh Lord. For pity’s sakes, she was Chase Logan, winner of the Toronto Businesswoman of the Year Award, owner of Bits and Bytes and all around competent, capable, courteous…she couldn’t think of any more c-words. But dammit, she just ran into a man, spilled hot milk all over him, and she could do no better than stammer and gape at him like a school girl with her first crush.
“Sir, are you all right?”
Maybe he didn’t speak English.
Okay, so he wasn’t a fellow Brazilian.
“Parlez-vous Francais? I hope not,” she muttered to herself. “After that, the only French phrase I know is Voulez-vous coucher avec—” She looked up, saw him watching her, and snapped her mouth shut.
A smile twitched at the edges of his firm lips.
“I speak English.”
Her insides rippled with pleasure at his rich, bass voice. The man crossed his arms in front of him and leaned a shoulder against the brick building. “So the only French phrases you know are “Do you speak English,” and “Do you want to sleep with…” His gaze ran over her in a sensual perusal that warmed her from her scalp straight down to the rubber soles of her Sorrels.
Chase winced and wanted to blurt, “I’m usually more attractive than this—ignore the boots, the oversized jacket, and the wind-tossed hair.”
“With what?” His deep voice rumbled and warmed the winter air currents to heat-wave temperatures. “Do I want to sleep with…?” He arched an eyebrow and waited.
Chase racked her brain, but ten years out of high school and her French had deteriorated from dismal to atrocious. “Ah…voulez-vous coucher avec les lunettes?”
The man grinned. “Do I want to sleep with the lights? French really isn’t your language, is it?”
He took a step closer to her. The spicy notes of his cologne seemed an extension of himself: totally male, full of strength, power, and seduction. One inhalation left her with a dry mouth, weak knees, and a palpitating heart.
“I think…” the warmth of his breath sent tingles down her spine, “what you meant to say was voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? Do you want to sleep with me, tonight? Yes?”
“Yes.” She jerked away, her eyes wide. “I mean, no! Ah—I mean, yes, the statement is correct, but I don’t want to sleep with you. Not tonight.”
His eyebrows rose in speculation.
“Oh! Not that I want to sleep with you any other night.”
He cocked his head.
Real life: I don’t know what it is with motion detectors and me that never seems to work. Maybe it’s because I’m smaller than most sixth-graders. All I do know is that in trying to leave a store with motion-detection doors, they didn’t go off and I (because I never pay attention until it’s too late) slammed into the glass, hurt my nose, smeared the glass, and stumbled around like a stunned bird.
Fictional application: Chase really wants that brownie in the vending machine, but wouldn’t you know the darn machine won’t work? Her attempts to get that chocolate fix are fine, not embarrassing at all…unless they’re seen by Ethan and guess what…yup, you guessed it, Ethan sees it…
Real life: I’m on the road, driving (I know, me behind the wheel. It’s enough to make you want to work from home for the rest of your life, eh?), and I come to a stop light. I glance into the rear-view mirror and see the guy behind me…picking his nose. Another time, I looked in the rear-view, and saw the guy behind me (still driving) drop his cigarette. He disappears from view and he bends down to retrieve his smoke, and I start wondering how to get out of the lane before he smucks me. He looks up (just in time, though I wonder if he had to change underwear afterwards) and slams on his breaks. Luckily, no accident. But I tell you, after those incidents, I don’t look in my rear-view after I come to a stop. I figure whatever the guy behind me is doing, I don’t need to see.
Fictional application: Ethan knows he’s been over sensitive with Chase. He knows he should apologize. He also knows he doesn’t have a clue how to do it. So, he leaves work, ends up locked in a traffic jam, looks into his rear-view mirror, and sees her. Suddenly, he knows exactly what he needs to say, and he’s got the benefit of being able to see her reaction without her knowing…
There are tons more examples of art imitating real life, but I’m not allowed to talk about those…something about confidentiality and out-of-court settlements…
You can visit her website at www.bronwynstorm.com.