Updated: Dec 14, 2020
People always ask if the stories I write are about me. No, their stories are not mine.
But, yeah, #Me Too.
My fictional characters have more dramatic experiences than me, but Me Too. I was drugged and “taken advantage of” (as we mistakenly called it back then) in my dorm room. I’ve worked in what they now call a hostile work environment more than once. Actually, if you include annoying garbage like the boy behind me in Spanish continually trying to undo my bra, there are too many incidents to list.
As a writer, I use all of it to make my fiction come alive.
In Running Away, Peg marries the wrong guy. He molests her daughter Maggie, who runs away because she’s sure no one will believe her. She’s right. Her mother’s first reaction is denial. Why? Because the predator skillfully manipulated each of them to damage their formerly strong bond. Fortunately for Maggie, her mom’s denial doesn’t last long.
When Peg’s telling a co-worker how she wants to drop everything and go look for Maggie herself, she tells him she ran away at the same age and “My parents thought I was dead for ten years.” The novel is as much about the mother as the daughter. Peg’s been running away from her past all her life.
I didn’t convey that clearly to agents or editors, so I ended up self-publishing. When I sold the screenplay, I never got to talk with the director and with the addition of a few short scenes, he changed the mom’s backstory and made the villain obviously evil. While most of the script is still mine and Running Away is a good Lifetime movie, someday I hope to see it redone with my characters and the theme as intended.
Meanwhile, readers asked for Peg’s story and I’ve finally finished it. It starts while she’s an innocent teen, but it’s her “Me Too” story and the long way back to liking herself enough to be comfortable with all of her past.
Keep an eye out for it: Peg’s Story: Detours.