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Do I Use My Real-Life Experiences in My Books?

Well, yes and no.

May 22 Blog Pauline Baird Jones

Do I use my real-life experiences when I write my books?

Well, let’s see. I’ve never been to another galaxy or traveled through time. I did live in New Orleans for 18 years but never solved a crime while living there. 

Now my first book, The Spy Who Kissed Me, was definitely inspired—in part—by the very first Gulf War and my watching Scarecrow and Mrs. King. The war was real, and the show wasn’t even close to real. 

And Spy ended up not being very real either—though I think it is very funny, which is how I approach my real life. 

The Last Enemy was prompted by a dream—or a nightmare. Are those real? Not real?

The books that followed, Byte Me and Missing You, weren’t even close to my real life. 

I mean, let’s face it, I’m a hermit who is now living in Northern Wyoming and who only leaves the house to get ice cream with her sister. (I do leave for a few other reasons, but my preference is always not to leave if ice cream isn’t involved.)

Now Dangerous Dance, my lone romantic gothic, was definitely inspired by a real-life event. We were given tickets to the Do at the Zoo. Or the Zoo To Do? I don’t remember now, but it was a fancy Do with attendees in fancy dress, jazz music, and yummy food—at the zoo at night. 

It was a crazy mix of brilliant and scary dark, with the animals complaining outside the bright lights. I turned to the hubs and said out loud, “This would make a great place for a murder.”

What comes from my real life, or at least from my brain, are the characters that people my books. They are composites of the brave and amazing people I’ve met through the years. 

I don’t look at someone and think, “I have to put them in a book.” I’m not that direct. All the people go into my brain blender and come out unrecognizable. A new person but with the genetics of real people? I guess that’s what I’d call it.

Now I’ll add the caveat that this does not apply to my villains. I don’t know where they come from. Though I did once see this truly creepy man outside a hotel, and he does pop up in a book now and again. Just looking at him made my skin crawl. 

So now you know. I do and don’t use real-life experiences in my books. 😂

So are you relieved? Surprised? A little of both?

Perilously yours,


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