Message invited by the author Stéphanie LaVigne
Stephanie LaVigne is an author of detective novels and bestselling novels. She appears frequently in media, including podcasts, television, magazines, and online author interviews. Connect with her on your favorite social media platforms and sign up for her newsletter at www.StephanieLaVigne.com to be up to date with what’s happening in her part of the world! You can find Stéphanie on Instagram, Facebook, Bookbub, and Goodreads.
Have you ever wondered if your favorite books are creations of the author’s imagination, or if the stories are a reflection of their lives and experiences?
This is a question I am often asked in interviews. Initially, I replied that my books were purely fictitious, based on situations that I found interesting. For example, I have never been a cowgirl or faked my own death. (Surprisingly, I know.) These are pseudonyms that I can take, so I can play in and live in a fantasy world.
Then one day, all of a sudden, wam!
I realized that I had been lying all this time. Worse yet, I don’t think anything in my life has ever been safe from being stolen and then slipped into the pages of my books!
Stranger still, it turned out not to be that simple. My life and my stories began to resemble a deep, philosophical, chicken and egg philosophical situation. Could this be the law of attraction at work? Some sort of witchcraft magic that I didn’t know I had? I’m still not sure. But here’s where my theory begins …
Life imitates art, which imitates life, which imitates art …
Here is my most recent example:
It happened last week at the cafe near my house. The day I realized my “real life” and “writing life” had turned into a perfect self-sustaining eight.
My best writer friend and I had gone to work in the cafe. Normally we each work from our home offices, but in an effort to keep ourselves on our toes we decided to turn things around.
The perfect, hidden “don’t talk to us” worktable was already occupied. Undeterred, we made our way to the set of upholstered chairs that sat comfortably in front of a smokehouse-inspired sofa. What he lacked in terms of antisocial boundaries he made up for in style.
A few minutes after the start of the installation, a handsome young man settled down on the sofa in front of us. Polite nods led to an attempt to ignore the proximity. He enjoyed his lunch as my friend and I quietly entered into a discussion of our current and upcoming book series. We talked about quirky detectives; we spoke of romance from enemies to lovers; we talked about sexy shirtless shapeshifers, magical cats and other foods that we have become insensitive to, considering this to be normal everyday conversation. With nothing but her sandwich and her beauty to focus on, our roommate finally jumped on the water to ask, “What are you two doing for work?” “
For no reason not to, I started telling her the story I was working on where my heroine hid in a women’s prison to protect herself from the ‘big bad’. However, she quickly finds herself freed by a well-meaning socialite turned lawyer, so she must come up with a plan B. A change of identity and the need to hide in plain sight leads my brave heroine to uncover FloridaMan’s crimes in the United States. sides of a stoic, but lovable detective.
And that’s where it started to happen; my brain started to sort of channel my heroine. When our new friend from the cafe got up to grab a napkin, I saw a small key ring hanging from his hip.
“Do you work for the city?” ” I asked.
“Yes, I think so,” he replied with a curious seduction in his eyes.
I continued to dance around my interrogation. My questions were playful and suggestive, picking up clues from what he was saying and doing, using new lines to lead him onto paths that said more than he probably intended to share. It was fun and intriguing, and dare I say, a little badass. Everything I’m aiming for in my main female detective characters.
As I spoke, my brain was on fire. Have I become a female detective? Was I transforming into my characters out of sheer will?
When fiction begins to contaminate real life …
When local alerts hit my phone, or pass a recorded crime scene, or see a helicopter circling around the neighborhood, I immediately dive into my limited online resources. I’m trying to find out where the suspect is, or what crime may have been committed. Then my mind goes through each scenario the way it might have played out.
This year, I signed up for an online course on Forensic Pathology and Profiling, and began the process of obtaining my license as a private investigator… just like the main character in one of my book series. . But I don’t remember where the initial motivation came from. Did I secretly want to become a private investigator, so I created a character to live this life? Or did I think a female detective would make a cool character, and then the idea started to appeal to me in real life?
In fact, the life of this particular character started to look a lot like mine. (Minus the part where her husband mysteriously disappears and she ends up living on a houseboat, which is my dream. The houseboat part, not the disappearance of the husband. My spouse is already getting quite nervous because he thinks too much about my characters are widows.)
So real life inspires fiction …
The last twist of my fictional figure-of-eight brain came right after leaving the cafe on my way home. I worked on the construction of a new series of love stories, with several characters, who will find love over the course of several books. Suddenly, the handsome guy from the cafe came to mind. Through a few mouth-to-mouth comments from me, I had discovered that he was the city’s building inspector. A person not everyone likes, especially those who are trying to get a permit to complete their home construction or renovation project. What if…
… A trio of friends in my next books suddenly appeared. Book 1. The coffee scene unfolded. Two women, not entirely different from my best friend and I, were sitting in a cafe chatting. Our future heroine’s wedding ring was withdrawn because the ladies had just had their paraffin wax manicures. A curious stranger strikes up a friendly conversation with the duo, leading to an affectionate exchange. When the hot guy leaves, his friend teases her that he likes her. It was fun, but our daughter is married. She lets the Random Encounter be one of those little ego boosts that everyone deserves to have every now and then.
Fast forward to volume 3. Our heroine is back! Between Book 1 and Book 2, her failed marriage ends in divorce. Through volume 3, her own love story, she repairs an old house, ready to start her new life in the singleland. However, some silly and infuriating inspectors denied him some of his permits. Amid his flippant scolding from the faceless inspector, he walks over, a smirk spreading across his face. “Are you talking about me?” He asks with amusement.
Cue the return of our beautiful stranger to the cafe from book 1. And there begins their own love story on the theme of home improvement.
In circles and circles, it’s okay …
And so it will continue.
Parts of my current and future books will continue to manifest in my own life and provide subconscious inspiration to come back into the stories. And in circles, up and down, it will be fine.
So when you see me next time, ask how my private investigator license is going. And if it’s been ten years after this article was written, don’t be surprised if I have a full-fledged private investigator’s shingle hanging over my office door.
If I do, you’ll probably find me shaking my head wondering how life so strongly imitated art, which imitated life, which imitated art.
So think for a moment. What mischievous, ambitious or surprising things have made their way into your life from unexpected sources?