Recently, I did an interview and some other posts around a certain author and her series of books. It got me to thinking. I pondered about the idea that this author took the old chestnut, ‘write what you know’, to heart. I thought about how much I enjoyed her books and was struck by the tone of authenticity throughout. This led to a ponder about why I thought I could trust that it was authentic since it was stuff beyond my own experience or knowledge. Some of us are moved by characters or genre or setting or tropes, and I am one of those, but I discovered in this bout of thinking I did that I’m also strongly influenced by an author’s background. I am one who trusts in the authenticity more so when I learn that the author has ‘expert’ knowledge if you will.
I want to put out a disclaimer here and now that by saying all that I am in this discussion does not mean that I think those who write about people, places, and plots way out of their own experiences are producing subpar books. Not the case at all. There are some fantastic written works that prove the writer can hit bulls-eye center on authenticity without personal experience being involved. We do live in the information age and some folks are gifted with strong intuition and imagination.
But that said, apparently, I do feel a stronger tug toward books written by folks who ‘write what they know’. I’m going to share some examples of this:
Military Romance is probably the biggest example I can think of.
- Jessica Scott and her Coming Home and her Falling series. She was career military and she writes military romance that touches on soldiers dealing with issues on the home front and within the organization.
- Jeanette Murray and her Sempre Fi and her First to Fight series. She is married to career military and understands the life that she writes about.
- Anne Elizabeth and her West Coast SEALs. She is married to a retired SEAL
Cowboy Romance and Small Town America
- Carolyn Brown and her long backlist of stories about ranch life, small ranch towns, cowboys and cowgirls grew up in the heart of cowboy country.
- Marilyn Pappano and her Tallgrass series about a small Oklahoma town, cowboys, and military. She grew up there and lives there.
- Hope Ramsay and her Last Chance series. She grew up spending summers in small town South Carolina and guess what this lady writes about?
Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy
- Patricia Briggs and her Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series are set right in the lady’s stomping grounds.
- Terry Spear and her Heart of a Wolf series. This dear lady studies wolves in the wild and writes mostly about werewolves.
- Cari Z. and her Panapolis series. She writes about superheroes and villains with great fight scenes because she enjoys her weaponry and geeks out over comics.
Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense
- Katie Ruggle and her Search & Rescue series. Katie lived off grid in Colorado and also worked S&R. Guess what she wrote about?
- Anne DeStefano and her Seasons of the Heart and Echoes of the Heart series. Anne has strong grief and family issues in her stories and she was a grief and crisis counselor for her day job.
- Kim Jones and her Sinner’s Creed series. Kim writes biker romance and she is a biker’s lady.
And I could keep going, but I’ll spare you. Haha! Now what about you? Does an author’s background play a part in you choosing their books or not really? What is a book/series you read that you know you like at least in part because you know the author ‘wrote what they knew’? Do tell!