By Tasche Laine
Have you ever wondered where your favorite authors get ideas for their books? Were they inspired by true life experiences? Did inspiration come to them in a dream? Or did they just make the whole thing up using nothing but their imaginations?
In the article, “How an Author’s Life Influences Literary Works,” by Angela Janovsky, “Every person has individual experiences that affect his or her personality, and an author is no different. History, gender, race, and other factors have a strong influence on (an author’s) writing.”
Before I wrote my latest book, CHAMELEON, I got an idea for a psychological thriller. Using the worst character traits from every guy I ever dated, and borrowing a couple from friends’ dating horror stories, I came up with the scheming, manipulative, and narcissistic psychopath, Geoffrey Jensen.
We’ve all met guys like Geoffrey, to a point. But Geoffrey is that maniac who cut you off on the freeway last week—on steroids times ten! He’s every girl’s dream guy and worst nightmare rolled into one.
Once I had the idea for my main story, I began to flesh it out.
Since many of my readers shared with me that they didn’t understand some of the choices Tara made in CLOSURE, my first book, I decided to continue with that character and let her explain herself—in CHAMELEON. It turns out, Tara had more to say.
Even though my first book is a fictional memoir, and the character of Tara is based on me and events in my own life, I thought it would be fun to let the fictional character take over in the next book. So, I turned her life into a domestic thriller!
Since CHAMELEON continues where CLOSURE left off, I brought in Joe and Jalina, who are both loosely based on my ex-husband and daughter. But again, they’ve been fictionalized.
The only character in my latest book who is based on a real-life person is my favorite character—Dorey Dalton. In the book, she’s single and Tara’s best friend. But the real Dorey was so much more. She is the true inspiration behind CHAMELEON. She is the person who inspired me to follow my dream of becoming a published author. And she gave me the gentle nudge I needed when I didn’t think I could do it.
The real-life Dorey Madrid was a beloved high school English teacher of twenty-four years, devoted wife and mother to two amazing kids, and my friend. She loved to laugh, fish, travel, read, and cause mischief.
She was a friend to all who knew her, and feisty until the very end. She fought valiantly for four years, remaining hopeful and optimistic with every round of chemotherapy. She touched thousands of lives, inspired many students to follow their dreams, and is missed every day by her former students, family, friends, and me.
Sadly, Dorey lost her battle to breast cancer last summer. I wrote her into my book because I needed a part of her to stay alive—if only in my writing. I believe writing about her, even if it was a younger fictional version of her, helped my grieving process. I only hope I captured a glimpse of her essence, honored her legacy, and made her proud.
Thanks for reading some of the inspiration for CHAMELEON. If you would like to pick up a copy you can do that here. And watch for the audiobook to be released in June!