When I talk to people about my books, I don’t have a problem saying, “There’s a small family in a small town living their American dream by taking in disadvantaged kids, while even adopting a few along the way. However, their latest addition is a little more special on the paranormal side than they ever thought possible!” See… that’s not so hard. It’s also pretty self-explanatory, right? Then why is it the first question out of many mouths is… “So, is this a true story?”
Okay, I’ll admit it… there is some truth to it. I mean, how can a person not see some slight parallel between Micah’s burns and how little Keenan Taylor died (little Keenan was two years old and was burned by his dad pouring boiling hot water over him), or how sometimes a child will fall through the system like Adam Herman (a 12 year old boy who went missing but the adoptive parents didn’t call the police even after 10 years). Maybe some people can relate to the issues the family in the book has with the bureaucracy of adoption (being that they are a mixed race couple, thereby considered ‘non-traditional’).
So, maybe it’s not a real cut and dry answer after all. If that’s the case, maybe I should go into the whole explanation instead of looking at the person as if they have two heads. However, the last time I did, that person looked at me like I had three! Either way, I guess my point is… in every story you’re going to have a little truth, no matter how painful, mixed in with the fiction. The same can be said for a non-fiction account of an event, it just depends on who interprets the data and what they want to convey.
I guess I’ll just go back to writing my stories, allowing the news to inspire as often as it disgusts me. Maybe one day I’ll know how to answer a simple question like, “Is this a true story?”… just not today.