If you haven't read the first two re-posts and would like to get up to speed with the other club members, you can click here and then here. Go ahead. The rest of us will wait while you get caught up.
Okay then! Now on to Part 3, which originally appeared as part of a What We're Reading Wednesday link-up post on October 16, 2013:
Recently, my husband and I were in our hometown for the funeral of his uncle, and we ran into our high school biology teacher (a woman I admired, and upon whom Grace Kelly's Latin teacher is very loosely based). She told my husband that she'd seen my mother not long ago and that my mother had told her that my book is our story--as in the story of my husband and me and our high school romance. Now, I don't want to give any spoilers for those of you who haven't read FG and might do so one day (fingers crossed!); but Grace Kelly and Tom Buckley's story is a far, far cry from ours. My mother is not a liar; but as my husband told our old bio teacher, "If that's what she said, then she hasn't read it." (I'm pretty sure this is the case, actually.)
There are a lot of people, incidents, and conversations in FG that were inspired by real life but were tweaked to fit my story. After I'd been writing the book for about 3 years or so, I bought a copy of Jon Spence's Becoming Jane Austen, which I found on the Barnes & Noble clearance shelf. Here are a couple of quotes from this incredible book that just jumped out at me, because--at the risk of putting my humble self in the same sentence with a literary giant like Austen--I thought, "Yes! That's it! That's what I'm doing here!"
"Jane wrote her early pieces for the amusement of her family and friends, and she put in shared jokes, teasing jibes, and allusions to real events in their lives."
"Austen is never autobiographical in the crude sense of recording what happened to her or to people she knew. But a real situation was sometimes her starting point and developed in her imagination as something quite separate from the 'real'."
Case in point: on the day of my high school junior prom, I went over to the gym in the morning to help with last-minute decorations, and I fell backwards off a ladder. I blacked out for just a moment, and I was left with a painful egg on the back of my head. So Grace and I both attended our proms with eggs on our noggins, escorted by handsome gap-toothed dates. But Grace never fell off a ladder--and if you want to know how she bumped her head, you'll have to read the book. [Wink, wink.]
Until next time! Stay tuned for Part 4, which I'll share at the next club "meeting."