The short answer is no; typically, I do not write about my own life. That doesn’t mean my contacts and experiences don’t influence my writing, because they do. Allow me to explain…
When I say I don’t write about my life, what I mean is that I am not interested in writing my life’s story. It’s not that my life wouldn’t make for an interesting story; it would. Rather, it’s that I find the details of my personal experiences sacred, both the good and bad. Perhaps someday I’ll write a memoir, but I don’t see that coming any time soon.
I do, however, allow for influences from my experiences. For example, in my new book, The Wanderer, my protagonist travels the world to a lot of different places that I have either visited or lived in. The things I saw and experienced play a heavy role in the descriptions of settings.
By the same token, traveling the world myself, I meet a lot of interesting people of all nationalities and heritages. If someone strikes me as being unique, they might just see a bit of themselves in one of my characters.
It’s a fine line to draw though. As an author, you do have creative liberty, but that only goes so far. If you based a character entirely on an actual person, you could be facing an eventual lawsuit for slander, defamation of character, or a horde of other charges. The same goes for businesses. For example, you can use chains and popular businesses like McDonald’s in your content without ramifications providing your content is not derogatory toward their businesses. However, if you call out a one-off company in a way that sheds a bad light on their business, you could be facing trouble.
Like everything else with writing, it’s a balancing act. Unless you actually are writing a non-fiction memoir, the rule of thumb is to be careful about how much you include from your own life experience. Hope that helps.
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