— There is a maxim in creative writing courses that states: Write about what you know. The reason for these words is simple. If you write what you know, then your descriptions, setting, and even dialogue will flavor your
work with authenticity, making your world believable for the reader. If you write about what you know, the reader will have a better chance to enter your fictive dream, empathize with it, and even recognize it, especially if they’ve had experiences similar to those found in your works. This, obviously, does not apply to creative works such as fantasy or science fiction, where the fun, to the reader, is about the discovery of new intriguing worlds and fantastical characters. And even then, characters and plot points have to have an anchor in that maxim in order for the reader to empathize with the writing. If it is too alien and too unrecognizable, there will be an issue. There will be no emotional link. But that is for another discussion. Everything in my works, from the suspense/thriller novels to my short story collection, has elements of this “write what you know.” In my short story collection, The Fish Tank: And Other Short Stories, the section “Soul Songs” deals with personal, Cuban exile experiences,
fictionalized to show the reader the tribulations of losing self, home, and country. My second novel, The Book of Hours, uses the reproduction of a medieval manuscript for the suspense plot point, which ties into my knowledge of twelfth century French Romances, which was the theme of my Masters Degree. And, for my first novel, which I will discuss here, I used my knowledge of the French Riviera as a plot point to write a thriller.