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January 2019: Fact in Fiction
~ Kathy Otten ~

CTR asked:

How much of your real life bleeds over into your books? And do you worry that someone will be able to tell the fact from the fiction?

Kathy Otten said:

I write primarily historical romance, so in that respect my real life doesn’t bleed into my books.

I grew up and live in a small farm town. My life has been surrounded by animals: dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, horses, and cows. For the most part I know how they think and react, and when a cowboy hero in my book saddles or rides a horse I draw on my real life experiences.

My mother had a lot of antiques around our house, most handed down through the family. There were often stories attached to them, and I became familiar with their purpose and how to use them. That bit of knowledge helps when I consider the settings and the occupations of my characters.

I don’t base my characters on anyone I know. I see them in my mind, fully formed. But people are people whether or not their backstory and goals are created. I do watch. See how folks react to both one another and to situations in order to show, not tell my stories.

And I’d say bits of who I am as a person, my moral code of what is right and good in humanity is at the core of all my characters. A heroine might be a little immature and self-absorbed, but down deep she is a caring person, fiercely loyal, and loving. In that respect those who know me might recognize pieces of me in my stories.

I had friends growing up, and still do, but none who I’d term a BFF. I was close with my mother and my brothers. My dad also taught us family business stays in family, so I never shared much personal stuff outside that immediate circle. I have noticed that none of my heroines have a best friend with whom they share intimate details of their lives and go to for support and advice. It was never intentional. I suppose I don’t naturally know to create that kind of secondary character.

Much the same way as an artist is recognized by their work, I suppose my writing may reflect who I am. And who I am is a reflection of all the people who have touched my life, both good and bad. While I don’t use real people in my stories, readers may recognize bits of themselves in my characters.


A Place in Your Heart by Kathy Otten cover

A Place in Your Heart

[Civil War Romance]

Gracie McBride isn’t looking for love; she’s looking for respect. But in this man’s world of Civil War medicine, Gracie is expected to maintain her place changing beds and writing letters. Her biggest nemesis is the ward surgeon, Doctor Charles Ellard, who seems determined to woo her with arrogant kisses and terrible jokes.

Charles is an excellent surgeon. He assumed he would be well received by an army at war. He was not. Friendless and alone, he struggles to hide the panic attacks that plague him while the only person who understands him is a feisty Irish nurse clearly resolved to keep him at a distance.

But Charles is sent to the battlefield, and Gracie is left with a wounded soldier, a box of toys, and a mystery which can only be solved by the one man she wishes could love her, both as a woman and a nurse.

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