Thursday, June 10, 2010

Was It Something I Said?

Working Stiffs welcomes Simon Wood for another visit!

I recently learned that someone is convinced that something in one of my books is real and I did it.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  A few years ago, a woman at a book club who had read ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN asked me in all seriousness how many times I’d cheated on my wife because the story dealt with infidelity.  Others have pushed me for answers about different aspects of my stories and my culpability.  It can be a little disconcerting when someone asks you, “did you ever get caught stealing cars?”  At the same time, I can understand why people will read something and put two and two together and come up with five.  It might be fiction, but for any slice of fiction to be believable, the element of realism has to be strong.  It has to get the reader to suspend their disbelief and buy into what they're reading. 

A writer’s storytelling style plays into this problem too.  While any writer can proclaim that their writing is a reflection of the world around them, a book says more about the writer’s world view than anybody else’s.  I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I show more than a little thigh from time to time in my stories.  It’s impossible for my sensibilities and insensibilities not to show.
By the same token, when someone rushes up to me and demands to know how many times I’ve cheated on my wife, it reveals a lot more about their life and sensitivities than it does about mine.   That’s the bugger about any story.  Once it’s out there in the open, it’s a mirror and we all see something different when we gaze into it.

When it comes to the crimes I may or may not have committed, I have to fall back on Sharon Stone’s defense in BASIC INSTINCT.  If  I’d committed a crime, do you think I’d be daft enough to admit it in writing?  I’m dumb, but not that dumb.  :-)

I will admit that while none of my stories are reenactments of things that have happened to me, there are flickers of personal experiences contained within the pages.  While it would be nice to regurgitate life stories in my books, it doesn’t work that way.  They just don’t fit well within the confines of a novel.

That said, I do occasionally insert a few inside jokes in my stories for my amusement and the amusement of friends, coworkers and family.  Perhaps, an old boss’ name is used for a character who comes to a grizzly end.  Sometimes I do things for my enjoyment only and the eye rolls of others.  I used Julie’s name for a character whose husband was cheating on her and I killed my mother-in-law in another.  Don’t worry, I haven’t done these things but I know I’m going to get a groan out of them when they read the story. 

Of all the things I’ve been accused of doing in real life no one has accused me of killing anyone.  I guess I should be flattered by the fact that some people think I’m an adulterer, a thief, or a blackmailer, but not a murderer.

It’ll be interesting to see the kind of remarks I get for my latest, TERMINATED.  That story features a bitter and twisted man who victimizes his female boss as a way of striking back at a world he views as unfair.  There's even cruelty to the elderly, so heaven knows what people will say about that.

I suppose my only advice to you, my readers, is not to wonder about the things I write about, but the things I don’t write about.   :-)

Yours innocently,
Simon Wood
Simon Wood is an ex-racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. A longhaired dachshund and five cats dominate their lives. He's had over 150 stories and articles published. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines anthologies, such as Seattle Noir, Thriller 2 and Woman’s World. He's a frequent contributor to Writer's Digest. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper and We All Fall Down. As Simon Janus, he's the author of The Scrubs and Road Rash. His latest thriller, Terminated, is out in mass paperback. Curious people can learn more at


Gina said...

Welcome, Simon. You actually wrote a novel titled "Working Stiffs?" You definitely belong here! ;-)

Annette said...

Welcome to Working Stiffs, Simon. I agree with Gina with regards to the novel title.

Thanks for the laugh this morning. I've had readers think a restaurant I'd used as a setting was real, and they've asked me where exactly it was because they wanted to go there...something I definitely took as a compliment. So far no one has accused me of the crimes I've written about, though. What fun to keep them guessing!

Joyce said...

Thanks for coming back to visit, Simon.

My characters lead much more interesting and exciting lives than I do. If I included too much of my real life in my stories, it would be an awfully boring read! I mean, really. Who wants to read about dusting, vacuuming, cooking, and cleaning up cat puke?

Anonymous said...

Would you consider killing someone else's mother-in-law? Which I'm asking for no particular reason.

Simon Wood said...

Hi all,

Thanks for having me back at Wroking Stiffs. I'm glad to have put a smile on your faces.

Nancy: Depends? What's the fee?

I may have to cut and run today. I head for Seattle as part of my book tour.

Thanks again.

M Pax said...

Amusing. It must really take you aback at first. Then I think I'd find it amusing as I enjoy messing with people's heads. :D

Simon Wood said...

i think the only time it takes me aback is when someone gets really bent out of shape by what's written and berates me or gets very agressive and demands a confession.

I think the more disconerting interaction I'll have with the public is when someone trashes crime/genre fiction for ten minutes and they will ask me if I agree.