Thursday, June 1, 2017

Behind the Scenes

As Heather Woodhaven, the romantic suspense author, I spend lots of time researching to get the danger and suspense right. But as Heather, the magnet for embarrassing moments, my characters often get assigned at least one of my many traits. It’s said that truth can be stranger than fiction, so sometimes it’s hard to know what to draw from in my real life.


 For instance, in May’s Texas Takedown, the heroine struggles with sleepwalking. It’s quite a disadvantage for a character when you’re trying to stay out of danger. So why did I do it? Sleepwalking apparently happens in moments of stress or anxiety.

Confession time: From a young age, any time I went to a sleepover or a summer camp, the next morning I would hear tales of my grand adventures. As a young teenager, my mom endured me asking to watch a James Bond movie at three in the morning (that might’ve made it into the book.)

In college, I thought I’d grown out of it, but as a newly married pastor’s wife on a trip with the youth group to a cabin in the woods, the teens said I was determined to find a bus driver in the early morning hours. I have no recollection of any of these events so one night I decided to set up a motion-sensing recorder. While I didn’t walk around that night, I had a surprising amount of things to say.

The best part? My husband responded to everything, resulting in an entertaining, nonsensical conversation on tape that neither one of us could recall.

I haven’t had any instances of sleepwalking ever since becoming a mother, but my children have treated me to some entertaining stories of their own in the wee hours. And it often happens when we travel or something is weighing heavily on their minds.
Have you ever struggled with sleepwalking or talking (or so you’ve been told)?

In July’s Tracking Secrets, my heroine is won over by an absolutely adorable black lab. Almost ten years ago, our own dog, Sugar, won our hearts in an animal shelter. While potty training her in January in the Cascade Mountains isn’t something I recommend, Sugar has led me into many adventures.

I’ve seen a moose, a bear, a bobcat, and an eagle because of her. I’ve also readied myself to defend against a potential attacker wearing a headlamp who came running toward me in the dark while potty training her (it turned out to be our senior pastor on a run.) So it seemed high time to give Sugar a little tribute by including her in my latest suspense.

Do you have dogs? Have they led you into any adventures?


Have you had instances where true life would definitely seem too strange to be included in fiction?


Hope you have a wonderful week,
Heather Woodhaven

23 comments:

  1. I think most writers put a little bit of themselves into their characters. If I don't, sometimes it's really hard to completely get into their "heads."

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  2. Lisa, I agree. I find that places I've visited and things I do find their way into my books all the time. It just helps us flesh out our characters.

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    1. Yes, it makes such a difference to visit the place in person.

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  3. I love your sleepwalking story, Heather! Now, I can't wait to read Texas Takedown. In Protective Measures, two little girls (based on my daughters) rescued a small white dog they named Fluff. No sooner was the book finished editing then we somehow ended up rescuing our own small, white, fluffy dog from the local shelter. Now I have to be careful what they talk me into writing. ;)

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    1. That's hilarious! No future cat stories? ;)

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  4. I love when experiences lend themselves to a story I'm writing at the time. Your story of Sugar touched me. Pets do have a way of wiggling into our hearts. I'm glad Sugar has her moment in your new book.

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  5. My granddog, Bear, is in two of my stories. The grandchildren consider him a celebrity! :)

    My son walked a few times in his sleep when he was little. One night I thought he was a burglar who had gotten into our house. Hmmm? Perhaps that should go into a future story. :)

    Love the pictures of your pup! He's adorable!

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  6. I often use real-life happenings in my books. My only interaction with a sleepwalker was one Christmas when all the family was gathered at my mother-in-law's house, and my brother-in-law took a sleep walk in which he started to eat the potpourri that my mother-in-law had in a fancy bowl on the table. He remembered none of it the next morning.

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    1. That's hilarious. Glad he got caught before eating enough to get a stomachache. ;)

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    2. Oh how terrible, Merrillee! Glad someone stopped him before he ate it all!

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  7. It takes courage to share our own stories! I've never been a sleepwalker myself but I know people who had to put bells on doors so that they would wake up if one of their kids tried to wander outside!

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    1. Super thankful I never had to sleep with bells.

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  8. I love it. Sleepwalking leads to interesting stories. My best friend in high school dreamed that the ceiling was cracking in her bedroom, so she jumped up, ran through the living room (where her family was awake watching telly) and flew out the front door in her jammies. Her dad literally had to tackle her before she ran into the street.
    Thanks for bringing back that memory. I'd not thought of it in a while.

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  9. My husband and my daughter both sleep work and sleep talk. One time my daughter woke up screaming, I want more tacos five tacos!

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  10. My brother sleepwalked and took down the drapes in the bedroom. Then he climbed up onto a pie safe and knocked the whole thing down. Another time, he got a gun and tried to shoot the ceramic ducks my mother had hanging on the wall. (My daddy hid the guns after that one.)

    I don' sleepwalk but I'm a klutze. I've almost fallen off a mountain twice and was saved by my husband both times, thankfully. I don't do much mountain climbing these days!

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    1. Scary! Both things! Glad your hero husband was there.

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  11. Hi Heather! I don't sleepwalk, but I do sometimes wake up in the middle of the night very disoriented. Once, while I was student teaching and living in a dorm room with three other women, I woke up at one in the morning, convinced that we had all overslept. My roommates were not happy when I woke them all up. By the time they had convinced me that it was the middle of the night, we were all wide awake. oops.

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    1. I've done that before, Dana! Thankfully without roommates. I was fully showered and dressed and ready to go. Went to get breakfast and realized it was only three a.m. ;)

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