Inquiring minds want to know:
Since becoming a published author, all of two months, I’ve been asked repeatedly whether Just Friends With Benefits is autobiographical. I’ve been told by numerous friends and family members that they picture the main character as me. Some have gone further to say that they feel as if they are having a conversation with me and others have said, “the book is SO you.” I’ve received phone calls from friends, “I have questions for you…,” “We need to talk!” and “Did you really allow a bunch of frat boys to stick your head in the toilet in college?”
These questions don’t bother me. In fact, they make me laugh. To all inquiring minds and for the record, however, I hereby declare that Just Friends With Benefits is a work of fiction. “Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.” Really, the story came from my very overactive imagination. (It was about time I found a good use for it.)
Ok, ok. I see some of my friends shaking their heads, not buying this answer due to the glaring similarities between Stephanie Lynn Cohen and Meredith Gail Schorr. (And for those who know me better, Stephanie’s mother and my own mother.) Fine. Yes, there is a lot of me in Stephanie. We both love the Yankees, we never tire of discussing television trivia, both of us nickname our boyfriends without their knowledge, and we both tend to over-analyze. (And neither of us can hold her gin.) We’d probably be friends if we lived in the same galaxy. Or maybe we’d be mortal enemies. (I’d probably think she was annoying and thank God I was nothing like her.) But Stephanie does not exist outside of the pages of the book, nor do her friends, family or love interest(s). While small bits and pieces of the story have their origins from real-life and some of the characters are loosely inspired by people I’ve known, they were all used out of context and the events of the story are completely fictitious.
I didn’t purposely lend Stephanie aspects of my personality; it just sort of ‘happened.’ You really have to get into your main character’s head and since I’m already in my own head, it felt natural. I wonder whether most authors insert characteristics of themselves into their characters, especially in their first novels. And whether, like me, they were busted by friends and family. It’s worth noting that the main character in my work in progress (Jane) is nothing like Stephanie (or me) and, so far, writing her story is equally as fun.
I’m glad I’ve set the record straight but before I go, I’d like to leave you with a few fun facts – without giving away major plot points/spoilers (or embarrassing myself too much):
1. Like Stephanie, after too many gin and tonics, I once patted the belly of a senior partner like the Buddha. Sorry, Mr. Filardi. *bows her head in shame*
2. Like Stephanie, I sat behind a hottie in Criminal Justice class and fought the urge to lick the back of his neck. (He shall remain anonymous. But for those of you who want to guess at home, he was on the wrestling team.)
3. Like Stephanie, I once walked out in public with my skirt tucked into my jacket. (Hopefully, it was just that one time…)
4. Like Stephanie, I twirl my hair when I’m nervous.
Finally, unlike Stephanie, I would NEVER let anyone stick my head in the toilet. Now that’s just nasty.
Until next time,