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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Writing about your Neighborhood

When I wrote Rocket Man I knew I was going to get some heat. We had just moved from the city to the suburbs and I was in shock. My neighbors were much more conservative, wealthy, rural and just about everything I wasn't. The only thing we had in common was we lived on the same block. I had not written about my current life in any of my novels. I had skirted that by writing about the South and placing my books a good thousand miles away. But Rocket Man demanded to be written and so I set my book in own backyard. I knew I would get some heat.

The tricky thing about fiction is you cannot set limitations on yourself. Otherwise it simply will not work. You have to tell the truth and let the chips fall. Rocket Man is due out in September but I have already had reactions from people who read the book in manuscript. One woman asked when I was moving. Another family quit talking to us altogether. I imagine other people will feel much the same when it hits the shelves, but you really cannot worry about that if you are a writer of fiction.

In Rocket Man the main character does have resolution in his war with the suburbs and some people may think well there, I always knew the man was a jerk. But of course the trick in fiction is never to show your hand and always scream from the rooftops...it is fiction folks...FICTION!

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Books by William Hazelgrove