WHAT’S THE TRUTH IN FICTION? by Victoria Giraud

Writers draw inspiration and emotions from their own lives, no matter what genre it is, from horror, adventure and romance to historical fiction.

When I wrote Melaynie’s Masquerade, my 16th century historical fiction novel, I didn’t realize until I’d finished how much I’d culled from my own aspirations, family life and experiences. In “real” life, I’d grown up with a tough sarcastic father, so I gave my heroine (a version of myself, of course) a loving and indulgent father.  I had lots of newspaper experience so Melaynie’s father owned a printing shop. The Renaissance Faire in Southern California had always attracted me, and so had Francis Drake, a prominent English hero in the days of Queen Elizabeth I. I didn’t have to search far for the fictional names: I used the monikers of my brother, sister, and teenage boyfriend.

I’ve always loved history. Was that because I grew up as an Army brat and lived in various parts of the world? With an inquisitive mind that ponders the bigger picture of why the world is the way it is and why certain things happen, it was natural for me to gravitate toward writing something historical. I’d even graduated from William and Mary in Colonial Williamsburg, which was founded in 1693 and is the second oldest college in the U.S.

Disguises and women playing at being men intrigued me from a young age. Perhaps because I grew up among the mostly male military and before women had the power and choices they do now. Melaynie, my heroine, believes men have all the fun and adventure, and she was right, especially in the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth, however, was an early feminist and kept her power by playing countries and courtiers against each other without succumbing to the demands that she marry. Melaynie wanted to see what it was like to play a male before she got too old to make that choice. With guts and imagination (mine, of course), she succeeds in her masquerade but finds an unexpected surprise: a brief but passionate romance.

The adventure of researching and writing an historical novel was one of my most satisfying endeavors, even though it took me five years before I was satisfied with the story. I left the story open-ended in case I wanted to add a sequel. My cousin Penny continues to encourage me to write more and I will begin my conclusion this year. Since I know, more or less, what I want to write, it shouldn’t take too long.

In the meantime, I am publishing a few new stories on Amazon. They are short Ebooks, called Singles, and like Melaynie, they are all based on my life in some way. Unlike Melaynie’s specific story, these are true stories. They are not all from my point of view, I have changed all the names to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent.

Stay tuned for my announcement of: Weird Dates and Strange Fates, Angels in Uniform, and The Magic of Pink Glasses.

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