Monday, May 22, 2017

Putting Your Memories into the Story by Yolanda Renée

Hey everyone! Today I want to welcome Yolanda Renée to the Five Year Project as part of her blog tour for her new book, The Snowman. Take it away, Yolanda!

Putting Your Memories into the Story

Write what you know, we’ve all been told to do this, and I do it consistently. No, I don’t know anything about killing a person, or catching the culprit, at least personally, but I have studied and researched the topic. However, I do know a little about Alaska since I’ve lived there, and thanks to Google maps I can explore new and interesting places that I haven’t visited. I described 4th Avenue, written as Fourth Avenue, in my story because I could see it from my bedroom window when I lived in Anchorage, and yes it held some very risqué establishments. I’ve also purchased Alaskan Pottery that’s featured in the Reincarnation Chapter. I’ve visited several of the parks, Stowy’s favorite body dumping sites, such as Earthquake Park, a park created after the 1964, 9.4 earthquake that caused a residential neighborhood to slid into the ocean.

One of my first introduction to the state was the immense size of the bears that greet you as you walk through the Anchorage airport. Polar Bears, Kodiak’s, and grizzlies all skillfully preserved by taxidermists, (Stowy’s chosen hobby) all very intimidating.

I do that with all my stories, put a little of my memories into the mix, even statements once made to me by unsuspecting friends, or co-workers. Like when I first told folks that I was visiting Alaska during vacation. “Why would you want to visit that forsaken iceberg?” A former boss asked. I couldn’t believe his ignorance about our 49th state, but I never forgot his statement and allowed Fern Jenkins to use it when describing where she’d rather spend Thanksgiving.

“Don’t be foolish. Home is where Thanksgiving happens. Here. Not some forsaken iceberg.”

Another interesting side note might be the story as to how Stowy Jenkins got his name, Stone. I took that from a story my father told me about his father. How he’d taken my dad out to learn how to swim in an old coal mining quarry and threw him in. It was sink or swim! He swam, of course, but Stowy claims to have sunk like a rock – hence his nickname, Stone. This is a family story that I allowed Stowy to appropriate. He needed a good lie, and I’m sure way back when, that learning to swim in West Virginia happened this way more than once. Yes, my family is originally from West Virginia, and the name Stowy, is a family name. Another of my writing habits, using family names. . .

Writing what you know isn’t that difficult and I think it makes fiction writing all the more real! What do you think? Do you use your life in your stories? Please share a story or two in the comments.

Thanks, Misha, for hosting The Snowman Tour!

About Yolanda Renée

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can connect with me here:

Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest     *     Email

It takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.

Stowy Jenkins, aka, Stone, and as Alaskans refer to him, the Snowman, is a true artist. His muse, Gigi, is the ultimate inspiration for his painting. Her rejection inspires him to use a very unusual medium…blood.

While art may be his passion, the taste for blood is his obsession, and multiple murders, the result.

Rookie, Detective Steven Quaid, is no fan of the Snowman’s murderous exhibitions. A twisted and deadly relationship bond the two men and neither knows who will come out of it alive.

Buy on Amazon

Thanks for visiting, Yolanda! It's always nice to have you stop by. :-) 

What about you, awesome readers? Do you include your memories in your writing?


  1. The elements of Alaska do come alive throughout the story (and series). You can practically feel the cold no matter what the temperature is where you're reading.

    Misha, thanks for sharing this and for being a part of Yolanda's tour.

    MC Book Tours

  2. Great tour! Congrats to Yolanda. I've got my copy and it's next on my list to read. YAY!! Really looking forward to it.

  3. Thanks, Misha!

    I just read your last post, and I'm right there with you. Working, writing, blogging, and commenting, the time constraints are so limiting. I hope the deal with your brother works out, that's an awesome idea! Wishing you all the best with your new publishing venture!

    Thanks for hosting the Snowman tour!

  4. My books are all set in places I've visited or lived. Albuquerque was the most fun to write about.

    I bet those stuffed bears were intimidating in size.

  5. Congratulations, Yolanda!
    With my three books, I have definitely taken what I know and added it to the stories. You can take the girl out of the Caribbean, but you can't take the Caribbean out of the girl. :)

  6. Hi, Nicola, Diane, and Bish!

    I can't wait to hear what you think, Nicola! Thank you!

    Diane, writing about places we know makes the writing and the reading so much richer, doesn't it? Although, I have to admit the internet and Google maps is one of the greatest things ever, for a writer! :)

    Bish, I know what you mean! LOL I only spent 4 years in Alaska, but it's part of me, always will be!

  7. Must still be a WV thing. I threw all mine in the water and they all swam like fish. The trick is throwing them in as babies. If you wait until they can remember, you're just going to set them up for drowning.

  8. I definitely include memories in my writing. Locations, occasionally, but mostly just little random things to try to add a little something extra to the story.

  9. LOL! Hi, Elizabeth, must be! Babies come to it naturally, the older we get the more frightened we become! I have so many fears now that I didn't have when younger - gosh, to be young and fearless again! :)

    Hi, MJ - I think so too, and use them all the time!

  10. Super post, Yolanda. I think all good writers incorporate tidbits from their real lives into their writing. It adds richness to their stories.

    (For example, just as Pearl did in my book, my cousin actually did get so ticked off at her husband she cleared off the dinner table and tossed everything into the yard. It totally cracked her up when she read about it in the book.)

  11. Do science fiction movies and television shows count as real life? Those I have used!

  12. Great post. I use real life events, happening and reactions in my stories too. If it involves people I know I try to really change it up, just in case, especially if it is unflattering. Congrats, and good tour.
    ' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  13. LOL, Susan, that was a great scene! I do it all the time, but some of those scenes, I won't share. ;)

    Alex, if they've got meaning for you, I'd say yes.

    Thanks, Juneta, most definitely change it up when unflattering, no names match the events, but I've found most folks don't recognize that kind of stuff about themselves anyway.
    Although, for some reason both my sons want to be the bad guy! :)

  14. Great post, Yolanda. You weave seamlessly your imagination with the pieces of truth. I also use my personal experience when I write fiction. My latest foray into that direction is my series of flash fiction stories for WEP this year. They are all based in Russia and utilize my personal knowledge of the country where I was born, although the events and characters (and of course, magic) are entirely imaginary.

  15. By the way: I visited Alaska once, on a cruise. It enchanted me.

  16. Thanks, Olga!
    I'm thrilled that you've visited Alaska. Yes, enchanting!
    Your WEP entries aren't just about magic they are magical! Truly!

  17. It's obvious you know Alaska when I read your books. As well as writing about what you know, I like to write about what I'd like to know. I'm currently flirting with New York as the hometown of my heroine in my Paris novel. Well, I know a lot about Paris!!

  18. Hi, Denise!
    You know a lot about Paris, and google and the internet can give you NY, anyplace really! Can't wait to read your latest! Thanks for stopping by!

  19. I think adding memories to a plot is a great way to add authenticity to a piece:)


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