Today we have author Yolanda Sfetsos joining us to chat about writing the unknown!
Here's what she had to say...
Writing What You Don’t Know
Hello, everyone! My name’s Yolanda and I live in Sydney, Australia. I spend most of my days writing (or daydreaming about stories), am a huge reader, enjoy going for walks, like to watch a whole bunch of TV shows, and love spending time with my hubby, daughter, and cat. I enjoy a simple life. Most of the dangerous and dark things happen in my stories, to other people—my poor characters.
As a writer, ‘Write What You Know’ is a piece of advice that I’ve read over and over again. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Write about the things that you’ve experienced and have lived through, because it’ll give your story an authentic edge. And I have to admit that I’ve actually embedded a lot of situations or experiences that I’ve been through during my life, into my character’s lives.
Yet, if I only wrote about what I do know, then I wouldn’t be able to spend hours and hours writing about vampires, shifters, ghosts, and demons. I also wouldn’t be able to spend time in Sci-Fi worlds that only exist inside my head. And I certainly wouldn’t be able to write a story called Shade of Grey, all about alien abductions, UFOs, government conspiracies, hidden organizations, alien hybrids, and MIB.
Why? Because I’ve never met a Grey alien, I’ve never been abducted by aliens, and I certainly haven’t been chased by men in black. Still, that didn’t stop me from writing a story about an average florist who finds herself in a tug-of-war between an alien clan and a secret organization that both want to use her for very different—but still evil—reasons.
So does that mean I shouldn’t have bothered tackling such a topic? Of course not, it just means that I had a lot of reading/watching to do beforehand. And I also had to let my imagination run wild, put myself in the shoes of a woman who believes her life is simple and comfortable, only to find out that a lot of secrets have been woven around her. How would you feel if your whole life suddenly took an unbelievable turn? How would you deal with it when you see a series of bizarre things happen right before you? And what would you do if a mysterious stranger, who also happened to be a very gorgeous man, was the only person you could trust? Well, that’s some of the challenges I faced when writing Gypsy’s story. But it was a lot fun!
Besides, I’d wanted to write an alien story set here on our planet for years. When I was thinking about the location, I knew that the best place to set this story would be the country that I live in. Sounds like something I’d be familiar with, right? If the whole story was set in suburbia, sure. But it isn’t. See, I decided to have the main characters—Gypsy and Calvin—travel into the Australian Outback. If I’ve never actually been there, how did I get around it? (I’m a city girl, what can I say?) Well, I did a lot of research, checked out a lot of pictures, and most importantly, I made up a fictional town. See, blending what you do know with what you don’t know can be done.
So, what do I recommend and actually do when it comes to writing what I know? Simple: I sprinkle some of what I do know, research what I don’t know, and add a good dose of imagination. Then, I mix it all together.
Thanks for reading!
A Note from the Book Boost: Yolanda, this is a great post! I'm a huge fan of aliens and government conspiracies! LOL I'll have to check this one out. I agree that adding in a dash of "reality" will make even the most unbelievable world come to life. But how could we live without our make believe worlds? Please tell us a bit more about your book...
The night two intruders dressed in black break into Gypsy’s store, a mysterious, sexy man comes to her rescue. Calvin has one objective—to keep both a secret organization and an alien clan from finding and taking Gypsy. But after they meet, his duty is overridden by his desire.
Together, Gypsy and Calvin travel halfway across the country, trying to stay one step ahead of their pursuers and dodging danger at every step. When they give in to their mutual attraction, neither realizes that it’s the one thing guaranteed to reveal their location to their biggest threat.
In the small Outback town of Backwater, human and alien greed will collide. Can their passion for each other be strong enough to survive the ordeal? Or will Gypsy’s destiny lead to an alien plan that could destroy everything?
Gypsy stopped, daring her heart to quit hammering against her chest. She made a move to peek around the corner when she was grabbed from behind. The phone slid out of her hand and rattled on the floor.
She opened her mouth in an attempt to yell, but a hand covered it before anything came out.
A body pressed tight against her back, not allowing movement from either her arms or legs.
She was trapped in someone’s grip, and couldn’t do a thing about it.
Helplessness washed through her body, shock spread down her every limb.
“Shh,” a male voice hissed into her left ear. “Keep quiet or they’ll hear you.”
She squeezed her eyes shut. Her mind raced, trying to figure out who would hear her and what they would do if they did. And who had a hold of her – a rapist, a murderer, a thief? None of the options were comforting.
Another crash sounded from the corridor leading out into the shop. What were they looking for? Were they a bunch of kids looking for cash, or just here to trash the place? She’d left the money in the till, so Gypsy didn’t understand why the culprits just hadn’t gone straight there to take the money and be done with it.
“Do you have a backdoor?” the man holding her whispered.
Her skin broke out in goose bumps. The intimacy he’d forced her into didn’t scare her as much as whatever was happening on the other side of the wall. One of his hands still covered her mouth, the other wrapped tight in front of her chest. She should’ve been scared of him, but wasn’t. There didn’t seem to be any ill intent emanating from him. She could sense his need to help her. She cleared the feelings of empathy to concentrate on whoever was inside her working space. Malicious intentions hit her instantly when she zeroed in on them.
For the first time in her life, Gypsy didn’t shy away from access to psychic vibrations.
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