This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Under Assault!! --- Hart Johnson's Azalea Assault Book tour

Past Lives and Fiction

First, I really want to thank Lee for hosting me! And I'm not going to get all metaphysical on you here... I was just thinking about Lee and his juggling... how he was part of a WHOLE WORLD that is different from what most of us will ever experience. Not that I have done anything quite THAT unique, though I was a licensed whitewater guide once upon a time. But I think we ALL have done things in real life that can feed our fiction with that realism, even if MOST of it we are just making up as we go along.

And because I am HERE as part of a book promotion, I thought I'd pull out some examples from The Azalea Assault where I'd had some experience that made the fiction more real:

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!

My first job out of college I was an account coordinator for an advertising co-op—the (XXXinsert restaurant chain hereXXX) operators from the (large west coast city) area... and every last member (nice people, seriously, but...) was successful and self made and believed the universe revolved around them. I was well aware that I was the lowliest peon from the hired help, but it was MY JOB to make sure all of THEM knew how important they were to us and the world at large.

That is not unlike the Roanoke Garden Society Cam works for—this is a wealthy bunch of people who believe gardening should be the center of the world and it is Cam's job to make it so... she is pulled in multiple directions, as each person has their own view on how it should play out. And it is HER job to protect them from anything that might go wrong so they can stay in their cozy bubble.

Friends and Family

We all have them. There is one primary relationship in this book that feeds directly off a relationship I have: the relationship between Cam, my main character, and her long-time best friend Annie. Annie is a bit (okay a lot) zany—in fact some of you might recognize a lot of me (my online personality anyway) in her—she is the rule bender and rejects 'proper' expectations. And she balances Cam's more rule-abiding ways. But my REASONING isn't that I wanted to be in the book—she really wasn't intended to BE me. I wanted the friendship to feel real and familiar because it is so central to the series. And I actually took traits from both myself and my lifetime best friend and reconfigured them—Cam got all the milder, responsible ones and Annie got all the wilder, nuttier ones. (believe it or not, I have some mild, responsible traits)


Oh, it's been quite a while... I have to recall my childhood, really... but those times where you hide where you aren't supposed to... eaves dropping, or trying not to get busted for being where you shouldn't be... I really have fun recalling those sensations... sometimes letting my MC get busted and try to talk her way out of it, sometimes letting her get away with it.

So no... no juggling... not even any whitewater rafting, but I think life managed to feed me some realism... What about you? Any of your real life experiences feed into the fiction you are writing?

The Azalea Assault
Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson: Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson who writes books from her bathtub. By day she is an academic researcher at a large midwestern university. She lives with her husband, two teenage children and two fur balls. The dust bunnies don't count. This will be her first published book.

Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound
Confessions of a Watery Tart
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  1. Great guest post Hart, the book sounds like a seriously interesting read and you sound so interesting yourself too.

  2. Hart is awesome!
    Wish I could pull more from my real life for my books, but I'd be afraid to go into space anyway.

  3. Congratulations, Hart! I hope your book sells like the wind!

  4. Wonderful post Hart, thank you Lee for hosting Hart.


  5. Pretty much all the stories I write are based on something I've actually lived through. I can't go around admitting to exactly what, though. That would ruin the fun.

  6. LOve the premise of Azaela Assault, LOve the cover, and LOve the line 'goosing every woman in the room' And my life experiences? Ha! They're all in my "Em" series books. But when I get published, I'll swear to my family it's all fiction.

  7. My books have elements of real life events. Some are mine and some are what I've seen others go through.

  8. Hello Hart and Lee,

    If it weren't for my life, I'd have no stories at all.

    Learned a bit more about you, Hart.


  9. Lee--thanks so much for having me!@

    Yeamie-great to meet you, and THANK YOU!

    Alex-Yeah...I definitely haven't ever actually found any bodies... so there IS the part I just have to imagine...

    Cathy-Thank you!

    Yvonne-thank you to you, too!

    Matt-Well, yes... we can FEIGN making most of it up...

    Em-definitely have to keep deniability! (my hubby was sure one of my annoying characters was based on him--poor baby)

    Diane-Observation is definitely huge, too.

    Teresa-I think maybe I wouldn't either. Just in a different way. I see myself as a puzzle-master, so no experiences, to material.

  10. i think stories from our lives cannot be beat!

  11. Real life stories are awesome. Hart is such a giving and fantastic author. I'm so excited for her.

  12. I'm really looking forward to reading this book. Great to see you over here :)

    Hi, Arlee!

  13. Congratulations on your first pubbed book. And here's to many more.

  14. Lynn- I agree!

    Ciara-- *smooches* THANK YOU!

    Carol-great to see you, too!

    Clee-thank you! I hope so too!

  15. Congrats Hart! I think of all writing as a juggling act~ We have to keep at it, when a character decides to drop the balls. We have to pick them up and keep trying~
    Well Done..sounds like a great read!

    Hello Lee, I will be by again soon!

  16. Yay Ella-- you said the magic word "juggling" and made the ideal comparison on Tossing It Out.

    Hart -- Thank you so much for today's post. You be at the top of the page until Wednesday so I'm sure you'll get a few more comments.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by to wish Hart well on her new publication.


  17. Woohoo! You go. Wonderful little post.

  18. Hart is amazing! Best wishes to her and her success and I really mean it!


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