July 23, 2021

Injecting the Writer into the Story


Darlene L. Turner

Authors are often asked if they inject their own life experiences into the lives of their characters. Another adage we writers hear is “write what you know.” Can we do both to make our stories more real? More authentic?

I wrote Lethal Cover-Up during the summer of 2020 when COVID-19 had first taken the world by storm. Fears had mounted. Questions of this virus had overtaken every social media platform. Rumors and conspiracies emerged, running rampant. Fear of the unknown clutched our hearts.

We didn’t know how to handle what we didn’t know.

During this time as I was writing the book, I had a strong urge that something was missing from my hero and heroine’s story. However, I couldn’t put my finger on it. So, I did what I always do when stumped.

I stepped away from my WIP and prayed.

I asked God to show me what He wanted this story to be about. “What’s missing?” The answer I heard?


Eeeekkk! Questions went through my head. How can I do that? Did I really want to share parts of my life? Fears? Not that I have deep, dark secrets, but to add in parts of my life sent my pulse racing. Do other authors reveal pieces of themselves in their stories?

I tried ignoring the answer to my story’s missing component, but it grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. What did I do?

I relented and inserted personal life experiences into the lives of my characters. Gave them some of my fears. Opened my mind to sharing my heart through the hero and heroine. Once I did the story came to life. But every author knows, you don’t stop there. You must take it a step further. You can’t just throw your characters into the unknown and leave them hanging.

I added an important piece of takeaway.


Specifically hope in the unknown. We were living (still are) in a world plagued with unanswered questions, so I offered reassurance to the readers by showing how my characters dealt with their issues. Did my hero and heroine resist? Of course. Just like us, they too needed to work through their fears to come out strong and trusting on the other end.

After seeing the positive results of interjecting bits of myself into my story, I encourage writers to do the same. It not only makes the book more authentic, but will have a greater impact on our readers.

Isn’t that why we write?

Darlene L. Turner’s love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message.

Darlene won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense twice and an ACFW Genesis award. Her debut book, Border Breach, (Love Inspired Suspense) was a double winner at the Selah Awards, taking third place in the First Novel and Romantic Suspense categories. She’s represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. She has two books releasing in 2021: Abducted in Alaska (March) and Lethal Cover-Up (July 27).

Darlene met her husband Jeff at the turtle races in Ontario, Canada. She loves flavored coffee and plaid shirts. You can connect with Darlene at where there’s suspense beyond borders.


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  1. Thanks for you post. I think we all add a little bit of ourselves in our stories. Hard not to!

  2. Hi, DiAnn! Yes, it is hard not to write ourselves into our stories. It gives them life, right? ;-)

  3. Darlene thank you for your post. It is always a blessing that authors are so willing to share from their heart.

  4. Thanks so much Susan for having me here! I really appreciate it!

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