Art imitating life?

04 Feb

Not so much… Well, maybe a little…

A question I get asked a lot these days is, “Are you Tulley?” If you haven’t read my latest book, “Initiation By Desire,” You might not understand the question. Still, don’t give up reading. You might enjoy the blog anyway 🙂

“Initiation By Desire” tells the story of Tulley, a nineteen year old baby butch who joins a sorority, partially to please her mother and partially to try to meet people. As the story opens, she has no idea she’s a lesbian. The book really is a story of coming out and coming together. Tulley falls in love with Sue, the Resident Adviser for the house, who is a story unto herself! She’s a wild woman who has been burned once and spends her time hopping from bed to bed in an effort to avoid any sort of commitment.

So people have asked me a lot lately if I’m Tulley. And, while I may have been a clueless nineteen year old baby butch living in a sorority house, I didn’t have any brilliant realizations that year and didn’t come out for a long time after that.

However, there may be more to the story that mimics my experience than simply the clueless baby butch bit.

Tulley goes to school at a small University in an agricultural area of Northern California. So did I. And yeah, there werea lot of similarities between the two towns. The town itself was much more liberal than the surrounding ag community. And, like Sean told Tulley, if you stayed in the college area of town, you were likely to be treated much nicer than if you strayed too far.

What about The Asylum? How real was that? Again – if you haven’t read the book, The Asylum is a bar, owned by an old member of a fraternity and it was THE place for greeks (especially underaged ones) to hang out. Based on real life? You’d better believe it! The Asylum is based The Oasis Bar and Grill, which, at the time I went there, was Chico’s oldest college beer joint.

What about the other people in the book? Well, Danielle represented probably 85% of the women I knew in the Greek System. And Sean? Well, he was loosely based on a friend of mine named John. That’s all I’ll say about him.

The fact is, authors have to put some of themselves into everything they write. It’s what makes their books theirs. It’s what makes their writing unique. It’s not just style and storyline, it’s life and experience that flows through us into the pages.

So, circling back to the question   – am I Tulley? Do I have short dark hair? Sure. Do I wear “wifebeaters”? You betcha. Am I nineteen? LMAO! Not so much! Was I once upon a time? Of course, and yes, much of Tulley’s experiences are based on some of what I went through back in the day. Although, I reiterate once again – I didn’t come out while in the sorority house… Man… if only I had… think of how much fun THAT could have been!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

I’d love to hear from readers and writers alike. Readers – do you like to think authors model characters after themselves or people they know? Writers – how much of you do you put into your characters? Is there any one book or character or location that is based more on reality than others?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. And, if you’ve read Initiation By Desire, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you haven’t read it, maybe you’ll be more inclined to do so now?



Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Life, Writing


3 responses to “Art imitating life?

  1. Laydin

    February 4, 2012 at 16:30

    I like thinking there is a bit of the author in the characters, both pro and antagonists. Interesting to think of young MJ in a sorority.

    • mjwilliamz

      February 4, 2012 at 16:44

      Interesting or scary to think of that, Laydin? BTW – I got the cake! Thank you :c)

      • Laydin

        February 4, 2012 at 17:34

        Not scary…just interesting. Sororities in Texas…now that’s scary.


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