Do subconscious thoughts influence a story?

sunset blog post august

Now that DECEIVED has been published for a few months, I’ve had an opportunity to answer interview questions and talk with book clubs and readers. It is exciting to talk to readers, and I relish every opportunity. There’s only one slight problem . . . I mentally revise my answers over and over, long after I’ve given them. Two questions that were posed to me recently came at me in the middle of a recent night and the juxtaposition of the questions and my answers jolted me awake.
The first question was whether any events in DECEIVED were based upon events in real life. I answered that, although the mystery in DECEIVED is based upon World War II history, I did not write about real life people or events, including my own life. The second question came from reader at a book signing. She glanced at the cover and asked what it depicted. I told her that a woman was underwater, drowning.

One week later I was jolted awake by the realization that my subconscious mind had played a trick on me, involving something that I both love and fear: Water. As a child, I loved to swim and did it well. One day, on a family-vacation, I overestimated my ability to swim against a strong current. I couldn’t make it to shore after jumping off the safety of a raft. After trying, in vain, to make progress, I became winded and sank below the surface of the choppy water. My dad was busy that day, watching over his five children. Luckily, his eyes were on me when I needed him and he sensed my distress even before I did. Dad was on his way to me before I started to sink, and he reached me just as I drifted below the water. He still tells how he was scared that he wouldn’t be able to find me if I sank too far below the murky water. It was the save of a lifetime.
I’ve never again looked at water without an understanding of what can go
wrong, and in New Orleans, there’s plenty of opportunity to look at water. Years later, in the New Orleans area, many people drowned in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. As I watched the endless news coverage I imagined their horror. The floodwaters almost snuffed the life out of the city that I’ve always called home and forever changed my life and the lives of others who live here.
If you’ve read DECEIVED, you know there’s a pivotal moment in the story
involving water, the potential for drowning, and the potential for a save. In case you haven’t read DECEIVED, I won’t say anything more here. However, next time someone asks me if DECEIVED is based upon events in my own life, my answer will be different. I might tell them about my own near-drowning experience, and I might also tell them how people did drown and my city almost drowned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Yes, those life events subconsciously influenced the fictional events in DECEIVED. I’m not sure how the subconscious mind works, but I’m now convinced it was at play as I wrote DECEIVED.

I love to hear from readers, so please contact me here, at, or on Facebook. I’ll try to answer questions, but
remember . . . my answers are subject to revision.

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