So much happens behind writing a book, beyond plotting, building characters, and providing a happy ending. There is personal life of family, day job, and revelations that can add, detract, or knock you completely out of whack.
About two years ago, I experienced a series of revelations that now add another layer to how and what I write. I discovered (after having that feeling since I was about 11 yrs. old) that I was adopted. I learned that my adopted mom and my birth mother kept in touch through my life with updates about me. I have four additional half brothers and a half sister. After reconnecting with them in England and Chicago, the reunion couldn't have been any better with the sudden expansion of my family.
Ironically when I when through the initial investigation, discovery, shock, and all the other tumbling set of emotions, I was in middle of writing my book - Island Rendezvous (published in 2006), sequel to Finders Keepers (published in 2003) where the hero discovers that he has a brother. The hero grew up with his grandmother and eventually through the foster care system, but his brother grew up with his father in another country under wealthier circumstances.
Island Rendezvous focused on the feelings of abandonment, the trauma of family secrets, and taking the step toward forgiveness and reconciliation. I remember asking my editor for an extension for delivering the story because the book started to take a darker, angsty tone. I had to work on separating my personal journey with the characters' journeys. It's one of my most sexiest works. So I definitely took the tone to a different place - LOL.
As a rule, I don't make a point of writing about my life into my stories. Yet, I find myself using characters to answer the "what ifs" in life. My current book, Straight To The Heart (September 2007), introduces a formidable secondary character, a mother, who searches for her runaway daughter, while embracing the heroine, like a daughter.
Maybe one day, I'll put my story to paper to inspire others. But right now, I'm in a good place writing romantic fiction with a touch of everyday grittiness and good dollop of spice.