Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Call it coincidence – by Kandy Shepherd

Coincidence? Wish fulfillment? Who knows—but fictional incidents I create for my novels have a habit of actually happening in my own life!

In my contemporary romance, Something About Joe, my heroine Allison Bradley lives in a charming little terrace house (row house) in McMahons Point, a harborside suburb of Sydney, Australia, ten minutes from the city center where she works.

At the time I wrote the story, I lived in an outer suburb, considerably more than ten minutes from where I worked. In fact, to get into the city for my “day job”, I had to get up at the crack of dawn (I’m an “owl” and loathe getting up early) and dress my daughter while she was still asleep to get her to daycare and me to the office on time.

I wove my yearning for a closer-to-town home into the story, living it vicariously through the house I created for Allison. Who would have imagined some years later we would find a decrepit, uninhabitable little house in McMahons Point, spend several years renovating it, and move in.

A house something like the one I created for Allison in SOMETHING ABOUT JOE
Yes, it was every bit as convenient to live there for me as it was for Alison.

No, a hot handsome hunk of a babysitter like my hero Joe Martin never came knocking on my door!

(If there are any more dream houses going to come true for me, there’s the most perfect house in Sausalito, California, I created for my hero in Home Is Where the Bark Is… )

In Something About Joe, two pivotal scenes take place in a small harborside park in McMahon’s Point. There’s a park bench there and in my mind’s eye, I can see my fictional characters Joe and Allison sitting there together.

The view of Sydney Harbour Joe and Allison see from the park
Long after the book was written I found myself spending happy hours right near that bench teaching my daughter to jump rope (or skipping rope as it’s called in Australia) with magnificent Sydney Harbour as our backdrop and backyard substitute. I could never have imagined that! 

Spoiler alert! There’s a scene in Something About Joe where Allison’s eighteen-month old son Mitchell suffers a febrile convulsion and ends up in the emergency room at the local hospital.

I thoroughly researched the symptoms and the hospital procedure. Lucky I did, because several years after writing the scene with Mitchell, a high fever triggered a terrifying series of convulsions in my daughter (long after the age my research told me was usual) and I knew exactly what to do. I also got all the details of what happens at the hospital right, though to tell you the truth I wasn't thinking about my story when I was there with my daughter! (She was fine, with no after effects at all, thank heaven.)

No febrile convulsions for this happy baby!

Has anything quite unexpectedly come true for you? Something you dreamed about, longed for, read in a book or saw in a movie, heard about from someone else?

Leave a comment to win a free download of my new e-book Something About Joe. Be sure to include your email address.

Something About Joe is available for just $0.99c at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other e-retailers.

Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction.

Sydney Harbour Bridge photo © Deb22
Baby photo © Melking


Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for your post, Kandy. I don't like long commutes either. Thank goodness you got your dream house!

As for your question---well, nothing quite like that has ever happened to me. But something came close.

I rarely remember my dreams. Therefore when I recall one, I write it down and analyze it to death.

A few years ago I had a dream that obviously took place in the Roman era, somewhere in the empire. And I was in it. That is, a young, high-spirited woman named Prudentia was in it, and I got the impression that she and I were the same.

She didn't look or act like me; she was much prettier and more assertive than I ever was. There was a lot going on involving Prudentia and some guy whose name I didn't catch. They were trying to rescue a friend who was being held prisoner. I remembered quite a bit, including how Prudentia looked.

Then a few months ago, I was watching an old sword-and-sandal movie on my DVD player. Early on the leading lady made her appearance. I almost swallowed my gum. It was Prudentia!

The woman in my dream and this actress were dead ringers for each other. The character she played had little in common with Prudentia, and the story in the film was quite different from my dream. But still, the two women looked the same.

Just what is going on here? I don't know. But I should get a story or two out of it!

I already have a download of "Something About Joe", so no need to enter me in the giveaway. Good luck with your upcoming novels!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, what a lovely post - well, except for the bit about febrile convulsions. How harrowing. Glad that bit of the story had happy endings! I fondly remember your wonderful house in McMahon's Point. It always struck me as the perfect inner-city pad. I had serious house envy. I particularly remember the beautiful attic office you had built for yourself, including a wonderful view into the branches of a flowering jacaranda. Now that went beyond mere envy to pea green status!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Mary Anne, how nice you are my first visitor!
That's uncanny about Prudentia! It must have been a very powerful dream for you to have remembered it so clearly. I wonder how you will weave Prudentia into your stories...
I really believe there is so much we don't know about how both the universe and our own minds work that anything is possible.
I hope you enjoy reading SOMETHING ABOUT JOE.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Anna, thanks for calling by!
Yes, the house turned out so beautifully didn't it? We had some very happy years there--and I did love that little office in the sky. I wrote LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD at that desk. It was a bit of a wrench to leave it, but things change. My study at the farm is so different, it looks out on a rose garden and then the bush. Sometimes I look up and a horse is ambling by-why mow the grass when the horses enjoy it so much? (And they fertilize as they go!) I so hope you get to see it some day soon!

erin said...

Thanks for a great post and giveaway! Your book sounds awesome. If I don't get picked, I'll definitely be picking it up :)

Nothing really unexpected has every really happened to me. I have a very stable, happy life, so no complaints :)

Dina said...

hi Kandy, I have a new Nook, so it would be cool to add your book. :)

*yadkny* said...

Something About Joe sounds like a fantastic read! I got my dream job working in the medical field and was given that opportunity through an old friend that I just happened to run into and told me about. That was 6 years ago now:)

Kandy Shepherd said...

No one could complain about having a stable, happy life--how wonderful to hear that Erin. It's what we all aspire to!

Kandy Shepherd said...

I hope you enjoy reading SOMETHING ABOUT JOE, Dina, I'll send you details via email.

Kandy Shepherd said...

How fabulous to find your dream job, Yadkny, so glad to hear you are still enjoying it!

Annie West said...

Kandy, what an amazing group of coincidences. It makes me think now about what I put in my books! love the pic of the house in McMahon's Point. It's a lovely part of the world, isn't it?

I hope other readers are enjoying 'Something About Joe' as much as I did. It's a great story.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Annie, so nice to see you here! Yes, those coincidences can be a little freaky can't they? I'm just hoping I might inherit a dog and multiple millions like my heroine in LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD. Oh, well, doesn't hurt to dream!

I'm so glad you enjoyed SOMETHING ABOUT JOE.

Dina said...

thank you!!!!