If there’s one thing everyone knows about me from my (minimal) online presence, it’s that I do not provide a lot of personal information about myself. Due to factors beyond my control, I have to stay somewhat private about my personal life. The handful of people who know me in person AND online knew me before I became “Chase Connor,” so there was really nothing I could do about that. At first, that really bothered me since I am an ENFJ (apparently) and I really do love people and being socially active (mostly). I’m always on the verge of saying: “Screw this. I’m inviting everyone to my apartment for an LGBTQ+ Writing Community party!” Alas, that is just not possible. Especially since a lot of you are not even remotely close to where I live.
It just is what it is, I suppose.
My persona online is not a persona–though I do write under a pen name–I behave as I would “in the real world” while I am online. Sometimes that translates well and other times, it doesn’t. But that is another thing I can’t control. I can only work on it. The person you encounter on Twitter is who I am, though you won’t get the full, annoying, effusive, bundle of energy and nonstop talking that you would in real life. You can thank me later.
Regardless, I still get asked quite a bit how much of myself shows up in my books and stories. In fact, a few nights ago, a friend told me that Teddy from The Guy Gets Teddy came off as having a thought process and mental phrasing that reminds them of me. The whole character is not like me but aspects of him are similar to who I am in real life. That’s accurate, I guess.
I think all writers inject aspects of their internal self into a character or characters. It’s an occupational hazard, making characters think, feel, react, and behave the way that you do.
So…how much do writers take from themselves and put into their stories? It’s something I have always been curious about, though I’ve never actually asked other writers this question.
For me, I would have to say that the only book I’ve written (besides erotica) that doesn’t really reflect me or my life at all is The Gravity of Nothing. Of course, I’m grateful for that. I don’t think anyone wants their life to resemble that book at all. Not that I am not proud of the book…but it is definitely not happy or lighthearted in any way.
In other books, like Just a Dumb Surfer Dude, Just a Dumb Surfer Dude 2: For the Love of Logan, Gavin’s Big Gay Checklist, A Tremendous Amount of Normal, and GINJUH, I paid homage to parents, grandparents, siblings, and other wonderful people I’ve been privileged enough to have had in my life. Most of them are no longer with us.
When it comes to my stories, you might notice that God is mentioned a lot. Religion, not as much, but God has a cameo in most of the books. I do not want to preach one spirituality or religion to anyone (especially since I no longer belong to any specific religion), but a belief in and relationship with God is a big part of who I am. God and (for many years of my life) religion connected me to people I loved who are no longer with me. Giving up my religion was a defining moment in my life since it made me feel like I was giving up the last connection I had to some of the people who are no longer with us. So…I find comfort in still having faith in and a relationship with God.
I guess that’s where I show up most in my stories. Odd for LGBTQ+ stories, I know, and I get some criticism for it from time to time, but it helps me feel like I am being my most authentic writer self.
I cannot say that I am much like any of my characters in any of my books. I have a feeling that a lot of writers would have that exact same answer. We use our experiences to help make characters more authentic, but they are still their own “people.” Sometimes they are better people than we are and sometimes they are worse. Hopefully, they seem authentic either way.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,