If you've ever felt that my use of horse related properties, bars and small beach towns was repetitive, well, there's a reason for that. Those are my go-to locations because they're the places I know inside and out. I know what they look like, smell like, sound like. I don't have to research them or think too hard about it while I'm writing. It just comes naturally...and in turn, hopefully, creates an environment within the story that feels real and alive to readers.
As well as the setting, the other things that naturally sort of weave their way into my work are habits. Routines. We all have them, right? So, it stands to reason that characters have them as well. Sometimes those of the characters mirror mine, whether it's intentional or not. Coffee. That's one. My coffee habit (or...addiction?) definitely appears throughout most of my books. Wake up? Make coffee. Have a bad day? Make coffee. Get together with friends? Make coffee. It's sort of the natural response to everything.
Some other things about my life that tend to surface in my writing...Motherhood. Military. Addictions. Loss. Abuse. Pets. Mental illness...Most people don't know the ways in which each of these topics has touched my life, but there are books of my mine my mother can't bring herself to read...because fiction or not, they tell the truth and that truth isn't always pretty. BUT, it makes for a never ending flow of writing material.
It's not so much that I set out to write about my life or myself (I'm not as egocentric as this post is making me sound), as it is that I strive to write things that feel alive and authentic to others. So, regardless of what the story is and who the characters are, I try to find some way to relate what I'm about to write to something I've already experienced. That way I can draw from those feelings. Recount those thoughts. Remember my actions and then create a story as real as humanly possible while still keeping it completely fictional. If that makes any sense at all...
Ironically, I think the only thing I write about pretty damn frequently and have no first hand experience with at all, is the love and happily ever after bit, which is sort of expected to be part of the story when you write romance novels ;-)