Sunday, March 19, 2006

Truth in Fiction

It saddens me when writers like James Frey pass fiction off as truth just to get published. He has made a large amount of money which he will not have to give back because he didn’t steal it, not technically anyway. Now I read about J.T. LeRoy a former truck stop male prostitute, who also sold a lot of books, turns out to be written by a forty something woman.

Meanwhile my own book Prodigal Child, which is fiction, probably has more truth in it than most if these so called auto-biographies. People constantly ask me, “Is this your life?” My answer is that it is not my life, but that a lot of my life is in there. I believe that even when writing fiction if you write from a point of truth, the truth will touch people and they will know the author has experienced what he is writing.

But the difference is my book, although it continues to sell, (Mainly by word of mouth.) is by no means a best seller, not because it is not a good book but because I didn’t get on Oprah, and I didn’t get a review in The New York Times. But I didn’t pass fiction off as the truth just to get it published so I can at least hold my head up among my friends and my peers. I wonder if certain authors out there would trade some of their millions right now to be able to do just that?

1 comment:

VintageSpin said...

I have heard it said that an artist will use fiction to bring out the truth, and those dishonest will use fiction to hide the truth.
I have always enjoyed science fiction because it seemed more "real" life than trying to accomplish the same with non-fiction.