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Drawing Inspiration from Real Life

As writers, we’re often told to “write what we know.” And this basically means we should be writing about things, places, people, and situations that we have firsthand knowledge of. Now, my life is rather boring. LOL. I don’t travel the world or meet famous people. I haven’t dealt with death or tragic loss. Nor have I ever really done anything that would make a compelling book. So, my stash of things I can write about are limited. But that doesn’t mean I can’t draw inspiration from real life events and situations; and that’s exactly what I did with Perfectly Imperfect.

While the bulk of the story is made-up, there are several situations there I derived from my real life. What are they? I’m glad you asked 😉 Here are the three things that are “real” amidst all the “make believe.”

1. Betrayal – In the book, Isabelle is betrayed by her best friend and boyfriend in that they are seeing each other behind her back. Something similar happened to me in high school, and it was devastating! I was able draw upon that and all the emotions associated with it while writing this story.

2. Alcoholism – Prior to the start of the story, Isabelle’s brother dies in a car accident. When the story actually begins, we see the aftermath of that loss. Isabelle’s mom has turned to alcohol to numb her pain. I’ve personally dealt with alcoholism in my family, and so it was (unfortunately) easy to write the scenes with Isabelle’s mom and the resulting fallout.

3. Shunning – Without going into too much detail and ruining the story, Grayson and his father were shunned by their church, and because of that, both of them refuse to step foot into church ever again. They still fully believe in God, but they’ve lost all faith in the concept of church. As a child, someone close to me experienced something similar—their church disagreed with choices they made, choices that didn’t go against God’s teachings, and were ultimately driven from the church. That has always stuck with me, and as I grew older, I’d seen the same thing happen with a close friend. Admittedly, it has made me wary of church, so I opt to listen to online services.

So, even though I don’t have any grand tales of my own to share, I was able to draw on some difficult times in my life that I could expand on to make a more compelling story. Do you like books that have a touch of real life in them?

Thank you, Kara, for sharing the inspiration behind PERFECTLY IMPERFECT. Here's a brief summary of her book:

Isabelle Carson is charging into her senior year equipped with a handy checklist to ensure nothing goes awry. Things she didn't account for: a hot, new guy who almost runs her over, a messed up class schedule, and a boyfriend who dumps her for one of her best friends. All of that pales in comparison to the threat of her dirty family secrets breaking free from the perfect façade she’s diligently maintained since the death of her brother.

Grayson Alexander is on his fourth school in as many years. Lakewood Valley High is exactly like all the others, with one shiny exception: Isabelle Carson. She’s smart, funny, beautiful— the perfect package. But Isabelle is hiding something, and Grayson is determined to do whatever it takes to win her trust, except step foot in another hypocritical church.

As Isabelle’s life spirals out of control and her carefully crafted, picture-perfect image begins to shatter, Grayson does what no one else can: he makes her laugh and allows her to be imperfect. With rekindled faith, Isabelle sets out to right all the wrongs in her life. But Grayson has been damaged by his own family secrets, and Isabelle will have to decide if the boy she’s falling for more and more each day is a right or a wrong.

Sounds amazing Kara, I'm really looking forward to reading it! If you're not hooked yet, here's an excerpt that is sure to catch your interest:


I hesitate but then approach. She can’t tattle on me and expect me to feel sorry for her. “You told the principal on me. What are you, five?”

She whips around and glares at me. Her eyes glisten with unshed tears. “Don’t be mad at me because you’re a lunatic who tries to run people over. Really, you should be thanking me.” She shoves a couple items into her backpack so fast I can’t tell what they are and then proceeds to shove all the stuff on the floor into the locker as quickly as possible.

I lean against the neighboring locker and cross my arms. “Thanking you? Oh, this is going to be good.”

“Yes, thanking me.” She smiles sweetly—all the emotion from a moment ago is gone—and that single action steals my breath. “If I hadn’t told on you, you would’ve eventually run someone over and killed them.” She slams the locker closed, and a white carnation falls to the floor. “And if you’d killed someone, you’d have gone to jail. I saved you from rotting away in prison.” Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she adds, “You’re welcome.” Then she walks away in the opposite direction.

I move to go after her but notice a book lying on the floor. I scoop it up and read the title. Holy Bible. I whip my head around. Did anyone else see the title? Can they guess by looking? Do people even care about Bibles in schools in this part of the country? In my last school, a teacher was fired for giving a student a Bible and encouraging him to read it. He sued the district, but I moved before it was resolved.

I jog to catch up with Isabelle. “Hey, you dropped this.”

She eyes the Bible, as if unsure where it came from.

“You really don’t strike me as a Bible thumper,” I say. Not that I’m complaining. It’s nice to know there’s someone else here who believes in God.

“I’m not.” She snatches the book from my hand.

“No?” I raise a brow, challenging her. “Then why are you carrying around a Bible?”

“That’s really none of your business.”

“People don’t carry around Bibles unless they’re trying to spread the good word.” I smirk.

“Don’t be a jerk.”

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Luke 6:37.”

She takes a small step back. “You know scripture?”

“I know a lot of things,” I say, pleased with how I’ve managed to shock her.

“Except how to drive.”

I let out a surprised laugh, and she responds with a smile—a genuine one that makes my heart race in a way I’ve never felt before.

Here's a short bio on Kara, and places you can connect with her on social media.

Author Bio:

Kara Leigh Miller is a full-time wife; stay-at-home mom to 5 kids, 4 pit bulls, and 6 cats; writer, and the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press. She's previously published two adult Christian romantic suspense books. Warped Remains is her first young adult book, but it won’t be her last.

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