This post is based off of last week's thoughts, but on the other side of the pages. Have you ever, as a reader, stopped, put your book down, and think, "This sounds like something that actually happened to the author." Or, "There's no way the author could have known that unless s/he experienced that" because you went through it first hand and felt the familiar emotion play out within you?
As a reader, a lot of the times, things jump out at me. For example, Cindy Hogan's Watched. A young girl witnesses a murder through an unusual way in a bathroom stall. As soon as I reached that part, a thought hit me, and I had the feeling the author experienced that same unusual way the heroine in the bathroom had (I am not referring to murder, either!). Because the author and I are friends, I was free to ask if this was the case. She confirmed.
I've had several incidences where, as I read books, a hard realization occurred: "This must have happened to the author in real life." And it turns out that it had happened in real life to the authors; some of the instances have made me sad, knowing this good friend endured such tragedy.
There are undeniable philosophical truths that many writers use in their works and it may strike the reader in the heart. Some dark truths can be woven into books that the writer would never dare discuss with anyone, but it is there in the book.
As a writer, for example, the theme in my novel, Rock Star, is similar to my own life. I have endured many tragedies, indulged in my emotions during my low points--even sabotaged good things that came into my life because I felt I didn't deserve them, yet, I have felt the goodness of it that helped change my life around. I am not quite sure what truths readers may pick up and think, "Aha! It seems the author may have experienced this exact thing." (Though I've never once been a famous rock star in my life!) I do wonder what truths my readers pick up on as they read my work?
Have you ever had that feeling, as a reader, that you knew the writer experienced the exact same thing you had just read?