Writing From Your Life
I was just a teen when wanderlust took me in its grasp. This fact is somewhat surprising given my sometimes nervous nature, but it was as if a stronger, more purposeful force had infused me with the courage to follow this unlikely inclination. When I graduated college, my itchy feet finally got moving. I left my comfortable New York nest and moved to Los Angeles. There, I immediately commenced the existence I had desired—a life filled with…well, life!
I started from scratch with a new house, new job, new friends, and completely new experiences. At the time, I didn’t know what impelled me to this drastic change, but as the years went by, the reason crystallized. Having grown up in a happy, sheltered home with relatively normal family and friends surrounding me, my life had been blissfully ordinary. It was not the stuff of books or movies. It lacked drama and excitement—and deep down, I knew that wouldn’t make for fascinating copy.
I yearned to meet all kinds of interesting people from all parts of the country and the world. I needed to chase my whimsical dreams no matter where they took me, explore my career options, have my heart broken, and grow as a person—away from the comforting arms of my parents. I was going to be a writer, and I needed all the inspiration, knowledge, and experience I could muster if I was going to be a really good one.
Having launched my second book just days ago, I confirm that my instincts were right. Both of my novels are romantic comedies chock full of those wild, enthralling life experiences I’ve collected. The first, Wedlocked, is based on my first brief, disastrous marriage and subsequent honeymoon in hell. My second, Neurotically Yours, details many of my bizarre encounters out on the dating scene for almost two decades. Today, my brain is a seemingly endless reservoir of colorful memories, real people, and true circumstances, all ready to be tapped for fictional use—just as I unconsciously intended.
My greatest compliments are from readers who tell me my characters seem so genuine, the emotions so relatable, and the dialogue immensely engaging. I firmly believe that much of the reason for this is that my stories are not merely conjured up from my imagination; I’ve lived and breathed them. And now my life truly is an open book.
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Bonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel and Neurotically Yours: A Novel. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for LoveaHappyEnding.com. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives on Long Island with her husband, four cats and a dog.
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