Open Book Blog hop – Write what you know

The topic of this weeks Open Book Blog hop is write what you know. I have heard this said may time since I started blogging and writing in 2016 and have found that I tend to do this unintentionally.

Some examples of where I have written what I know, outside of my fictional autobiography of my mother’s life, While the Bombs Fell, which is obviously based on the real facts of her life, are as follows:OCD / PTSD

Mental disorders: OCD/PTSD

I have a bit of experience with obsessive control disorder and some of the related conditions including anxiety disorders including panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), excoriation (skin-picking) disorder and tourette syndrome (tic disorders). I have featured characters with OCD in a few of my short stories including The Willow Tree (Dark Visions anthology) and Missed signs (Whispers of the Past anthology). I also featured a main character with OCD in the trilogy I started writing about climate change and the fourth industrial revolution but which I put on hold to finish A Ghost and His Gold.

Alleries: Bees

I have a strange allergy to the bacteria carried by bees. Whenever I get stung by a bee, I develop blood poisoning within a few hours and have to have strong antibiotics and antihistamines for two to three weeks. Needless to say, I really try to avoid bees. I wrote a short story featuring an MC with a bee allergy called Last of the Lavender (Whispers of the Past anthology).

Countries of origin

My mother’s family originates from a small town called Bungay in Suffolk in the UK. I have visited the UK a number of times during my life and most of my visits have centred around Kent and Suffolk. Frequent visits have ensured that I am fairly familiar with life in Britain and, as my mother and I immigrated to South Africa when I was a child, my upbringing was very English. My book While the Bombs Fell was set in Bungay as that is where my mother grew up and this fictionalised biography is an account of her life as a small girl growing up in a small English town during WWII. The fictionalised element is due to the fact that my mother was only 7 when the war ended so I had to fill the gaps in her memories. Through the Nethergate also centres around a real inn in Bungay which is said to be haunted by over twenty ghosts. I discovered these fascinating ghost stories while I was doing the research for While the Bombs fell and it was these ghost stories that inspired Through the Nethergate. Some of my ghostly characters play significant rolls in the story.

I grew up in South Africa and have lived here all my adult life so it was natural that I would also gravitate to writing about South Africa. My current WIP, A Ghost and His Gold, is set in South Africa and the ghosts are all active participants in the Second Anglo Boer War. I am also writing some short stories that centre around South African history, especially The Great Trek in 1836 and the 1820 settlers from England.


Many of my readers know I am a chartered accountant by profession. I know a lot about life in the corporate world, especially in the fields of law and finance. As a result, many of my characters are in finance.

The haunted couple in A Ghost and His Gold are both chartered accountants who met while working at a Big Four auditing practice (just like my hubby and me). Tom, the husband, is a corporate finance practitioner in the firm and Michelle, his wife, has left the firm and is doing mornings only work in the accounting line and developing her writing. Just like I want to do. I am going backwards at the moment and my hours are longer than ever but I live in hope.

In my short story The Path to Atonement (Nightmareland anthology), the MC is a chartered accountant working at an auditing firm.


The grandfather in Through the Nethergate is a brave, kind and clever man and I did model him deliberately on my dad. The character of Tom was developed using a bad experience I had with an ex-boyfriend although my experiences are not nearly as bad as Tracey’s from my book.

What about you? Do you use real experiences and people in your writing?

Find out what other writers do in this regard here:

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

61 thoughts on “Open Book Blog hop – Write what you know

  1. Jay can be like that and we have tried everything…I have plants which are supposed to deter them and then the ants like them and then they bite him ,,,he is doomed I think to just get bitten xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some of my favorite characters are ones that are based on some aspect of the author’s life, especially their occupation. Even if I know nothing about that profession, knowing that the author does help me get into the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard that “write what you know” could also include writing about what you study or think about a lot. I’ve never lived in Tennessee (well, I used to live *very close to Tennessee*) or in space, but I’ve thought about it a lot and think I wrote them pretty well. 🙂

    But you have such a wide variety of experiences, so it’s probably so useful to write what you know for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It does help me, it is easier to imagine the people and the lifestyles without having to research everything. I, for example, have no idea what it would be like to live in an apartment in NYC. I only know what I’ve seen on Friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never seen Friends, and I’ve never been to NYC myself! I could easily do it – it’s only an 8 hour drive, definitely within a day of me, but I’m just not that comfortable when I go north of the Mason-Dixon line. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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