Writers & Tragedies

Do you use current events in your writing? I do especially on my personal blog Thoughts on Thursday. I try to make these SOS posts timely, too. And I’ve used real events as inspiration for a couple of my books. I have a good friend who was inspired to write a book after Ike hit the Gulf Coast.


Water in Houston above a raised highway during Harvey.

My books are based in real locations and lend themselves to adding in events we read about in the daily news. (And of course, what pops up on TV, FB, Twitter, etc.)

Book 2 The Second Chances Series, ACT OF TRUST, bounces off the idea of a woman who loses her husband on 9/11. But the story takes place 14 years later, so I don’t feel like I’m capitalizing on someone else’s heartbreak. And I send a portion of the sale of each book to the 9/11 Memorial and Gardens. (Maybe that’s from guilt?)


The first book I wrote was based on a $13 million embezzlement scheme in my school district. (Unfortunately, no one will ever see this book because I knew nothing about the craft of writing romance. Great story. No craft. I was the queen of head-hopping! LOL)

I guess where I’m going with all this is a question.  Will you consider using any of the too-numerous-to-mention-disasters we’ve experienced for the last 6-9 months in your writing?  This is short for me, but I’d really love to hear from authors and from readers, do you read disaster stories?

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Marsha, Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post. I’m also concerned about the never-ending news about disasters. But as for including them in my writing…I tend to write very light.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, Joanne, Good for you. That must be more uplifting for the long hall. Not less stressful since I think all writing is stressful. LOL I always have an HEA, but still. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    Great question/post, Marsha!
    I haven’t used any of the real life events, so far, but have referenced some in my books, such a difference in air travel security since 9/11.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, Kathryn. Our lives are different because of some of these tragedies. Referencing them the way you mention makes sense. I tend to have messages in my books (hopefully subtle and not in your face), and my mind is pulsing with ideas because of what all’s been happening. My heart aches for the victims of these tragedies. What if your brother had killed all those folks in Las Vegas? What happens to your life after that???? Thanks for stopping by and sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this and in a sense I do the same thing. 911 was hard for me to write about because I was there. It took me years. I do write about fictionalized places and events that come from my own experience through (like disaster response). In a sense it’s meant to be educational i.e. understanding the minds and challenges of people who do EMS, fire and disaster work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, McKenna. And you do it very well. I’m glad you share that part of your life. I have a greater appreciation for what EMS folks go through. Thanks for stopping by and be safe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My Wounded Hearts series started because of a news clip I watched about the Sinaloa Cartel infiltrating America. I think world events affects all of us either viscerally or close-to-home and it ends up reflected in our work. But then, that’s what makes books so incredibly valuable, right? It’s the writer’s perspective on history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, Jacquie. Oh you said that so well. I love it: the writer’s perspective on history. 🙂 We are very lucky to do this job. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeannie. 🙂


  5. Pat Amsden says:

    Yes, real events do get used in my writing. It might not be recognizable or it might be something that is part of the background of the story, either physically or emotionally. I think that’s a good thing. Fiction gives readers a place to process their feelings and emotions safely. When thy see fictional characters come through difficult events it gives them someone they can root for and empathize with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Pat. Loved your comments. I think you nailed it. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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