Friday, July 18, 2014

What I Learned From Throwback Thursday

You’re probably familiar with the term ‘Throwback Thursday.’ Old photos and the stories they tell overtake Facebook. I generally find myself digging through photographs and looking for something fun to post. Last night it dawned on me as I browsed photos depicting my past how much of my past, my history, influences my writing today.

Some of my books take my characters on a journey, frequently to places I’ve visited and enjoyed. In Love, Sam, my heroine, Trish, spends time in Sedona, Arizona, a place that captured my heart when I first visited there. In Wake-Up Call, my heroine is a social worker living in Pennsylvania—my home state and my profession. A Falling Star is probably one of the most representative of the way my own history influences my writing. The book is set in my hometown of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, under the fictional name of Clarkston. But I reference several landmarks in the book that are throwbacks to my own youth and life in a small town.
Small towns are settings for many of my stories. I guess I’m a small-town girl at heart. Another throwback to my younger years in Pennsylvania is that of Ohiopyle State Park where Rylee first meets Josh in Shooting Into The Sun.

I believed I could be a cowboy and I had the outfit to prove it--a Christmas gift from my parents who allowed me to believe and imagine. I like to think that freedom in childhood to exercise my imagination gave me the confidence to do what I do today. Tell stories.

I’ve come to see Throwback Thursday as a time to recall and revisit those memories and moments and people and places that meant so much to me. They creep into my books in very subtle ways. I don’t always hold to the philosophy of ‘write what you know.’ But I do think that when you write from what is a part of you, the fiber of your life, it makes the writing so much more personal and meaningful for the reader.

Throwback Thursday has become a time for me to reflect upon and cherish those moments I might otherwise take for granted. How about you?

Linda Rettstatt
Facebook:  Linda Rettstatt, Writing for Women
Twitter: @linda_rettstatt


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Love your Cowboy outfit, and the Video is great. The diagram for the sentence structure hit home. How many people would recognize that nowadays?

A lot of writers use memory maps, even subconsciously. Every floor plan in my stories existed in a house I've lived in -- 30 different homes.

linda_rettstatt said...

Thank, Julie. Um--what video? I didn't load a video.

Big Mike said...

We are the sum total of our memories. It shapes, molds, and sometimes contorts all we do, including our stories.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Victoria Roder said...

Our lives shape us and I always hope my sister's won't recognize themselves as my characters!

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Linda, the link is:

Hope we are not being invaded by the bad guys.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

It was Gabriella's blog, sorry.