The Stories Behind the Story


I am writing the author’s note for 212, the next Ellie Hatcher novel, to be published in the spring. Like all of my novels, this one was inspired by several real-life stories. In Angel’s Tip, I wrote an author’s note that specifically identified all of the cases of young women who went missing from luxurious settings that inspired the plot of that novel – Imette St. Guillen, Jennifer Moore, Natalee Holloway. (Unfortunately, that list of similar cases could now include one involving missing woman Laura Garza.)

This time around, with 212, it’s not one type of case, but several news stories — some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. There’s also a couple of real-world Web sites mentioned in the book that seem too bizarre to be true, which means I couldn’t have made them up.

How much do readers want to know about the stories behind the story? Does the revelation of those ties between life and fiction make the novel richer? Or does it ruin the magic and feel too “ripped from the headlines”?