Last week I had the great good fortune to participate in the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Book Festival. There were about 50 vendors arranged in tents along the street in the downtown area. The rain stopped an hour before the event started, the skies cleared and people came out. Rachel and her team of dedicated volunteers scurried about, making sure everything went smoothly. I had copies of my books available, brochures and bookmarks ready to give away. During the course of the afternoon I met many different people, all interested in books and writing. There were some great conversations. It was a success. I’m already looking forward to next year.
One booth across the street had a banner up that read something along the lines of: “Anything you say may just wind up in a novel.” I thought that was a very appropriate message, since characters that populate my stories are often influenced by statements and actions of others I’ve witnessed. Which got me thinking.
I love mysteries. That’s my chosen genre, both for reading and writing. Anyone who enjoys police procedurals or watches crime shows knows that at some point, the cops will read the suspect the Miranda warning. It’s part of the routine. ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…’ and so on. So I started thinking maybe writers should give out little cards with an author’s warning. Like this.
· You are in the presence of an author. Anything you say or do may end up in a published story or novel.
· These interactions may be altered to fit the character and ultimately may not be flattering to you.
· Your physical appearance, wardrobe, behavior and demeanor may be adjusted. Any body art, piercings, hair extensions and surgical enhancements may be exaggerated or eliminated.
· All characters created are the result of the author’s imagination. Any similarities to any person living or dead is strictly coincidental. Yes, really.
· You will not receive compensation or acknowledgment for your contributions to the story.
I’m sure there are other statements that should be added. Makes me wonder what someone’s reaction would be if I had these printed and handed out.