I have just peeked into Donna Gephart’s Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen, which was released Tuesday. At the beginning of the book, it says the following:
This is a work of fiction. All incidents and dialogue, and all characters with the exception of some well-known historical and public figures, are products of the author’s imagination, and are not to be construed as real. Where real-life public or historical figures appear, the situations, incidents and dialogues concerning these persons are fictional and are not intended to depict actual events or to change the fictional nature of the work. In all other respects, any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
(I think the extensive disclaimer is largely because since the book involves the Jeopardy! game show, Alex Trebek appears in it.) I believe most of that disclaimer, but I also believe that an author’s imagination is fed by all her life experiences.
And after all, as it happens, this author did once know a girl with long brown hair and glasses who lived in Philadelphia, and who was very good at trivia, not half-bad at hula-hooping, and not all that great at figuring people out. The circumstances of her life and other elements of her personality are entirely different than mine, and nothing that happens to Olivia in the book ever happened to me. From what I saw in the book, Olivia Bean is entirely herself and a unique creation, but unless there’s good reason to believe otherwise I am choosing to believe there’s a tiny seed of me in her. This is mostly because I want to beleive it, of course!