I had an inquiry from someone who was searching for the poem, “Lilacs in Summer,” which one of the characters in Runaway Twin plagiarizes. She couldn’t find the poem on the internet, and asked where she could get a copy. She can’t find “Lilacs in Summer” because it doesn’t exist. I made it up. I even Googled the title before I used it, to be sure there wasn’t a real poem with that title.
Another reader requested the street address of Aunt Ethel, from The Ghost’s Grave. She was planning a field trip to view all of the places mentioned in the story. I explained that Aunt Ethel and her house are fictional, as is the rest of the book.
While many readers feel as if a fictional story is true, those who read my nonfiction often question the facts. I have many letters from kids who read Small Steps asking if I really had polio. Those who read Five Pages a Day want to know if I really won a car.
Apparently my fiction is so realistic that it seems true, while my real life is too unusual to be believed. As a writer, I obviously can’t be trusted.