I can deal with the life-imitating-art aspects of existence. Yes, it’s weird when -- a midnight blue BMW having been highly significant in Where It Began -- my husband rolls up in a dark blue BMW. Say last week. It might be “imperial blue” and not “midnight blue,” and it’s not a convertible, but still.

And then we get the, “Oh shit, that’s where that came from!” moment when there’s a sudden startling realization that some detail in a book came not from my imagination but from a long-forgotten real-life conversation.

Picture this: There I was at a Young Adult Writer Speed Dating event having a wonderful time chatting with bloggers. Then a blogger whose brother was my kid’s good friend in high school approaches. She is completely lovely but I can barely carry on a conversation because it hits me (hard, and right between the eyes) that Gabby talking about her fellow-Winstonites going off to Majorca in the summer is not, in fact, a great-sounding evocative detail I made up – it comes from a conversation with said blogger’s dad about something that happened to him in the summer in Majorca.

So then I sit there panicking about what other cute details I thought I made up are connected to actual people, and if these details will lead readers to think I was writing about something that happened at my own kids’ high school -- which I wasn’t. Or worse, that the characters represent real people, which again, they don’t.

I am suddenly very, very glad that I gave Latimer Day, the school in Afterparty, a stable and horses, unlike any real school in the hills above Los Angeles. But there I sit, trying to remember if any name I used in Afterparty is in some way similar to the name of anyone I’ve ever known.

Anyway, if your name is Aiden and I know you, I apologize profusely.

P.S. If anybody has a sudden urge to share a moment of panic, literary or not, misery loves company.

AuthorAnn Stampler