Fiction is all about creating a different world from one’s own real-life experiences, something local author RaeAnne Hadley knows all about. Her life has served as inspiration for her own books, although some of the details are drastically different.
For instance, she’s never had an encounter with a ghost or fallen in love with a psychic. She leaves that to the heroine of her latest novel.
Hadley held a book signing at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries on Monday evening as part of the release for her second book, “With Love; Now and Forever.” Originally released in May, the book is about Anastasia Cassadine, a woman who’s been successful in her career but miserable otherwise since the sudden death of the love of her life, Austin Troy. She gets another chance at finding her soul mate when she meets medium Rick Montgomery, who must help her deal with her demons.
Hadley said her interest in the psychic culture inspired the character Montgomery.
“I got the chance to go see James Van Praagh, and I based a lot of it on him,” she said.
Van Praagh, a writer on spirit communication and the driving force behind the show “Ghost Whisperer,” only served as a small part of Hadley’s impetus for the book. Writing it helped her work through the death of her father, who passed away before her first book, a romantic murder mystery called “Mechanics of Murders,” was published.
“My dad was my hero, and he’d had a stroke, and I wrote my first book as kind of a motivation for him to get better,” she said.
“Mechanics of Murder” focuses on auto technician Josephine Lingenfelter, who besides having Hadley’s maiden name, has a similar trait relating to her father.
“My dad’s name was Ray, and I’m named after him, so I picked the name ‘Josephine’ as something that could be shortened into a man’s name, too,” she said.
The fictional Lingenfelter is much like Hadley in her profession, as the author worked as an auto technician in Loveland for many years, though her story involves discovering a dead body beneath a car.
“The only kind of bodies I ever came across were rats and a skunk, once,” Hadley said.
Hadley’s writing career came about as a result of losing her job during maternity leave and working a graveyard shift job to make ends meet and to have time during the day to care for her family.
“I was just writing a story to have some fun and pass some time because 1 o’clock in the morning was hard for me,” she said. “Then I had some friends read it, and they said it was really good, so I started working on getting it published.”
“Mechanics of Murder” was released by Lulu — a media company that emphasizes “open publishing” for writers to explore different formats and concentrate on harnessing creativity — in 2008.
The same year, Hadley and her family moved to Craig as part of her husband Steve’s job installing plumbing for Moffat County School District.
Hadley credited her husband as being very supportive of her writing.
“I always joke around that I married my Prince Charming,” she said. “He is so amazing because, some nights, he’ll come home and be so tired and all I have to do is look at him and he’ll know that I have some inspiration, and he’ll be, like, ‘Okay, go write.’”
Hadley said her spouse takes care of the couple’s daughters, Madison, 6, and Ashlie, 4, whenever she feels urge to put pen to paper.
“It’s the best gift he could ever give me, allowing me the chance to write,” she said.
Other members of the family contributed in their own way, such as when Madison wrote her own book about horses in her kindergarten class last year.
“She came home from school with this booklet and said, ‘Mommy, I wrote my first novel,’ and I just burst into tears, I was so proud of her,” she said. “It just warms your heart if you can take your kids in that direction.”
Hadley will segue into the educational world later in the month when she lectures at the Colorado Literary Coalition meeting Sept. 30 at the Hampton Inn & Suites.
She said she wants to focus on talking about how aspiring writers can get their material out into the world.
“Everybody has a story, and that’s great, but most people don’t know where to go to get it edited or to get an idea of how great it could be,” she said.
Hadley also is working on more books, including a sequel to “Mechanics of Murder” tentatively titled “A Wrench in the Plan,” though the financial intake from her books has been minimal.
“I currently make about $1 per book, and that’s turned back around into promotion for more books and inventory,” she said.
Hadley is responsible for covering many of the costs for the publishing, but she said the profits have been unimportant to her.
“Being in it for about two years now, it’s not really a moneymaker, but even if we won the lottery tomorrow, I would always be writing,” she said.
“Mechanics of Murder” and “With Love; Now and Forever” are available for purchase from Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Borders, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.