Hi Friends! I am excited to bring you an awesome guest post by bestselling author Julie Kenner! Check it out:
I’m a writer (can I hear a “duh” from the blogverse?) and so I know all about embellishing to make a story better, stronger, faster. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that embellishment thing had a bit of a genetic component.
Yes, whatever ability I may have to spin a good yarn came from my grandmother.
I blogged about Grandma recently (anyone else been stranded in Stockholm while traveling with a grandparent? Show of hands, please) and there are definitely more potential stories out there. So let’s call her by her name, shall we? Ebby. Yup, I got oodles of genetic material from Ebby, including the fact that my chin is slightly off center.
But I digress.
About that embellishment thing…
My parents used to work for NASA (I’m not embellishing that). My mom was a secretary, and my dad an aeronautical engineer. They worked out of the Mountainview, California location (remember that—it’s a clue) and I was born there (Mountainview, not NASA) and lived there until I was about 18 months old when my parents moved back to Texas. At that time, my dad left NASA for a private sector job in Austin.
In case you don’t know, NASA has offices in multiple locations, but I think it’s fair to say its main one is in Texas. But in Houston, not Austin.
So that’s the set-up. Here’s the story: Grandma Ebby was rightfully proud of her son, the aeronautical engineer. My dad’s a smart guy, with lots of patents on gizmoes and gadgets he’s invented. Cool stuff that I don’t understand, but will nod and pretend to get. But in addition to that pride, Grandma also (rightfully in my mind) thought that his tenure at NASA was supercool. And on top of THAT, she thought that his relationship with Al Bean, one of the Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon, was even cooler. Bean and my dad, you see, went to high school together. (That’s fact, not embellishment, unless I’m confusing my astronauts, in which case it’s a mistake, not embellishment, but I’m pretty sure I’m right since Bean is the same age as my dad and also from Ft. Worth. But, again, I digress).
For years and years, Grandma Ebby would tell me over and over again — in the way that grandparents repeat stories that you’ve heard a dozen times— that Al Bean used to babysit me. I repeated the story, sharing it with friends, thinking how cool it was that an astronaut babysat me. I mean, I’m right, yes? That’s pretty cool!
Except there were those clues: I wasn’t around when Daddy and Bean would have been hanging together. I came waaaaay after those high school years. And when Daddy worked at NASA, Bean would have been in Houston. And when Daddy was in Austin, Bean might have been passing through the state capital, but why would he pop over and visit us? Especially since the story was always about how he babysat me as a baby. As in changed my diapers. (An astronaut changing my diapers? See, the story’s even cooler!)
Except it was all bunk.
Fluff and phooey.
How do I know? Because a few years after my grandmother passed away I mentioned it to my dad. Something about how I always loved that story and wasn’t it cool that Bean babysat me?
My dad’s response? A long, blank stare.
And then the crushing truth: He knows Bean. Bean and he went to high school together. Bean’s as nice a guy as you’d ever meet. But no, he never babysat me.
And he certainly never changed my diapers.
Which is a shame…because it makes one heck of a good story.
About Julie: Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” bestselling author Julie Kenner’s books have hit lists as varied as USA Today, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine. Julie is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization’s award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005. She writes a range of stories including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, was selected as a Booksense Summer Paperback Pick for 2005, was a Target Breakout Book, was a Barnes & Noble Number One SFF/Fantasy bestseller for seven weeks, and is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures. Julie also writes dark and sexy paranormal romances as J.K. Beck. Julie lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.