First, a word about “eidetic” memory, sometimes erroneously referred to as “photographic” memory. Otherwise termed “visual” memory, it describes the relationship between perceptual processing and the encoding, storage and retrieval of the resulting neural representations, and is a form of memory which preserves some characteristics of our senses pertaining to visual experience. We are able to place in memory visual information which resembles objects, places, animals or people in a mental image.
Now to the stories. I’ll use two for this blog to keep it reasonable in length.
My award winning book, A Voyage Beyond Reason, was written in collaboration with the main character, “Coach” Ben Wade. We took his journals from his kayak trip and built a fictional story around them with the purpose of turning it into a page burner mystery (and readers tell us we succeeded). The “experience” connection comes from the descriptions of places. Ben’s views, delivered through the journal quotes, are mostly from the kayak and the sea. They are definitely his personal experiences and the core of the story. Most of the descriptions of shore, jungles, cities, and beaches are from my experience working in Mexico and Central America. It’s a simple as that. We simply merged the memories to flesh out the story.
The first novel of the Amos Mead Adventure Series, Code Name: ORION’S EYE, draws heavily from old friends and family. The scenes are a combination of my childhood memories, my own and those related to me by my parents. See, I’m literally the four year old in the book, set in 1943. As an example, the description of the ride on the Red Line streetcar to the San Pedro waterfront, boarding the ship Avalon and sailing to Catalina through the ant-submarine nets is my own memory. My father was 2d Mate on the ship, we lived on Catalina, and I made many voyages with him—even at four years old. So you can dig deep for material. The OSS safe house in LA is a description of the home of a current dear friend. I lived with him during a consulting assignment I was doing for one of his companies and the descriptions of “B.J.’s quarters” are mine. The main house, a Spanish revival, and the patios, always impressed me and were a natural for the scene. “B.J.” herself was a high school sweetheart of mine never forgotten. The “Donovan Gochais” and his family are mine. If you can pronounce French then you’ll recognize my name, Gauthier, as Gochais.
Next week I’ll dive in to MEAD’S TREK and DIE LISTE: Revenge on the Black Sun. both are rich in imagery from my troubled mind. Look for experiences like: Working in an 1865 Bavarian village—in Brazil. Working in El Salvador during the insurgency war. Working in a country under military junta rule. And being stopped at gun point by militia in the mountains of Guatemala late on a dark night. All grist for the stories I now can write.