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Fiction writers, whether they admit to it or not, write from what they know. I’ve made it very clear that See Jane Run! is based upon the years my husband and I spent in northwestern South Dakota.

A major character in the book is Jane’s mother, Doris Stanton. She is fashioned after my mother Dorothea Stratton. The two mothers are similar in many ways, but they are not identical. No character, setting, event, or sequence of events in See Jane Run! is identical to the original. To give you a peek at how that works, at least in the case of Doris/Dorothea here are 5 ways the fictional character and the real person are the same, and 5 ways they are different.

What’s the Same

  1. Both women helped their daughters move from tame Iowa to the wilds of South Dakota. (See above picture with Dorothea standing on a hillside on the east side of Missouri River near Chamberlain.)
  2. Both women wear polyester pant suits they sewed themselves. (Again see the picture above.)
  3. Both women had bouffant hair styles, and the South Dakota wind did a number on in both cases.
  4. Neither Doris or Dorothea were excited about their daughters being a 12 1/2 hour drive from home.
  5. Both mother/daughter pairs shared a bed during the first night in the daughters’ new homes. Both mothers clung to their daughters through the night and repeatedly whimpered, “I can’t believe my baby is going to live here.” (I’m not creative enough to make a scene like that up.)

What’s Not

  1. While neither mother was thrilled to have a daughter living so far away, Doris is far more bent out of shape by it than Dorothea ever was.
  2. Both mothers gave their daughters advice over the phone, but Doris (she’s the fictional one, in case you’re confused) gave way more advice and it wasn’t as helpful as Dorothea’s (she’s the real deal) was.
  3. Doris was an unapologetic matchmaker on Jane’s behalf. Dorothea never, not even once, tried to find me a husband because I already had one. Mom’s always been good that way.
  4. Doris sent money so Jane could treat herself to a haircut and buy groceries. Such a thought would never have occurred to Dorothea. If it had, she would have taken two aspirin and gone to bed early in hopes of feeling more like herself in the morning.
  5. Doris was not a fan of Jane’s neighbor Merle Laird. Dorothea got a kick out of the real person Merle Laird is fashioned after. She even milked his cow, made butter, and talked gardening with him. I think he had a crush on her because he was always asking about her.

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