Book Talk

Writing My Womanhood

Putting pieces of myself into my novels

Dr. Casey Lawrence
Modern Women
Published in
8 min readOct 7, 2023

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Image created by the author using Canva; photos from the author’s real high school prom

If there’s one bit of writing advice that every author has already heard, it’s “Write what you know.” While it is cliché, there’s some truth to that phrase: every time you write something, you put a little piece of yourself into it.

In my very first interview as a novelist (conducted by my good friend Willow Dickerson for her tumblr blog, back in 2015), I said about the protagonist of Out of Order, Corey Nguyen,

“As much as it’s unavoidable to have your characters influenced by your own experiences, I don’t think Corey and I are that much alike. She and I have a few similarities, like being bad at math or being a precocious teenager… but [if] she started as a “what if” version of myself, she quickly started making her own decisions and becoming her own person.”

I had no idea how wrong I was.

I first started writing Corey’s story in 2012, when I was 17 years old. She and I were about the same age and had more in common than I realized. Although our stories diverge dramatically (it’s a murder mystery/thriller), when I reread the book now, I hear her story in my own voice.

My publishing journey was a bit of a roller coaster. Out of Order was meant to be a stand-alone novel, but…

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
Modern Women

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.