Question Okay, so I know people write about murder and what not, but that's fiction. I know this is probaly a stupid question but I'm writing a memoir about my life. So I'm basically admitting when I did drugs, where I did them, what kind I did, and who with (the names of the people I did them with are changed, but I say their relationship to me) I'll also be admitting that I fooled around with someone over age. I'm not underage now but I was in the setting of the book. Can I get in trouble for any of this?
Answer Hi, Brandon!
Well, it depends on what you mean by "trouble." Can you get in trouble with the law for your own actions? Perhaps. That depends on whether the "statute of limitations" on the particular crime in your state has expired.
Can you get in trouble with other people because you put their description in a book about bad things they did? Yep. Sure can. It depends on a bunch of things, so this is definitely something you want to bring up with a good attorney before you send it to an agent. An attorney who practices in publishing law (called an "entertainment law" attorney or an "intellectual property law" attorney---depending on the state) can steer you right. One good place to check for the names of attorney who practice this kind of law in your area is the Martindale-Hubbell website, which lists attorneys. You can search by specialty or by state.
If you can't afford an attorney (because they aren't cheap) you could check with one of the various "Lawyers for the Arts" programs that provide "pro bono" (free) or low-cost attorneys to artists, authors and such. The attorneys volunteer their time because they KNOW authors and artists don't have much money. Here's a list of the various organizations out there to see if your state is on it:
I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.
I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.
Organizations Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.
Publications Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.
Education/Credentials My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.
Awards and Honors USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.