COT Button I worked in a grocery store for three years, stocking shelves overnight, from ten until six-thirty in the morning. My latest novel, Check Out Time, is set primarily in a grocery store. When asked if my writing is drawn from personal experience, I always reply with an emphatic “yes.” That’s when the differentiation between fact and fiction comes into play. As writers, we must draw from our messiest emotions so that our readers will be able to relate to our flawed, human characters.

Readers always want to know how much of a novel is drawn from the author’s true experiences. So how much of Check Out Time is drawn from my life? Some of the characters are based very loosely on friends of mine, or people that I’ve met. My main character, Naomi, is not me, but she and I do share many traits. I gave her my fears, my worries, and my insecurities. I also gave her a few of my personal experiences. Most importantly, I gave her my father.

Naomi tragically loses her mother, and is reunited with her father after many years of separation. In my own life, my mother is alive and well. Like Naomi, I met my father again after many years, and we became very close. He passed away in February of this year, and I lost him for the second time in my life. Although Check Out Time is a work of fiction, it is very much an expression of how grateful I am that my father was a part of my life, even for a short time.

COT BCCertainly, many quirky characters made it into Check Out Time. Naomi interacts cautiously with these characters, especially Richard Weston, her love interest. Richard is a handsome young writer, an editor, and a paranormal investigator. The romance will continue to build in the sequel to Check Out Time. As you may guess, Naomi is too nervous to act on anything, and too afraid of commitment to make any concrete decisions—much like her creator!

Real life is messy, and so is Naomi’s life. A story is no good without any conflict. As writers, we must write from the heart, and write what we know. But readers must remember that not everything in a novel comes from truth. Common emotions make up the fabric of humanity—love, loss, courage, and fear, to name a few. Writers must draw from those messy emotions to create a story, a work of art—something that readers will enjoy and relate to. Check Out Time is fiction mixed with reality. Reality is always messy. Clean up in aisle three!




Naomi Vogler blames herself for her mother’s tragic death, continually reliving the accident in her nightmares.  When she reconnects with her estranged father, he invites her to live with him in a little town called Witchfire.

A simple job stocking shelves overnight at a local grocery store seems a perfect distraction.  But when the manager of the store is found dead in the boiler room, Naomi’s boring job becomes something much more complicated.  No matter how she looks at it, one thing is certain: retail is murder.



RS PictureAbout The Author:

Rosa Sophia is the author of the Paranormal Mystery Taking 1960.  She currently resides in south Florida.  Please visit her at:

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