Fact Checking in the Real World, part 2

When I first decided to write books, I always knew that there would be some story scenes that had roots in incidents from my real life. What I didn’t realize was how many times I would write a scene or story line and then have something similar happen in my life (or just as often my oldest daughter’s life) Really, it’s happened with such regularity that it is a little bit spooky.

For example, there is a scene in Just One Wish (Used to be When You Wish Upon a T.V. Star) where Annika and Steve are driving down a highway in the middle of nowhere and their car stops. I’d barely researched and written that scene when my daughter and her boyfriend had car problems after a visit here when they were driving back to Utah. You’ll all be glad to know that apparently I’d written a pretty accurate description of what happens when the transmission goes out. I also asked my daughter what her boyfriend said at the time and then used that as dialogue. (That is the type of loving mother I am–my child is stuck in the middle of nowhere and I want dialogue details.)

I have to say though, that the Orlando Bloom story surprised even me.

In Just One Wish, the main character Annika, goes off to Hollywood to try and track down a famous and incredibly handsome young actor. (And yes, I did imagine him to look like Orlando Bloom when I wrote it.)

But the first time she sees him she doesn’t recognize him.

The Bow-tied one did not buy it. He told me that if she was a fan and she’d done any amount of research on the Internet she would know what he looked like, even if he did play a blond guy on the Robin Hood series. (Think Legolas from The Lord of the Rings. Ahhhh. Now stopping thinking of him and get back to reading my blog.)

So not long ago, one of my high school buddies emailed me. Without knowing anything about my conversation with my editor she told me the story of her encounter with Orlando Bloom.

Here it is in Misty’s words:

I actually met Orlando Bloom. He was in Louisville filming the movie “Elizabethtown”. Paramont had a temp office in the same building where I worked. I walked from one building through a pedway to another building with him and his dog, and we talked the whole time. He was a really nice guy.

The funny part was that I didn’t know who he was. I knew the dog was Orlando’s dog, because the security guard in the building had told me that they were letting him bring his dog in, but I didn’t realize Orlando was the scrub walking the dog. I even asked him if it was Orlando’s dog.

He looked at me to see if I had a clue in my head. Seeing that I didn’t, he said that yes, it was Orlando’s dog.

We got to the end of the hallway, and there was this guys with the movie signing folks in for second call backs for extras. I asked if I could go back to get some autographs, but he said no.

I said, “Well at least I got to pet Orlando Bloom’s dog.” I petted the dog again, and went on my merry way.

When I got back up to the office I told some folks about it. They asked what the guy who was walking the dog looked like. I described him (in my defense, he was dressed like he just rolled out of bed and grabbed what was on the floor).

This lady I worked with had taken his picture earlier that day with her cell phone. Much to my surprise, it was the dog walker. Another lady I worked with had a brother who was a stage hand working on the movie. She went out with him and some of his stage hand buddies. Apparently Orlando was telling everyone about the crazy chick who didn’t know who he was, but knew who his dog was.

You know, he meets a lot of folks, but me, he will remember. Feel free to use this true, but unbelievable story in a future book. It is pretty funny.

Okay, it’s me, Janette again. I have to say that it is funny. And just one more example of life imitating my writing. Thanks for taking the hit that time, Misty, and proving to me that yes, it could happen in real life.

(I think for my next book, I should write a story about an author who becomes fabulously wealthy and best friends with Orlando Bloom . . . it could happen.)


  1. The Golfing Librarian
    June 9, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Misty’s story about Orlando Bloom reminds me of the day that my wife and I were at Orlando’s SeaWorld (the city, not the actor)just after the Winter Olympics in which Dan Jansen had FINALLY won his Gold medal. We were walking along a crowded sidwalk when someone said “Look! There’s Dan Jansen!” My wife, who was had followed his story intently, said “Where? I don’t see him. Where is is he? I don’t see Dan Jansen.” And while she’s standing there, twirling in circles trying to spot Dan, he is standing right next to her watching her and could have easily reached out and put his hand on her shoulder to stop her from spinning. Dan, my in-laws and I all had a nice, good natured chuckle at my wife’s expense.

  2. Melinda
    June 9, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I think the trick to this is that often if we are not expecting something to happen, our minds don’t register things that should be obvious.

    For example, I ran into an old high school friend. She looked the same as in high school. (We hadn’t seen each other for about ten years.) I should have know it was her right off. But I didn’t expect to see her, so I didn’t recognize her. Afterward, I felt so silly.

    This could definitely happen if you ran into someone famous.

  3. Helen
    June 9, 2008 at 9:31 am

    thanks so much Janette for letting us know about your amazing experience and your encounter with Orlando Bloom. Wow…amazing… so Orlando talked about you with his buddies… that’s must be amazing! I wish you could give me more details about all this wonderful memory for you… thanks for being as generous as to share all this with us and let other forum post it! wow.. I wish you could tell me more… your story has lots of ingredients: funny, moving, surprising… such good memories… wow… I wish I had been there!

  4. megs
    June 9, 2008 at 9:49 am

    This is why I honestly have no desire to meet any celebrities–I am positive I would make an idiot out of myself. Even now, just thinking about myself in that situation, I blush….

  5. Pickles like pizza on Christmas
    June 9, 2008 at 10:43 am

    LOL! That is so funny! Nothing like that ever happens to me though, but I have predicted a fire alarm. Of course they gave us a paper saying that that would happen.

  6. Lillian Syville
    June 9, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Yeah i’d say that part’s pretty acurate

  7. Asenath
    June 9, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    you failed to mention that none of the good things happen to me–only the parts like cheating boyfriends and cars breaking down…when do I get to end up with a movie stars son huh?

    and I bet Orlando found it refreshing not to be recognized for once.

  8. Janette Rallison
    June 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I bet Orlando did find it refreshing. If I ever saw him and knew it was him, I’m sure I would have done something to totally embarrass myself.

    Maybe I should start planning for it now just to be prepared . . .

  9. Anna Maria Junus
    June 9, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I love Orlando Bloom. He can take his pirate swordfighting elfdom self over to my place anytime.

  10. Anonymous
    June 9, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I have to laugh. I needed a opening scene to my new book and my husband had a bird strike in his plane as I was watching. There was my opening scene. I have a rollover accident in my second book and I needed a scene for the same book that would bring he and she together again this time for real and I rolled my husbands truck on the way to Provo. At that point in time I said no more real life experiences.

  11. Enna Isilee
    June 10, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Janette, your posts always make me smile.

    I went to the library to check out some more of your books in preperation for you coming to Utah and they’re ALL CHECKED OUT! Every single one! And we have multiple copies too!

    Luckily for me though we just got RotC and I get to have it first. 🙂
    And someday we’ll get Ex-Boyfriend.

  12. Janette Rallison
    June 10, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I love to be checked out. (My books, that is.) See you in Utah!

  13. Julie Wright
    June 10, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Orlando Bloom . . . sigh. I don’t care how too young for me that kid is, he is adorable. Love your research stories. You make me laugh

  14. Annette Lyon
    June 10, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I didn’t even come close to recognizing Orlando Bloom the first time I saw him onscreen with dark hair. I had to stare for awhile, KNOWING it was him before I could see it.

    The Bow-tied one should know not to question you. 🙂

  15. Nerd Goddess
    June 11, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Enna Isilee’s post reminds me that I still need to go out and buy one of your books before I meet you…

    Good post, though. I’m sure I’d do the same thing with a movie star. Now if it was an author….

  16. Pickles like pizza on Christmas
    June 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    My aunt got all the luck in my family, she’s met you, Stephenie meyer, Shanon Hale, and MORE! It’s so wrong. Then again she is a english major…But she is VERY lucky. She took it all, it’s not my fault I’m a klutz, unlucky, forgetful, and oblivious!

  17. Janette Rallison
    June 12, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    But at least you’re really cute!

  18. Kari Pike
    June 12, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    You left out the part where the bow-tied one bows before you acknowledging your great powers of wisdom and prescience…(do you like the new word I learned today!)

  19. Janette Rallison
    June 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    That will be the day. Maybe I should just write that scene into a book . . .

  20. Pickles like pizza on Christmas
    June 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    How do you know what i look like?? I;m creeped! I know you know my aunt but I’ve never met you. Or are saying that to make me feel better?

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