Sharing is akin to teaching, but I wanted to handle it separately in this series on "Why I Write" because I wanted to underline that not all an artist shares with the reader is knowledge.
When writing non-fiction only the fact and analysis count, but when writing fiction emotions, intuition, and dreams count too. An novelist shares with the reader a wide spectrum of precious, personal feelings -- feelings about people, ideas and things.
All my novels reflect my personal experience with life. This isn't about facts but about world-view -- my understanding of human nature, of politics, of marketing and parenting, of love and hate etc. etc.
These subjective components are largely what make it possible for two authors to write about an identical subject and produce startlingly different works. Schiller's Joan of Arc is different from George Bernard Shaw's. Which one you like best will largely depend on your world view, which of the writers strikes a cord with your soul, not your mind.
Teaching is all about passing on facts and knowledge, whereas sharing is about opening one's heart to the readers and showing them how how you see the world. Looked at another way, the information that is taught belongs in the realm of plot and setting; the philosophy and worldview that is shared belongs to the realm of theme and character development.
Let me take an example from my most recent publication, Rebels against Tyranny. It is a fact that Emperor Frederick II held two of the Lord of Beirut's sons hostage for their father's good behavior. Beirut seized two royal castles anyway and used these to bargain a truce with the Emperor. When the Emperor released the hostages, including Beirut's sons, the latter had been evidently been badly mishandled. Those are the facts of the case, but there many -- all justifiable and plausible interpretations -- of what the characters felt about the events. Was Beirut callous and indifferent to what might befall his sons? Did they blame him -- or the Emperor for their maltreatment? And just how did two youths raised in luxury and privilege respond to abruptly being prisoners, and mishandled ones at that? I postulate, based not on evidence but intuition, that the experience would have had a profound impact on their character.
Or another example, we know that the Lusignan's invited Franks who had lost their lands and livelihoods in the wake of the disaster at Hattin to re-settle on the Island of Cyprus. The historical record says nothing about how these immigrants were received by the native population. My descriptions are based not on evidence and facts but on my experience of waves of immigration by peoples with a different faith (or race, ethnicity etc) in today's world. The discussions in The Last Crusader Kingdom about how to ease tensions between the groups are not founded in learned facts but in my personal exposure to contemporary events.
Books make great Christmas presents! Share with someone you love new perspectives and worlds full of adventure by giving a book for Christmas.