I’m so pleased to have Candace Carrabus as my guest today. Candace has a book in the Must Love Pets: A Romance Box Set with me and five other authors (including Dale Mayer). Now I’m going to be in a paranormal box set with Candace and other authors (including Dale and Mary Hughes)! It’s fun working with all of them, and I love Candace’s writing, even when she’s talking about a new car.
Why a Car is Like a Book
We had to buy a new car today. The one I’ve been driving for almost eleven years, the one with over 271,000 miles on it, the one that’s been burning oil, began running rough. Our mechanic said it needed a new engine. The several thousand dollars that would have cost were better put toward a new car, so that’s what we did.
It made me sad, though, driving that vehicle for the last time. Our daughter had just turned four when we got it, still strapped into a car seat. Now, she’s on the cusp of getting her permit and taking over the driver’s seat. In between then and now, a lot has happened. And a lot of it has happened inside that car.
According to the National In-Car Study, Americans average more than 15 hours per week in a car. That’s nearly 14% of our waking hours. When you consider how much time Americans spend driving, it is any wonder we have a love affair with our automobiles?
I was in love with a car once (and that is, as they say, another story). Not this latest one. I’ve always viewed them as a tool for getting from point A to point B. But this car was comfortable and easy to drive, and I loved it.
Our daughter grew up in this car and began driving it down our dead-end gravel road while sitting on my lap. She giggled with her friends in the back, and the detritus hidden beneath the seat testified to her love of snacks and ability to do just about anything with the rubber bands from her braces except wear them.
Okay, so what does all this have to do with books? You may have already drawn the logical conclusion.
It’s the stories.
A car is a container–like a book’s covers–for hundreds of stories about us.
Like the time–shortly after we got it–when I pointed it down our road on a beautiful fall day with the roof open and Fleetwood Mac cranked up on the stereo. I heard a sound that didn’t belong with the song, and my cat, Rocket, poked his head through the moon roof. He’d been napping up top, and I hadn’t noticed.
Or how I had to tell Balto’s story EVERY SINGLE DAY to my daughter on the way to pre-school for months and months, and how shocked she was to learn we couldn’t go to Alaska to visit the famous wolf-dog because he’d died long before.
“But when you tell the story, it’s so real,” she said.
Isn’t that the point of reading a book? To get so caught up in the events and characters that you forget it isn’t real?
When I’m driving alone, I spend much of my time thinking about whatever story I’m working on, fleshing out personalities, hearing conversations, and discovering plot twists, sometimes discarding them just as quickly, sometimes recording notes with my phone. We took family trips to New York and Colorado and North Carolina. All chapters in our lives. Long talks, wrong turns, arguments, games, laughter, naps, songs, tears.
This is what stories are made of. This is what life is made of.
Okay, okay, I’m starting to sound like a bad automobile commercial. But I’ve decided that a car is much more than just a tool to get from place to place. It is simply a container–like the front and back covers of a book–an empty vessel waiting to be filled with stories, with life, much like the blank pages of a manuscript.
If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.
Have you had a special car in your life where you made stories and memories?
At the bottom of the post is Candace’s rafflecopter. She’s giving away a book and will announce the winner on her blog.
But first, here’s the info about Candace’s wonderful Dreamhorse Mystery #1:
Meet smart (and sometimes foul)-mouthed jumper rider, Viola Parker, whose whipped-cream-in-a-can addiction is all that gets her through the day when her nights are invaded by a dead horse kicking up bad news…
Vi’s attitude just landed her out of work–again–and she can barely keep her horse in hay let alone support her need for whipped cream. Now, all that’s between her and a surprise trust fund is keeping a job for one full year by the time she’s 30. And a glowing letter of recommendation.
But it’s hard to keep a civil tongue when within minutes of arriving at her new post at a Missouri horse farm, Vi runs headlong into a bull, has to catch a runaway, and her horse kicks her kilt-clad boss, Robert Malcolm.
If Malcolm doesn’t make the farm a success within the year, his father will sell it to developers. The new manager is a key component in his plan, but the moment Vi and her long legs and keen gaze step into his bull’s path, he knows he’s in trouble. Soon, sparks fly between them. But someone else has their eye on the land, too, and they will do anything to kill his success.
It’s supposed to be a relaxing–boring!–year of riding “on the buckle.” First, Vi’s favorite red panties take a float downstream without her, and when she gets to the store to stock up on whipped cream, people are already talking about it. Soon, between the dead horse visiting Vi’s dreams and the dead bodies piling up, the question isn’t whether she can keep her mouth shut long enough to earn a reference, but whether she’ll live long enough to get it.
And here’s her Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway