One day in the middle of winter I was driving down the road with my daughter. The weather was rough as it often is here in Upstate New York and we were talking about the release of Kiss Me, O'Malley. I'm sure I was rambling on and on about the book as I love that family and she was asking questions.
"Mom, where do you get your ideas for a new story?" she asked me.
I was slowing down on the slippery road, getting ready to turn onto a side road. All of a sudden this little wreck of a car failed to make a complete stop and nearly slammed into a new pick-up truck as we watched.
"There," I said pointing at the scene. "That's enough for a story. I could write a book about that. Inspiration is everywhere, on the road, in a store, even listening to bits of conversation in a crowded restaurant."
She shook her head and laughed, but I was already plotting out Just Her Luck in my mind.
I love it when that happens!
Here's an excerpt:
It took quite a while after two New York State Troopers got to the scene. Licenses and insurance information was exchanged and a tow truck was called to remove Babe’s vehicle. It was so old and damaged even the cops had trouble figuring out the make and year until she produced the registration after they pried the glove compartment open.
Chas knew both of them and stood out in the storm asking after their families and making small talk, while Babe took her handful of tickets and retrieved her backpack. She started down the road. He caught sight of her just before she disappeared in a swirl of snow.
“Gotta go, guys,” he said, getting into his slightly damaged truck. “She’s trouble with a capital T but I can’t just leave her out here like this.”
“Need any help?”
“No, I’ve got this. I’ll take her home with me until I get her straightened out. Thanks,” he called as he got in his truck and headed in the direction she’d walked off. When he found her she was a little way up the road, knees deep in a snow bank. He opened the passenger window and called to her.
“Come on, I’ll take you anywhere you want to go,” he yelled above the wind.
“I can’t,” she called back.
“Why not?” he demanded getting more peeved by the second.
“I’m stuck, and I think I hurt my ankle jumping down from your truck,” she screamed. He could see she’d been crying and she wiped her nose on her sleeve.
Chas pulled over as far as the snowbanks allowed and turned his emergency flashers on. Getting out of the truck he stomped to her, took hold of her arm and pulled her from the snow, tossing her over his shoulder.
“You could have waited, you know,” he scolded.
“What for, you don’t owe me anything,” she replied.
“Funny, I feel like I owe you a good old fashioned whooping for being so foolish,” he growled softly as he plopped her onto the seat of his truck.
“Funny, I don’t believe I want to go with you,” she sassed back.
“What are your options?” he asked, facing her in the open doorway and blocking her exit.
“None,” she admitted, looking at her lap and blowing on her frozen hands.
“Then be a good girl and shut up,” he advised, closing her door after clicking the lock.
“How do I know you’re not one of those guys you talked about? The ones who would rape and murder me and toss me in a garbage can?” she demanded when he climbed in and put the truck in gear.
“You don’t,” he replied with a grin. “However, I promise to feed you first, and get you into some warm clothes.”
“Gee thanks,” she sneered.
“You’re welcome. Would you rather go to a shelter? It won’t be nearly as nice as my place but you’ll be safe. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a relatively attractive man with all of my teeth intact. As a rule I don’t have to resort to rape to get a woman into my bed,” he teased.
“And so modest too,” she shot back. “I guess the devil I know is better than the one I don’t.”
“Do you feel you know me?” he asked surprised.
“A little, at least you didn’t abandon me, which is more than I can say about some men. And I am sorry about your truck. It was entirely my fault. I saw you, but I couldn’t stop on these roads.”
“My, she can tell the truth too. A point in your favor. Maybe it won’t have to be a full-fledged whooping. Maybe it can just be a few good swats to your butt to teach you not to put yourself at risk.”
“You are kidding, right?” Babe asked, biting her lip.
Chas grinned and turned the truck around.
Hope it makes you smile. Hugs, Stevie