This morning, I accidentally applied for a job as a truck driver. Real Life Romance Hero and I are both looking for side hustles, and I wanted to show him how a job=seeking app worked, and, thanks to slippery fingers and a sensitive touchscreen, I got two beeps, alerting me to the status of my applications. One of those ads was for a truck driver.
I am not a truck driver. I am not anything driver. I write romance novels, and I write about romance novels (romance in movies and TV is also right up my alley, if anybody needs web content.) I play with pen and paper, a lot, but, when the literal rubber meets the literal road, I am not in the literal driver’s seat. There is good reason for this. Two of them, actually. Left and right eyes. To be completely transparent, it is mostly Lefty’s fault, while Righty picks up most of Lefty’s slack, but gets tired sometimes. This understandably does things to ye olde depth perception, which is kind of important when aiming tons of metal down long stretches of highway at advanced speeds. For those curious about the other accidental job application, that was for a work at home gig, and if those people get in touch with me, I’ll hear them out, but that’s not pertinent to the topic at hand.
The whole truck driver thing is actually kind of funny, because, when I was but a wee little princess, long haul truck driver was on my long list of possible future occupations. My main reason was that I loved going on car trips, watching the scenery change, and imagining stories about all the other people, in all the other cars. Where were they coming from, where were they going, and what were they going to do when they got there? I may also have had a slightly romantic view of the whole concept of “truck stop,” and, as a young teen, I may or may not have had a few characters floating around my head, who spent a good chunk of their time in exactly that sort of vehicle. I may also, in high school, have expanded that into a three=act play, two acts of which got staged readings in English class. For those curious about my grade for that assignment, I got an A+.
Which brings us around to the topic of writing historical romance fiction. I fully accept that today is domestic tsumani day (any day that starts with accidental job applications is pretty much doomed in that direction) On this kind of day, the whole concept of sitting high above the flow of traffic, music of choice playing as loud as I want it, caffeinated beverage at hand, and, let’s be real, a four-legged companion in the passenger seat -who wouldn’t want to get paid to take car rides with a dog?- is pretty darned appealing. Get in the truck, and just go. Watch the scenery change, imagine who’s going where, what they’ll do when they get there, who knows where they’re going, who’s hopelessly lost, and who is currently arguing with their passenger and/or GPS about whose directions are going to get them where they wanted to go, if that’s where they end up at all.
John DeWarre, the hero of my medieval novella, A Heart Most Errant, is probably the closest I am going to get to the image I had in my early pubescent head about the life of a nkight of the road. That’s because he is one, a knight-errant in fourteenth century England. He doesn’t have a truck, because it is fourteenth century England, and he doesn’t have a dog, but he does have a horse, creatively named Horse. That’s because John is not creative. Not even a little; he’s a soldier, even if he’s not at war, and has no master. He’ll still carry out his duty anyway, grumbling his way around a post-plague wasteland.
No story if that’s all that happens, though, right? Which is where Aline comes in, talkative, optimistic, and willing to risk it all on a one in a million chance, because, hey, those odds are better than staying where she is when her and John’s worlds collide. The plague wiped out the life she’d known up until that point, so girlfriend seriously does not have anything to lose here. Once she and John get on the road, they do not lack for adventure, and getting their story out to readers is not going to lack adventure, either.
Their story is my first road story, but probably not my last. Writing road stories does scratch the itch of mental wanderlust, and, let’s face it, has fewer chances of engine trouble, travel delays, or weigh stations. I have my music of choice playing right this minute, got the four-legged companion covered already, as Skye is my faithful mews, though she will abandon me in a not second, if Real Life Romance Hero becomes available. He is her favorite, and she loves him the most. As for caffeinated beverage, it’s probably about time to make another cup of tea. Spoiler alert: it is always time to make another cup of tea.