Last year at this time (February 28) I was clouded with nerves and fear as I went through the process of purchasing my first new car. I’d driven my good old ’93 Ford Probe for almost 10 years—ever since I’d gotten my license (it’s still kind of in operation—my dad uses it), but cost and stress of upkeep was getting too much, and I had a CD that was dying to be put to use.
So after a morning of test-driving and an afternoon of inept negotiations I was the proud owner of a new Toyota Yaris.
I’ve always wanted a Yaris since seeing commercials for it during Prison Break, and though I looked at other cars—even went to the Cincinnati auto show—the Yaris was always the one for me. And I still love it. I still park it in the biggest, farthest away parking spots just to protect it, and every time I see it I want to wash it, even though I know at this time of year that would be futile. I think it loves me, too—a few times I’ve even gotten 40 mpg!
So, in honor of this occasion, I thought I’d look back at the vehicles I’ve chosen to give a few of my characters.
- Janie (SST)
- Gwen (HE)
- Kyle (KMS)
- Vance (KMS)
- Dustin (PG)
- Valerie (HE)
Van (W/ Handicapped Accessibility):
- Amber (PG)
- Sam (HE)
There are a lot of “no car”s on the list. Sometimes I feel a car is sometimes too easy in a story—and in the case of 3 out of 4 of these characters, unaffordable. Forcing characters to find other ways of getting around can take the story in new, unexpected directions. In Kyle and Vance’s case, it probably shaped the yacht-stealing followed by the nautical journey that is central to the story’s quest.
I was a little surprised to see that I have 2 main characters in trucks, but, though a truck doesn’t fit my personality or needs, both Dustin and Valerie are independent, down-to-earth, and hands on, and they both love their trucks.
Our cars say a lot about us, but a character’s car (or lack of) can say even more. It’s one of many details that helps me form my characters and set them on the paths that will become their stories. And maybe in my next book I’ll give someone a Yaris.