Except for four years, I’ve lived all of my life in suburbia USA. When you live in the suburbs, you rely on cars for so much. This is one reason why car culture has always been alive and well in my novels.
In my novel Nesting, there is a Ford Maverick (my first car) and in Flight I included a Ford Gran Torino (my sister’s first car), a Dodge Arrow, and a scooter. I have also included a Honda Accord (before getting my current Civic coupe), a Toyota Camry (I’ve personally had a Paseo and a Matrix), a Mini Cooper, a Toyota Prius, and the list goes on.
My characters race, flee for their lives, argue, make up, and have sex in cars (oh, and on a scooter in Flight). Here are car/driving excerpts from two of my novels:
The lopsided headlight cast an upward beam as it rounded the corner from Princess Anne Road and the motor scooter pulled up beside the lighted marble fountain. Kate grasped her library book tighter to her chest and stared, unable to look away now that she’d finally come face to face with the woman she’d been watching for months.
The young woman’s smooth, tanned legs easily balanced the scooter, and she sat with her torso erect. She wore her thick, dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, leaving her face unframed and her neck exposed. The illumination coming from beneath the surface of the fountain reflected onto her skin, a rich mocha with a touch of cream. Kate’s eyes met hers, and the playfulness she found there made her heart race.
“You go to school here,” the woman said.
“Get on, rich girl,” she said, patting the seat behind her.
“Get on?” Kate echoed.
“Unless you’re scared.”
“Scared of what – a little scooter?” Kate’s short laugh was drenched in nervousness.
“Or of me.” She gave Kate a challenging look, a smile that came as much from her eyes as it did from her full lips.
From 23 Miles:
When Talia passed the pull-off near Ringfield Park, a dark van pulled out behind her. It sped up until it was right on the bumper of her Honda. She increased her speed, and so did the dark van. She couldn’t tell if it was black or dark blue; she only knew it was too close for comfort.
What if it’s the cops? she wondered in her marijuana-induced paranoia. No, no way they’d be out here in a van. Besides, she was on federal land. It’d be the park service rangers patrolling there, not the state or county. Right?
Talia turned the music way down, as if to help her concentrate on driving. She sped up further but the van stayed right on her. The buzz she’d worked so hard to get disappeared and fear took over.
The van flashed its lights like it wanted her to stop. She felt a little sick. Again, it flashed its lights—off and on, off and on, low beams to high beams. Then the inside of her car lit up with what she assumed was a spotlight. A voice screaming in her head told her if she stopped, she’d be dead.
Here is an unrelated note: Many characters from Flight show up in 23 Miles, which is set in 1986, three years after the events of Flight.
Another note: 23 Miles was written as a way to shine a much needed spotlight on the cold cases attributed to the Colonial Parkway killer. It is a fictionalization of the 1986 real-life double homicide of Cathleen Thomas and Rebecca Ann Dowski, the first two victims of the Colonial Parkway killer. The novel fictionalizes the event, but I kept the crime scene and setting of the crime true to life in the hope that it might jar someone’s memory of the parkway during the years of the murders.