Hi. I am L M Brown and I would like to thank Victoria for letting me loose on her blog today. I’m just going to take a little time to tell you about where the idea for my new book Driving Me Crazy came from.
Monday mornings are not my favourite part of the week. Nope, not even close. When my alarm goes off on a Monday morning I want nothing more than to throw the clock across the room and snuggle back under the duvet. Thankfully for my clock it is situated on the other side of the room, so I have to actually get out of bed to switch it off.
One thing that does make it a little easier to bear is that the alarm isn’t some annoying bleeping and wailing noise, it is set to turn on the radio. Of course if the music track they are playing isn’t to my taste I might still get the wailing, but mostly I like what the local station plays.
It isn’t the music that perks me up though. It is the presenters of the breakfast show. They have a lively banter and no matter how dark and miserable that Monday morning is, they can usually raise a smile or two, which is quite an achievement on its own.
Now, you are probably wondering what in the world this has to do with my new book, so let me tell you.
As well as music, news and local weather reports, this particular breakfast show has regular opportunities for the listeners to interact with the hosts, and ones of those ways is by taking a guess at a question inspired by a survey. Questions like what do 7% of people have in their car? (Wellingtons apparently!) Or what do 20% of men and 70% of women do once a week? (I didn’t hear the answer to that one I’m afraid.)
Well, on one particular morning the question was: What is the most embarrassing reason for failing a driving test?
The answers provided by listeners varied from the mundane to the ridiculous. There were also a number of responses that were apparently not allowed on air, but at least gave the presenters a chuckle. Hey, it is a breakfast show!
Now, I don’t know what the answer to this particular question was. Unfortunately, I was already at work and without access to a radio when the right answer was revealed, so I don’t actually know what the answer was. However, it did produce a rather persistent plot bunny about a young man who fails his driving test because he is crushing on his instructor.
Lusting after Lee Cooper, his sexy driving instructor, isn’t the most sensible reason for failing his driving test for the third time and when he discovers the damage he has inadvertently done to his instructor’s reputation and business, Brandon knows that he is on his last chance.
After persuading Lee to give him one final course of driving lessons Brandon makes it his priority to figure out if the spark he feels between them is one-sided or whether he can persuade his sexy instructor to move their lessons from the front seat of the car to the back.
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The heavy rain of the previous night had almost completely gone by the time Brandon Walker took to the roads for his driving test. The sun was out and the rush hour traffic jams had cleared for the morning. Conditions were almost perfect. The driving test was going well â€” too well, in fact. Brandon could see his examiner, Gerald Harris, nodding approvingly from the corner of his eye. This wouldn’t do at all.
The lights up ahead were changing to red, so he did what many drivers chose to do in that situation â€” he put his foot down and raced through them.
“You really shouldn’t do that,” Gerald told him reprovingly, looking and sounding like Brandon’s father. “I know we all do it from time to time, but it’s not advisable.”
“Does that mean I’ve failed the test?”
Gerald shook his head. “No, that isn’t bad enough to force me to fail you. Just keep going and try not to do it again.”
Damn. Brandon willed his mobile phone to ring. Reaching to answer it would further hinder his chances of passing; something he had discovered during his second driving test. Unfortunately, the phone remained silent.
At the next set of lights he pulled up behind several other cars and waited for the green light. He had to think of something and he had to do it fast.
“Keep going to the next set of lights, then turn left, please.”
Brandon nodded, thinking his way along the route ahead. They were heading for the bypass. There weren’t many sets of traffic lights in the direction they were going, and Brandon couldn’t guarantee they would be changing at the right time for him to run them. He wondered if a bit of impromptu road rage would make any difference. He couldn’t see the driver of the car in front of him very well; he could only tell the person behind the wheel was male. Would he take the bait if Brandon goaded him a little?
There was only one way to find out. The lights changed to green, and when the car in front of him didn’t move immediately Brandon hit the horn. “Come on Grandpa, get a fucking move on!”
Beside him Gerald gasped, but other than that he didn’t react. The driver of the car in front gave him the finger and Brandon hit the horn again. The other car finally moved, but at a snail’s pace. Brandon rejoiced inwardly when he realised the driver of the other car was deliberately keeping the pace slow to irritate him.
“What are you driving, a golf cart? Find another fucking gear!” He could hear Gerald’s tut-tut beside him. “Can you believe this jerk?”
Gerald declined to comment.
They carried on at the same slow place, Brandon hitting the horn on several occasions to see if he could goad the other driver a little more.
When they approached the turn for the bypass Brandon silently cheered to see the other car pull into the lane alongside him, clearly going in the same direction.
The bypass was popular with the teenage boys in the area who liked to race their cars against each other late at night. Brandon wondered if challenging the other driver would be going a little too far. Then he remembered he needed to fail the test, or else he’d never see him again. A race would be enough for a serious or dangerous fault, or at least he hoped so.
Gerald shook his head and made a note on his test paper.
Brandon glanced at the paper out of the corner of his eye. He wished he could tell if a fault had been recorded. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite see from this angle. Up ahead the traffic lights turned to red as he approached them. Brandon knew it was far too late to run them. Instead he pulled the car level with the other one and turned to take a good look at the driver. He was younger than Brandon and clearly pissed off at his antics.
“Hey, why don’t you stick to the bus?” the stranger called across. “If that’s what they’re teaching you in driver training, there’s no hope for the rest of us.”
Brandon flipped him off. “Why don’t you come over here and say that?”
The guy ignored him and revved his engine instead.
“Race you to the village,” Brandon called.
“I really don’t think that would be appropriate or advisable,” Gerald interrupted. “Not if you want to pass your test today.”
From the way he spoke Gerald made it clear that Brandon, despite his antics, might actually manage to scrape a pass on his test. His mind made up, he turned back to the other driver. “First one to the footbridge?” he suggested. A moment later the youth nodded in agreement.
Brandon grinned and sat back to wait for the green light.
Gerald shook his head. “Don’t you want to pass your test?”
It was on the tip of his tongue to say that he didn’t, but that would mean more questions, none of which he wanted to answer. As long as he failed, everything would be okay.”
Thanks for joining us today! To find out more about L M Brown check out her website!