Not my planned post. I never thought I would be writing what I’ve needed to today.
One of my favourite methods of picturing, and then describing certain features of my characters, is to find an image of someone that is near enough to what I want. It’s not always necessary, but it certainly helps. Sometimes I can describe a character and its’ only afterwards that I realise I have unintentionally used a real person as inspiration for general looks. One such character is Aden Young.
Aden is from the White Rose series, and is a lean, strong, and fit man, with dark hair and green eyes. It wasn’t until well after he appeared in my writing that I realised where his looks had come from.
I’m a fan of motorsport, both cars and bikes. I follow two riders in the motorbike world, and it’s one of these that Aden is based on – Nicky Hayden. Nicky was involved in a training accident late last week. His pushbike was hit by a car and he sustained several head injuries.
He died last night.
Nicky had a reputation as the nicest guy in pit lane. He came from a motorsport background and loved competing. He never forgot his fellow competitors and celebrated their triumphs and consoled them when they struggled. He’ll be missed.
Read more here:
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I love motorsport, and in particular the V8 Supercars. I have a team I follow, Nissan Motorsport, which started out as Kelly Racing, and I’m a proud Foundation Member of their supporter club.
This has given me access to lots of valuable information, because one day I will write a romance suspense novel set in the motorsport world. I have a plot, a heroine and a hero, a couple of baddies (there’s a clue), and I’ve even done a little bit of writing on the story. Unfortunately every time I decide to write this particular project, something else ends up taking priority.
Last weekend I headed up the highway with hubby for my annual dose of research/fast cars. As part of my membership I get a pit tour, complete with team member as guide. In the past I’ve been able to feel how heavy a rattle gun is, watch a car being ‘put on patch’ – complete with explanation, and been given a run down on the various elements of the data centre. This year we were given a bonus – a pass to the pre-race grid walk. Another opportunity to gather information.
Okay, and indulge my love of those cars.
So what trivia did I pick up this year?
I’d love to say the racing was good, and with some of the support categories the racing laps they managed were good. Unfortunately the Supercars race was suspended on the second lap due to a crash involving twelve cars. Luckily all drivers were okay, but one has suspected spine fractures.
Which brings me back to the build statistics. All those hours building the chassis are worth it. The massive hits those cars took put at least two cars beyond repair, but they were strong enough that all the drivers survived. I’d say that’s worth it, and the safety of the drivers and teams needs to figure in the book I write if it wants to be in any way authentic.
In the meantime, I’ll keep on with the research.
Blog post 'Researching a Passion' by Alison Clifford
Writing is not my only passion.
I love motorsport too.
One of my earliest memories of playing with my brother is with cars. I can clearly remember arguing over who was going to be Allan Moffat, one of the best known racing drivers of the day.
I grew up watching motorsport on the TV. My father followed the blue oval (Ford), but I discovered the talents of Peter Brock and became a Holden girl. Even today, when there are Nissan’s and Volvo’s racing in the V8 Supercar Championship, the followers generally fall into one of two camps – the red of Holden or the blue of Ford. For many years they were the only marques that were in the main game, so you had to pick one!
For me that began to change in 2013 when my favourite drivers – Rick and Todd Kelly – signed a deal with Nissan and defected from Holden. I say defected, because that’s how it felt. I actually cried.
But not for long.
Faced with the choice of changing drivers or changing marques, I rapidly realised I was more interested in the fortunes of the drivers. If they changed from Holden, then I would too. Whether I would have made the same decision if they’d moved to Ford is a question I really don’t want to explore...
Tomorrow will see me getting out of bed at an unmentionable time and making the trek up the Midlands Highway to our state's best track – Symmons Plains. I will reveal in the joy that is the pit garage tour (comes with my membership), and spend the rest of the day getting too hot in the sun, and then too cold in the wind, as I enjoy the racing and all that goes with it.
Getting trackside is the best thing about motorsport. Those who have only seen it on TV really don’t get the full impact of the event, and I can understand why they would think it boring. It’s not just the visual spectacle of these incredible machines (I love it when they corner on three wheels), but the sound of the engines and squealing tyres, and the smell of the hot brakes and the exhaust fumes. Yes, I said the fumes, and this is why -
It smells like wine.
No kidding - it really does! The V8 Supercars use a special ethanol blend that is made from the inedible part of sugarcane, and it gives the fumes a real fruity scent that reminds me of wine. It’s quite bizarre to smell when you're sitting watching car race around a track, and threw me at first, but it adds to the whole exciting package.
I also love hanging around the back of the pits. Drivers, team owners, pit crews, and media personnel all wander around and are mostly approachable. It is in the pits that I have slowly built up knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes at a top level race meet; knowledge I will one day use it in a book.
So, tomorrow I will spend a day in something approaching heaven - as I define it. I hope you have a passion for something too, and you keep your passion burning.
What's it about?
My thoughts on writing, the research I do, and what interests and inspires me as a writer.
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