Pride & Prejudice & Racecars

Pride & Prejudice & Racecars

Well, I have done it. It was a total accident, but I have written a stock car racing story featuring Darcy and Lizzy. Since I don’t have the right to use the NASCAR name, the book will just be about a generic stock car racing series. I will have to make it part of the editing process to make sure I don’t improperly use branded names, but while that makes it harder, writing this book has been a lot of fun. 😀

To be honest, I did not intend to write something this long based in the racing world just yet. I still have my racing novel sitting here, partially plotted out.

I went three months hardly writing anything at all. I started three or four stories and got to around 5,000 words on each, and they dried up. I’d stare at the screen, and no words would come. Then, one night, in the middle of the night, an idea came to me: why not take my two racing one-shots, expand them a bit, write a couple more short racing stories, and make that a book. It might not be very popular, but I’d have a book written.

I began the next morning to write the 935 words that would be the beginning of this story. What I had intended to be no more than 5,000 words or so is now just shy of novella length. I have had lots of fun writing it, and reading the comments on my blog and on Facebook about it.

I have decided to write a series of racing stories, this one being the first. My racing novel will be Book 2 in the series, which is named Pride & Prejudice & Racecars. I have no timeline for Book 2 yet. 🙂

The original title of this story was “Meetup at MIS,” but when published, it will have a new name: Darcy’s Race to Love.

A reader does not need any knowledge of NASCAR to understand this story. There are definitely race scenes, but I have done my best to avoid acronyms and racing-specific terms. This story is Darcy and Elizabeth falling in love in a modern setting. I have also worked hard to keep Darcy as in-character as possible.

I have included an excerpt here. It’s the beginning of the story, the first part of which was added after I began posting on the blog. I hope you will give it a read and tell me what you think. 🙂

The book will be published in a couple weeks, though I will still be posting on the blog and on a forum. My posting date here at Austen Authors snuck up on me, so I have not prepared a giveaway, but rest assured, there will be one next month! 😀

Oh, and…feel free to join me at Austen Promises every Thursday! 😀

~~~***~~~

Will Darcy entered the media room at Michigan’s biggest oval racetrack with his typical scowling face and furrowed brow. A reserved man by nature except with those he was closest to, he hated these pre-race interviews where he had to face a dozen or more reporters all at once. He was aware that most people believed he was too good to speak to them, but that was not the case. He was no good with small talk and making jokes with strangers, and did not appreciate word games. He answered all questions straightforwardly and honestly, and when someone tried to be coy with their query, he always asked for clarification. He had a reputation for being difficult because he did not play along, neither making this easy for the media nor partying with his fellow drivers. Will had his family and was very good friends with two or three fellow drivers, and that made him happy. He did not need or want to be the center of attention unnecessarily.

After what to Will was a tortuous thirty minutes of giving succinct answers to serious questions, further cementing the perception that he was cold by bluntly dismissing the sly innuendos of two media members who were trying to turn an incident at the previous week’s race into something it was not, he happily left the room, heading to the garage stall that held his racecar. Once there, he looked over the car, discussing the setup and race strategy.

“Will! Have you seen Bingley? Tell him I need him in the hauler ASAP!”

Nodding his head at his father, Will ended his conversation with the crew and headed out to pit road to find his friend and fellow driver.

~~~***~~~

Michigan International Speedway 8/16/09

Liz Bennet and her sister Jane entered the parking lot at Michigan International Speedway early on Sunday morning. Pulling up to the fence at the far end of the lot, they parked their Ford sport-package pickup next to a small economy car filled to capacity with people and tailgating equipment.

“I wonder how that guy could even see out the rearview mirror?” Jane’s voice was filled with an uncharacteristic derision, but Liz ignored the attitude. Her favorite sister had not yet had enough coffee to behave like a human, and it was rather early in the morning.

“Mmmm, I don’t know. I’m kind of surprised he did not get pulled over and told to get rid of some of it.”

“Cops are all back at that corner we turned, drinking coffee and eating doughnuts. They were too busy to notice a toaster on wheels.”

“Indeed. Here, I have a second thermos of coffee behind my seat. Let me pour you another cup.” Following her words with actions, Liz soon had Jane sipping her fourth mug of joe. Hopefully, it will be enough to improve her mood. Liz and Jane normally got along like a house on fire, but everyone in the family knew to give Jane a wide berth until she was at least halfway through the second pot.

Finally, after a sixth shot of caffeine and a breakfast sandwich, Jane was perking up. The girls locked up the truck, sprayed each other with sunscreen, and headed into the track.

Eschewing the tram, Liz and Jane walked the mile from their vehicle to the midway area. There they visited every display, seeing the famous beer company Clydesdales, playing games to win samples of sticky note products, and viewing the merchandise at the tent of a nationwide rent-to-own company. By this time, the sun was well into the sky and the August day was heating up. They took thirty minutes to eat and refresh themselves, then headed into the grandstand area, making a beeline to the tunnel that led to pit road.

Kentucky Speedway July, 2011 (The date on the camera was set improperly.)

The tunnel was cool after the heat of the sun, and the girls chatted with other race fans as they walked down one set of steps, under the track, and then back up another set. Finally, they arrived at the other side to a beehive of activity. They scooted out of the way, allowing other fans and lots of race personnel to pass them. They debated a few minutes about which direction to walk in, as Liz’s favorite driver liked to pit at the entrance to pit road and Jane’s preferred the exit. In the end, they decided to begin at the entrance and work their way up to the end. First, though, they wandered around behind the pit boxes, watching the crews glue lug nuts on wheels and run through pre-race checklists.  

As they turned to head out onto pit road itself, Jane ran straight into someone. The ginger-haired young man was speechless for a long moment, as was Jane. Liz looked between the two and rolled her eyes. It was not at all unusual for a man to be enraptured by her sister’s looks. Jane was stunningly gorgeous. What was not normal was Jane staring back. Liz gave her sister a small push to get her attention.

“Oh!” Jane looked over her shoulder at Liz and then back to the most handsomely packaged man she had ever seen. “I’m sorry!” She told her feet to move, but they refused to obey her.

“Oh, oh no! You’re fine.” The man visibly swallowed, then stuck his hand out. “I’m Bingley. Charles. Charles Bingley.”

Jane smiled. “I’m Jane Bennet. I am so happy to meet you.”

“Me too. You’re a race fan?”

“Yes! My sister and I,” Jane gestured over her shoulder to Liz, “attend a couple races a year. This is our first time here at Michigan, but we have been to several other tracks.”

“Great!” Bingley reached around to shake Liz’s hand in greeting. He opened his mouth to say more, when a deep baritone called out his name.

“Bingley, Coach is looking for you.”

“Right! I’ll be right there. Let me introduce you to a couple ladies I have just now met.” With that, Jane and Liz turned to meet the newcomer.

Immediately, Liz was struck speechless. Bingley’s voice became a buzzing in her ear as her eyes took in the tall, dark hunk of man-candy. Easily six foot three or four, with dark, wavy hair, he was dressed similarly to Bingley, in a firesuit with the arms tied around his waist and his upper body encased in a tight-fitting black t-shirt. His arms bulged with finely-toned muscles, and his stomach was flat.

Taking a deep breath, Liz allowed her eyes to rise up to his. She was arrested by the deep blue orbs. Eyes that were staring right back at her. Suddenly, she was shoved forward, snapping her out of her trance. Glaring behind her at her smirking sister, Liz blushed beet red.

“Lizzy, Bingley just introduced you to his friend. You should say hello.”

Liz narrowed her eyes at Jane, her look promising revenge at a later date. She turned back to the hunk, extending her hand. “I’m Liz Bennet.” Her heart stopped beating for just a second before restarting at a rapid rate when, instead of shaking her small hand as expected, he used his large one to lift it to his lips and bestow a kiss on her fingers.

“Will Darcy,” he said, his deep voice making her shiver in delight. He stepped beside her, tucking her hand under his arm and guiding her further out onto pit road. “Where have you been all my life?”

~~~***~~~

**Images courtesy of Pixabay and Kathy Ehlenbach**

 

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29 Responses to Pride & Prejudice & Racecars

  1. Ooh, nice line, Darcy! I like it! I’m not much of a racing fan, I must admit, but being that it’s a P&P variation I’d definitely read this. 🙂 I used to live about 45 mins north of the Kentucky Speedway but I never went there.

    • Close to Ohio, then…too cool! They have only had the Sprint Cup (now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup) series race at Kentucky since 2011, though the other series have raced there lots of times. I was part of the crowd of folks in the humongous traffic jam at that first Sprint Cup event, though my sister and I did make it in with plenty of time to spare. Lots of others did not! 😀

  2. What? No “tolerable” comment? Instead “Where have you been all my life”? Be still my beating heart! Your racing Darcy sounds totally swoon-worthy, Zoe. NASCAR is a bit of a mystery to me as a Brit. Formula One I know quite well, but although I know there is oval track racing over here, it just doesn’t get the publicity and coverage that F1 does. I’ve read a few books over the years that have been set in various motor racing formats; romances, thrillers and action adventures. My favourite has to be one that Alistair MacLean wrote in 1973 called The Way to Dusty Death, which is a thriller set in the F1 racing world.

    This must be a first for JAFF. And why not? It sounds like you’re on to a winner, in more senses than one!

  3. ZOE, this one sounds so exciting! I’ve attended a race at Texas Motor Speedway. It was so thrilling! 🙂

  4. This is soooo fun. Rode my bike around MIS back in 2013 as the last 2.5 miles of the Make-A-Wish Miracle Ride. You have not lived until you have had to lean into the road surface (in the mirror opposite move of a motorcycle racer) in the midst of one of the turns.

    • I can imagine! I’d like to do another driving experience, this time at a big track like Michigan!

      You should see if they do that in Daytona! THAT is some serious leaning! LOL 😀

  5. OMG!!! OMG!!!
    ““Will Darcy,” he said, his deep voice making her shiver in delight. He stepped beside her, tucking her hand under his arm and guiding her further out onto pit road. “Where have you been all my life?””

    I cannot wait!

  6. Oh Zoe… that was so much fun. When Lizzy met Darcy… whew, be still my heart. OMG! I love him. Excellent. I look forward to this one. Blessings on the launch.

  7. Zoe, I have been meaning to ask you if you have read any of Sharyn McCrumb’s NASCAR books. THE NASCAR NOVELS
    St. Dale, Kensington (New York, NY) 2005
    Once Around the Track, Kensington (New York, NY) 2007
    Faster Pastor, (with Adam Edwards) – High Country Press (Boone NC) 2010)
    I used one of her “ballad” books in my AP Language class (for the differences in accents when I was still teaching), so I came across her “St. Dale,” which is a parody of Canterbury Tales. The first chapter is “Midnight in Mooresville,” where the main character meets the ghost of Dale Earnhart on a country road in Mooresville, NC. He helps her fix a flat tire, but the main gist of the story is the group is going on a bus tour of NASCAR venues. At one a young couple gets married on the infield. At each, the people on the bus tell “tales” of what NASCAR means to them. My 12th grade Honors classes found it a hoot after “suffering” through Chaucer. Of course, I am in NC, and they could all relate to the stories of obsessed fans.
    Ironically, Sharyn lives in Virginia and is close friends with a “high school” friend of mine. She has even used some of their names in her novels. (small world…sigh!)

    Love your excerpt above. This should be interesting.

    • I actually do own St. Dale, but have not read it yet. I’ve written down the other two so I can look for them, too. 😀

      I’ll have to ask my pastor, once God brings me my Darcy, if he will consider travelling to a track to marry us in the infield. He likes fast cars but is not into NASCAR, so it might take some convincing….but I’m friends with his wife and that has to help my cause! LOL

      This book has been so much fun to write, and just what I needed to kick start my writing after the dogs came to me! I’m so excited that people enjoy it, because I have been nervous about it! <3

      • Back around 2007 or 2008, Harlequin did a whole series on NASCAR romances, covering several months.
        Old Flame, New Sparks by Day Leclaire
        Almost Famous by Gina Wilkins
        The Rookie by Jennifer LaBrecque
        Legends and Lies by Katherine Garbera
        A Chance Worth Taking by Carrie Weaver
        Turn Two by Nancy Warren
        I read three or four of them. I recall because I kept a note or two on the various race tracks mentioned to add to my discussion of “St. Dale.” (If you read any of these, you will note how the point system has changed.) I know Day Leclaire is from NC, for I read her whole “Dante” series. I looked her up then.
        As to St. Dale, you will like the “Chaucer fan fiction.”

        • I’m going to look for those, too! 😀

          I’d love to ask NASCAR to allow me to use their name, but they’re pretty picky about who does, and I don’t know that JAFF would appeal to them. Still, it would be cool to be able to use the name… 🙂

  8. Well! Liz may not have been in his life before but hopefully she will be his life from now on ?. I look forward to reading more of this. Thanks for the excerpt Zoe.

Your thoughts are precious!