The recent announcement that a beloved classic roller coaster will retire in July caused quite a stir. Fans of Thunder Road at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina bemoaned the loss of their favorite ride and started a social media campaign to save the thirty-nine-year-old wooden coaster. While I applaud their enthusiasm and recognize that the end of an era is a bittersweet thing, I must confess, this Alaska girl isn’t much for roller coasters. I didn’t grow up going to Carowinds, King’s Island or Cedar Point. I have fond memories of Disney World, minus that harrowing experience at Space Mountain when my mother squeezed my hand so tight I thought I’d lose a finger. Nope, the Scrambler at the State Fair is more my speed. Better yet, I’ll vote for a mellow ride on a Ferris wheel over the adrenaline rush of a corkscrew turn every time. When we took our own children to Disney World, the older kids chose Expedition Everest as their first ride. Yikes! I volunteered to sit with the preschooler, who wasn’t roller coaster material yet. While our little adrenaline junkies had a ball and went back for a second and third run, the ride through the outback to see the animals was my highlight for our visit to Animal Kingdom.
I’ve heard it said that there’s a little bit of the author woven into every character he or she creates. Half the fun of hanging out with imaginary people is discovering their preferences and how they formed such strong opinions about things like roller coasters and Ferris wheels. It’s also fun to live vicariously through these fictional folk and make them do things we ourselves would rather not. If you haven’t read my second novel, Covering Home, let me just say that Caleb and Britt are … strong-willed people. Their past experiences shape who they are, including their feelings about amusement park rides. The novel takes place in Japan and I used a little bit of personal experience to craft the story, but I had to do quite a bit of research, too. My quest to find a setting for a romantic first kiss within walking distance of the Tokyo Dome produced all kinds of interesting options. Imagine my delight when I discovered the amusement park ride featured in the photo above. It’s the Big-O, the world’s first centerless Ferris wheel, and the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster, which shoots through the center of the wheel. Crazy, right? It’s the perfect backdrop for a significant scene in the story line, one that is equal parts funny and romantic. It ended up being one of my favorite scenes to write. I hope you enjoy it, as well.
Back cover blurb: What happens when love finds you where you least expect it?
On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing she needs. Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid. But it doesn’t take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can’t deny she’s drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career or falling in love.
The Kindle edition of Covering Home is on sale for $1.99 through June 20th. Click here to purchase or read it for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
Your turn: do you prefer riding roller coasters or Ferris wheels? Please share your preference in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.