Good Reading : November 2008
behind the book I walked into the office of the tow truck company. The only occupants, two men seated at desks on opposite sides of the room, ignored me. The office looked as though it had not been dusted – let alone refurbished – for several decades; even the sole desktop computer was a last century model. Finally, one of the men reluctantly got to his feet, came over and raised an inquiring eyebrow. Now somewhat intimidated, I began to explain that I was a writer. ‘That’s good – ’cause I’m a reader,’ he interjected with a grin. ‘Really?’ I asked, cheered by the possibility that this might be easier than it first appeared. But my failure to get the joke quickly wiped the smile off his face. 26 goodreading i NOVEMBER 2008 ‘Nah. Whaddya want?’ He stood with his arms crossed and a shuttered expression while I explained that I was writing a novel about a woman who takes over her father’s tow truck company, and I wondered if – perhaps – I could ask him a few questions. He cut me off mid-sentence, ‘Couldn’t happen.’ He then proceeded, with some relish, to deliver a menu of mishaps that would befall my fictional character, all of which sounded painful, degrading and potentially fatal. While elaborating on these, it suddenly occurred to him that writers were related to journalists who were high on his list of the ‘Not To Be Trusted’ and tipped him into a tirade about effing journalists raking up effing dirt about effing so-called ‘tow truck wars’. Just because a few effing idiots go belting each other with effing chains and crowbars. It was writers (like me) giving the industry a bad effing name. Made him effing furious, apparently. Fortunately not all my interviews were so torturous. With much less trouble and strife, I was able to make contact with Jim, a towie who had been working the same country town for over 30 years, and he proved invaluable in creating Al Munro, the father of my main character Cassie. Jim not only shared stories of his many adventures in the business, which ranged from the hair-raising to the truly heroic (amputating a truck driver’s leg at the knee to free him from a wreck) but on the road AMANDA HAMPSON has found researching for her novels to be gruelling, embarrassing and fulfilling. She talks about learning everything she could about tow trucks and drivers for her latest book, Two for the Road.
December January 2009