Saturday, 25 May 2013

Baby Driver (Once Upon A Set Of Wheels #1) Review and Author Interview

16182746Baby Driver (Once Upon A Set Of Wheels #1) By L.M. Steel

Book Synopsis

On the seventeenth of May 1982, an infant girl of only a few hours old was found in an abandoned stolen car, on the bridge of a dam. Abandoned for no one, for no one came to claim her as their child, no one came to say that they were responsible for this babe, no one came to love her. This was how it was to be, always. 

The police called her ‘Lotus’ after the Lotus Esprit her life was discovered in. ‘Ogden’ after the dam the car rested over on that day. Lotus Ogden was named and a person.

Lotus tells us the story of her short life, from the abuse at the hands of her adoptive father, to the several foster families, children's homes and detentions. She finds unlikely allies in car thieves and drug dealers but her life of crime extends so much further than any of them ever realise.

So very young, she takes her first life and realises how easy it was, and how no-one would ever suspect the poor, timid, shy little girl who nobody calls their own.

Claire's Review 4 of 5 Stars

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is one of the hardest reviews I have had to write so far, and I found myself changing my thoughts on what to write a few times. Part of me loved Baby Driver, it was exceptionally well written in a first person narrative and the story was incredibly emotional and gripping. It had a very emotional beginning and I wasn't expecting such a roller coaster of emotions so early on, but it also got me hooked even more and at times felt more like a real life memoir than fiction with the emotions it made your feel for Becky and her situation.

Now to the part that made this a difficult review for me. As a mum of 2 girls ages 8 and 4 (ages we see Becky at in the book) I found parts of Becky's story very unrealistic. Situations I struggled to believe a child at that age would be physically and emotionally capable of. It's hard to believe the general public as well would never have questioned her or reported her for example driving and fixing cars at such a young age, but I think the most unbelievable part for me was Becky racing cars for money when I believe at that age reaching the pedals would be a huge struggle let alone controlling a high-powered car and beating an adult street racer.

However despite the imperfections of the story, I still found myself hooked to Becky's story and the high level of writing made it a very addictive read, and I have already got a copy of the next book to see where Becky's story continues.

I would have loved to have given this the full 5 stars but due to my reservations over the storyline in places, I just couldn't push myself. I would however still recommend others to try this book for themselves and to make their own opinions.

L.M Steel Interview

working-on-the-illustrations-for-once-upon-a-set-of-wheelsAuthor Bio

L.M.Steel on paper is a scientist, but since the age of seven when she first had a poem read out on children's radio, she has had a passion for writing.

Through junior School she concentrated on poetry, then in high school she moved onto songs, short stories and plays.

Once she left high school she moved onto writing novels and scripts.
The novels are now becoming available to read and one day, the scripts will be directed and filmed for you to see.

Lee was born in 1982 in Rochford, Essex and lived on the outskirts of the village of Canewdon.

At the age of six she moved to West Yorkshire with her parents, elder sister and younger brother, where they owned and ran a dairy farm. Due to the egg crisis of 1991 the farm and business was lost and Lee, with her family, was housed in Sowerby Village, with other ex-farmers, redundant miners and former military families.

She attended Newlands Junior School, and then moved up to Ryburn Valley High School, where she gained 9 GCSE’s

At 17 Lee began a legal apprenticeship course and earned an NVQ Level III in Business Administration

Lee graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2011 with a 1st Class Msci Degree with honours in Forensic and Analytical Science.
She moved to Hampshire to begin work as a Laboratory Technician in 2011.

Lee is a keen rower, enjoying refreshing mornings and evenings out on the Solent. She is also a green tag in Taekwondo, although it's a sport she hasn't quite got back into for a while.

Lee now lives in Southampton with her partner Alexandra Steel who serves in the Royal Navy, and Lee’s Patterdale terrier Cracker

The couple have plans to have a Civil Union in August 2013

Writing
It was at Newland Junior School, that Hazel Hellowell first spotted Lee had a talent for creative writing and encourage her poetry, resulting in the local paper publishing her first poem: Weeping Willow at the age of 10.

Moving onto Ryburn Valley High School Lee continued to write, but it wasn’t until Year 10, where she took up Expressive Arts, that her teachers, Amanda Glover and Jackie Newman also noted Lee had a talent and desire to write and encouraged her to do so. At 14 her second poem was published Heartbreaker.

In 2002 Lee went to Washington DC after being nominated by the International Society of Poetry for the Poet of the Year Award 2002. Although Lee didn’t win, she did win a Poet of Merit Award. for her Poem Hopless Shadow

Lee's first book was published in october 2012: Judged by Your Peers

1.     What inspired you to write your first book?


My first book is once Upon A Set of Wheels and to be honest it was a whole mixture of things that inspired in this first venture.

It actually started out as about six different stories, mainly for Star Trek believe it or not, (I am a massive sci-fi geek) As I grew up I started combining the tales, and inspired by a lot of song lyrics, (as you’ll note all the chapter titles are song titles.) The story began to form on its own. Only then i had an incredibly long story and so had to make it a two-part tale and divide it up.

I did write a blog about it when I first released it, with Simon and Garfunkel songs being the main inspirational music and a British soap called Emmerdale as I like the idea of one of the characters (Debbie Dingle) as a stand alone character with a story of her own, and then she got a lot darker and a lot more dangerous as the story developed.

 2.     How did you come up with the title?

Again this is music, the main title is a lyric from Simon and Garfunkels Baby Driver, (Once Upon A Pair of Wheels) and once I split the story into two and edited it, I decided the song title itself was absolutely perfect for the first part.

3.     How much of the book is realistic?

The places are very real, it is all based in West Yorkshire where I grew up and the areas around there are all real places. The characters are completely fictional as is the main flow of the story. I have put some real events in there (such as the death of Princess Diana) just to keep up with the realistic timeline, however the main story is complete fiction.

4.     Are your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Once Upon A Set of Wheels is complete fiction as I said, however I have another novel: Judged By Your Peers, which again is fiction, but was heavily inspired by several people and instances over the last ten years or so and I combined them all and then rewrite them as a fictional group of friends dealing with several different extreme situations. Some people have asked if it is a true story, but no it’s not, it is all fictional, but the inspiration definitely came from real life situations.

5.     What book are you reading now?

I am currently reading Tony Breeden’s ‘Johnny came Home’ so far it’s proving a very interesting read. I am really enjoying it.

 6.     What are your current projects?

I am currently working on a parallel tale to Once upon a Set Of Wheels, called Birds of Prey about a family on the other side of town with a twisted tale of their own. They do have a link to Once Upon A Set of Wheels though as they are the nephews and nieces of the infamous Miss Astin.

 7.     Do you see your writing as a career?

I would very much love to and that is what I am aiming for. At the moment though I am also a lab tech to pay the bills, I am hoping the greater the exposure I get, I will soon be able to dedicate all my working hours to my writing.

8.     Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

As a very small child i loved to make up stories, and I loved to write poetry, I actually had my ‘publication’ when I was seven, having a poem read out on BBC Children’s radio. My primary school teacher noted I had a talent for poetry and encouraged me to write one for all the subjects we learned, from mining to the Drought in The Gambia. Into high school i had two amazing teachers, Ms Newman and Miss Glover who also realised I had a talent for writing and really encouraged me and guide me in how to structure poems and stories.

9.     Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Time, always time, especially at the moment as I am planning my wedding in August and every spare minute I have seems to go on that, sitting down to actually write almost seems like an impossible dream sometimes.

 10.  Who designed the covers?

I designed the covers for all my books, which I have been advised isn’t always the best idea, but so far I seem to have done ok.

 11.  What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finishing it. It took four years to write Once Upon a set of wheels and as it actually chronicles Lotus’s lifetime, bringing it to an end was really hard as there was so much more I wanted to include. As I said though, it is already so long I had to turn it into a two-part story, and I think I finished it where it should’ve ended, and the reader has some closure at the end.

12.  Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up!

13.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Please continue to read, I love to write and as long as I have readers it makes it all worth it. For what is a storyteller, without someone to tell a story to?

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