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It has been a lot of fun brainstorming ideas for this new book. I still haven’t been able to reach anyone in the highway division maintenance department to talk about the job of picking up dead animals, as my character Thomas does. But it will happen soon. I have him working on a project car in his garage, so I needed to decide what car it should be. I settled on a 1963 Studebaker Avanti. It’s an appropriately odd but classy car. I knew someone with a replica a few years ago. But I want the character to have an original.

One of the real-life stories that inspired this book revolves around a person who has 7 siblings, whose mother had 8 siblings, and whose father had 9. It would be a daunting task for a reader to keep track of all those people. So I’ve simplified the character’s family a bit. Still, I have to create a chart to lists the unique descriptions for each character. If I could draw them out I would.




2 thoughts on “Research

  1. I have never worked for a highway department, but I know someone who used to date someone who worked for the Illinois Department Of Transportation, and my understanding (which could be wrong) is that road crews do a lot of different jobs, cutting the grass on the shoulders and medians. replacing signs, removing graffiti, and that no one person is assigned to picking up dead animals–it’s just who happens to be closest when the call comes in.

    This information is old–twenty years or more–so it may be that because of the threat of disease they now require a specialist in that area. Have you tried putting out a call on FaceBook or Twitter? You never know who knows somebody who knows somebody…

    • Thanks for the reply! I contacted my state Dept of Transportation, and they got me the names of 7 maintenance supervisors. I am calling them in a moment to see what they say. You’re probably right. But I also want to get whatever funny stories they might have, like what is the strangest animal you ever picked up?

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