Hi, Winnie Griggs here. In case you haven’t heard yet, I have a new book out this month. It’s book three of my Texas Grooms series and is titled A Family For Christmas. (And I’ll be doing a giveawy, read on to the end for details!)
One of the things I have to figure out when I start a new book is what occupations my characters will have. Usually it comes to me pretty quick, because it is part of who my characters are. That was the same way it happened with this book. Problem was, the occupations my two characters ended up with were ones I had to do more-than-normal research on. And there was no changing things. Once a character tells you who they are, then that’s who they are. Period.
My heroine Eve opened a candy store and tea shop. The research I did for that was fun (and fattening!). I discussed some of that research back when I was in the middle of it (in case you missed that post, here’s the link: CANDY STORE POST).
Today I want to discuss the hero, Chance. Chance comes from a prestigious family that is not only wealthy but prominent in politics and society. Only he didn’t quite fit in and was the black sheep of the family. He’s hiding some secrets, of course, but mostly he prefers to work with his hands rather than in an office. It’s been a year and a half since he left Philadelpia for Texas and in that time he’s opened a repair shop for mechanical items such as sewing machines and washing machines. He’s also got his hands on a motor carriage, a definite oddity for this town in this time period.
As part of my research on early automobiles I stumbled on quite a few trivia type tidbits of automotive history and I thought I’d share some of those with you all today.
- Flat asphalt roads were originally conceived for cyclists, not motorists as most people assume
- The first cars didn’t have steering wheels. Instead drivers steered with a lever or tiller. (Sort of like today’s joystick on game consoles!)
- The first automobile related death occurred in Britain in 1896. A 44-year old mother of two stepped off a curb and was hit by a passing motor car. She died from head injuries.
- The driver was only doing just 4mph. The coroner ruled it an accidental death, and stated “I trust that this sort of nonsense will never happen again.”.
- In 1898, the New York City Police Department used bicycles to pursue speeding motorists.
- The first official speeding violation in the US to be cited was committed by a taxi driver in New York City in 1899. The driver was going 12 mph in an 8mph zone (I have no idea how they knew this before radar??). He was arrested (by a policeman on a bicycle) and sent to jail, but he did not actually receive a ticket. The first paper ticket was actually issued to an Ohio man in 1904, who coincidentally was also traveling 12 mph. The Ohio man did no jail time.
- In 1916, 55 percent of the cars in the entire world were none other than Model T Fords. That kind of market domination has never been achieved by any other company since.
- Women were every bit as fascinated by automobiles as men. By 1923, women had been given credit for inventing over 170 automobile related items. An electric engine starter and a carburetor two of the items on that list.
A few other fun items:
- Most car horns in American vehicles beep in the key of F
- The Peanuts characters made their first animated appearance in a 1957 Ford Fairlane commercial
- According to a survey, 90% of car owners admit to singing while behind the wheel. Between you and me, I think the other 10% were lying.
- Cars are the most recycled consumer item in the world.
So there you have it. Did any of this info surprise you? Do you have any personal experience with or knowledge of vintage cars?
And now for the giveaway. In honor of this being release month, I’m giving away a copy of A Family For Christmas to one person who leaves a comment.
Eve Pickering knows what it’s like to be judged for your past. So she’s not about to leave the orphaned boy she’s befriended alone in this unfamiliar Texas town. Since Chance Dawson’s offer of shelter is the only way to look after Leo, Eve is determined they’ll have a warm, welcoming home for the holidays.
Chance came from the big city to make it on his own despite a painful secret. But Eve’s strength is giving him a confidence he never expected—and a new direction for his dream. With a little Christmas blessing, he’ll dare to win her heart—and make their family one for a lifetime.
And here’s a bonus giveaway that I’m only listing here. Based on the facts above, I made a boo-boo in one scene of my book. The first person to catch it and contact me, before the end of the month, will win a special prize!