Sunday, February 10, 2013

Once Upon A Set Of Wheels: Part 1 Baby Driver by L.M. Steel: Interview and Excerpt



Hello L.M., Thanks for stopping by.  I'm excited to meet you and to find out a little about you and your creative process.   Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I do listen to music while writing, I actually find silence a little too much when writing at times, I find music gives me a good flow, almost like white noise.

While writing once upon a set of wheels I regularly listened to the songs that I was wanting to use in the story. All the chapter titles are actually song titles from the last fifty years, from Sijmon and garfunkels baby driver, to Ethan Hawkes The One and Only.  All the songs were used either because of their titles significance to that party of the story, or a much deeper reason of the lyrics, even if it’s just one line.

I love and eclectic mix, as long as it’s not too aggressive, like heavy metal or gangsta rap. Cheesy pop to. 

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

Actually I have thought about this and even drafted n idea about a series of Fantasy books. I am currently working on a comedy and another two-part crime story, but after that I’d really like to explore that idea more.

It would be a five part series about a small group of misfits heading off through war and wilderness in search of a mystical Arc. (I’ll leave you with that description for now.)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Before I realised I wanted to be a writer, between the ages of about four and ten, I wanted to work as a Junk yard owner, I had three reasons for this.

1. There didn’t appear to be any maths involved (now I know there is a lot of maths involved.)

2. It was a place of hidden treasures and wonders and mechanical adventure.

3. I had a thing for cars (something I imparted onto my character Lotus in Once Upon A Set Of Wheels) 

At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

From about the age of ten I wanted to be a writer of some sorts, be it a novelist, poet or song writer, I just knew I wanted to write things.

My first poem I wrote that got attention I was seven, but I don’t think I really understood what it all meant then. I lived on a farm and there was too much adventure on the farm playing with the two boys who lived down the road. It wasn’t till about ten when I paid much more attention at school and realized I actually enjoyed writing poetry and stories as well as being praised for them that it fuelled the ambition. 

What would we find under your bed?.

Every single episode of Friends...On VHS!

Every single episode of Star Trek the Next Generation in collectors edition DVD’s all in original wrapping

Star Trek Voyager ...again on VHS

Three bridesmaids dresses

Five spare suitcases all inside each other like Russian dolls

Fifteen photo albums.

I think that’s it, and yes I am a massive geek! 

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

I am working on three projects and it is almost causing me to tear my hair out.

The first is the re-writing and editing of a script that is inspired by my own experience of returning to education as a mature student and the friendships and experiences. It is supposed to be a light-hearted, sort of Sunday afternoon watch.

Secondly is Wedding in Paradise. Again this is based on truth and is about a family holiday to Thailand that we experienced in 2010 when we all went to my sisters wedding, it was the most ridiculous experience of my life and we have all said it need to be written down, although I’m not sure how many people will believe it’s true, it is that insane and ridiculous. From food poisoning, lost luggage, lost wedding dress, snakes, cockroaches the size of my fist, Thai ‘girls’ a crazy experience on a scooter and half the wedding party being in Thai International hospital on the morning of the wedding, it was a crazy couple of weeks, and a really funny story when you tell it!

Third and final is Birds Of Prey which is another two-part crime story that is a kind of parallel to Once upon A Set Of Wheels, about a family on the other side of town who are even more dangerous than Lotus. They are the family of Maureen Astin who we know from Once Upon A Set of Wheels as one of the most evil foe Lotus finds herself up against... well if she is the devil, then these kids could well be the spawn of hell... 

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

My favorite quote is by Albert Einstein:

“Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new!”

Probably a large  motivation behind many decisions, including self publishing.

Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of your book and would encourage people to read it?  If so, can you share it?

... now I felt something, a total rush. I put my foot to the floor and burned off down the road. I punched through the gears and spun round the bends at fifty, and the fear on his face was a picture.

“You mad bitch, what are you doing?” I just laughed and put my foot down harder, on the straight I hit ninety, and then as we got to the mad mile I took her up to a ton. “You’re gonna kill us yer mad cow!” he screamed. I had turned on the radio and quite coincidentally, Blue Oyster Cult, ‘don’t fear the reaper’ was playing, and I laughed even harder. Then came the best part, with Ricky screaming in my ear I could see the Mazda up ahead and Barry step into the road and start waving. The adrenaline pumped through me and I pushed the pedal flat to the floor, I felt alive and in total control, in that moment I had all three of our lives in my hands. Ricky’s screaming was just fuel to my exhilaration and seeing Barry stood there like a target I could feel my heart pumping fast and hard like it was the engine of the car itself. I could hear the engine screaming as I pushed it to its limit and the trees and the houses and road flashed passed me at what seemed like light speed, and yet everything seemed to go into slow motion. I got closer and could see the grin on Barry’s face and he shook his head as if to say that I wouldn’t dare. Ricky knew I would, his screaming stopped and he closed his eyes in terror, and as I hit the point of no return, where I couldn’t stop or swerve even if I wanted to Barry too looked terrified as his grin vanished. It was at the last moment when Barry knew that I was going to kill him, that Tempo, as I knew he would, grabbed hold of him and pulled him out the way. I hit the brakes and spun the car four times before it stopped about five hundred yards away, the smoke off the tyres billowed up passed the windows and the engine settled back to a quiet purr. I put her into first gear and drove up to the Mazda, Ricky opened his eyes with a look of total relief and as we got up to the car Barry just looked shocked.

“You idiot.” I heard Tempo shout, at first I thought it was at me but it was in fact at Barry. “You never get in her way, she’s more crazy than the three of us put together and trebled. She wouldn’t think twice about mowing you down and leaving you behind a mangled corpse.” I stood in the doorway of the car and just smiled at Barry as he lay on the curb where Tempo had thrown him...

On the seventeenth of May 1982, a baby girl was found in an abandoned stolen car, on the bridge of a dam.

This is Lotus' story: from the abuse by her adoptive father, several foster homes and care homes. She finds unlikely allies in petty criminals, but her life of crime extends much further than they ever realize.

When death occurs who would ever suspect the shy little girl who nobody wants?


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 realize.


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



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 Luddenden Foot, 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 and her family were housed in Sowerby Village, with other ex-farmers, redundant miners and former military families.

It was at Newland Junior School, that Hazel Hellowell first spotted Lee Mundy had a talent for creative writing and encouraged her poetry, resulting in the local paper, Calderdale News 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 in 1996 Heartbreaker.


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


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 A Hopeless Shadow.


Lee graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2011with a 1st Class Msci Degree with honours in Forensic and Analytical Science.


She moved to Hampshire to begin work as a Laboratory Technician in October 2011, Lee now lives in Southampton with her partner Alexandra who serves in the Royal Navy, and Lee's Patterdale terrier Cracker

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


Talking about once Upon A Set of Wheels:

‘I wrote this book to be read, but most importantly to be enjoyed, for what is a story teller, without someone to tell the story to.’  L.M. Steel



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