Today is Name Your Car Day according to a list of odd October holidays that I came across. Personally, I have never named my cars, but I know people who do. And one of the characters in my kids’ novels names his cars too.
Steven wasn’t one of the original characters I had in mind when I started to write my Rochester books. I started with a group of five 10-year-old kids who were in the same class in Susan B. Anthony School #27 in Rochester, NY and their teacher, Mrs. Levine. For a school project, the kids start calling themselves the STARfish, and the name sticks. As I was writing the first story, I realized that I needed a way for the students to get around town without their parents or teacher. They could walk, of course, or take a bus, but when I wanted them to go to Charlotte Beach, I needed someone with a driver’s license, but not a parent. I wanted them to be unsupervised as much as possible.
Enter Steven Green, the 19-year-old brother of STARfish member Lamar Green. I gave Steven an old black Mustang convertible that he had equipped with the baddest sound system he could get, and he drove it around town with the sound cranked as high as it could get. He lives to impress the girls and everyone else he meets. And he does. People notice Steven and Sunshine, the name of his Mustang.
Steven and Sunshine tool through the first three books of the series chauffeuring the STARfish on various misadventures. The end is foreshadowed in Lost at Seabreeze (book 4) when Sunshine breaks down and Steven must resort to riding the bus. Then in STORMED (book 5) Sunshine is totaled while driving Mrs. Levine home from the library in a bad storm.
I’m working on book 6 now. Steven has a new ride which he immediately gives a new name. You’ll have to read book 6 to find out what it is. Suffice it to say that I didn’t know that Steven would be a character who named his vehicles, but I like it that he turned out that way. I wonder what other surprises Steven will have for me as I get into books 7 and 8. I’m not sure where we’re going, but I invite you to come along for the ride.