There’s one area where I have officially flunked out of self-publishing school, and that’s the fact that here we are, a year to the day after Mousetrapped was released, and I don’t have another book. I will soon, but I should really have got round to doing it before now. To bridge the gap, I came up with the idea of More Mousetrapped: short little episodes or stories from my time in Florida that I didn’t put into the book, now delivered straight to your inbox once a month.
I wasn’t sure what the response would be like, but more than 100 people signed up and last night I nervously scheduled the first email – and story – to go out this morning. (So if you’re on the list, I hope you got it!) While this story is available to everyone, only members of the mailing list will get them from here on in. You can still sign up here.
So without further ado, here’s More Mousetrapped Story #1 – Night Ride on the Bee Line.
I have a confession to make: I’ve told you a lie.
A lie of omission, perhaps, but a lie all the same.
In the “Mission Space” chapter of Mousetrapped, I talked about my first visit to Kennedy Space Center on a morning in March 2007, and how the hour’s drive out there was forty-five minutes longer than any drive I’d done before.
Strictly-speaking, those facts are true. But what I didn’t tell you is that I’d been out to Cape Canaveral once before – and had even seen the Vehicle Assembly Building – and on that first occasion, I’d also been behind the wheel of my little Mirage.
The first time I drove to the Cape it was late at night, and so the gates of Kennedy Space Center were closed. I wasn’t alone; Eva and her friend Christine were with me. And instead of seeing a Shuttle lit up on the pad, as I had hoped, we ended up in not one but two situations that felt like we were the unwitting stars of our very own very scary movie.
Not everything that happened to me during my time in Orlando made it into the finished book, partly because of the need for a linear narrative and partly because, hey, some boring stuff happened too. But this particular night didn’t make it in because of space restraints; it would have needed a chapter of its own.
Because our night ride on the Bee Line Expressway?
Yeah, that’s a whole other story…
‘You want to do what?’
Eva’s voice, tinny on my cheap cell phone, rose with incredulity, but I’d been expecting this reaction and so was undeterred.
‘I think we should drive out to Cape Canaveral,’ I said again, ‘to see if we can see Atlantis on the pad.’
I thought it was a great idea. If you did too, then chances were you didn’t have all the information. It was past six; through my bedroom window I could see the sun was already sinking in the sky. By the time we got to the Cape, sixty long miles to the east, it’d be completely dark. The designated driver (i.e. me) had only been driving for a bare fortnight, and never on dimly-lit country highways in the dead of night. I’d also never been further east than the airport – a ten-minute drive away – and so had no clue what Florida looked like beyond the grey runways of Orlando International. Thus I was completely unaware that despite my romantic space-nerd notions of parking in fields beside vertical white spaceships bathed in beams of godly light (thanks a lot, Apollo 13!), getting close enough to see the parked Space Shuttle would involve binoculars, a NASA employee ID or having a pair of bolt cutters and the courage to use them. And when Eva had asked how I wanted to spend the evening, she hadn’t factored in my New Driver Restlessness Syndrome, which pretty much guaranteed that whatever I suggested, it would involve in going somewhere, and going there in my newly purchased car.
‘Come on,’ I said. ‘It’ll be an adventure!’
Join me tomorrow for details of Super Secret Self-Publishing Project No. 1!