|Waiting for the garbage truck with my kid brother.|
"Garbey-guck," my two-year-old brother would announce.
"Damn straight," I'd say (or something to that effect). "Someday, I'm going to drive one."
I'm 37 now, and I haven't entirely fulfilled my fantasy. But I've come close.
In the spring of 2008, I got laid off from a job as the director of marketing and franchise development for a chain of photo studios. I was thrilled.
Because it gave me the chance to combine my adult career fantasy of being a novelist, with my childhood career fantasy of working with trash. I remember the phone call I made shortly after my layoff. My words came out in an excited jumble, and the receptionist was so silent afterward that I thought she'd hung up on me.
"Let me get this straight," she said at last. "You want to come here to the Deschutes County Department of Solid Waste to do research for a mystery/romance novel."
"Romance," she repeated. "And mystery. In a landfill?"
There was another long pause, so I decided to press my luck. "Do you think there's any chance I could drive the compactor?"
I didn't get to drive the compactor, but I did get to sit in the cab and make growly noises, followed by the occasional beep-beep for backup effect. I can honestly say that doing research for Getting Dumped was some of the most fun I've ever had in my life.
And in case you haven't figured it out yet, Getting Dumped is the secret project I've been hinting about for awhile now. The book is set to release this week, and here's a blurb:
Losing a cushy marketing job only to end up driving heavy equipment at the landfill would be a tough blow for most women.
But JJ Schultz isn’t most women, so she gamely swaps office politics and dry cleaning bills for a chance to crush garbage with a 150,000 pound machine. As it turns out, she doesn’t miss her old life too much…though her love life was sure a lot simpler when she didn’t wear a hardhat every day. Between her hot new co-workers and her on-again-off-again boyfriend, JJ has her hands full.
But the drama kicks into high gear when JJ and her sister, Lori, find evidence of a counterfeit handbag operation – something local police deem only slightly more urgent than collecting fruit flies. JJ soon finds herself unraveling a sinister plot in the company of a tie-tugging accountant, a straight-to-video action hero turned secretary, a suspicious but sneaky-hot engineer, and a host of other characters with questionable hygiene and morals.
Now here's the kicker – the book is being released as an "active fiction" title. Er, what does that mean? Well, it's a brand new kind of e-reading experience that allows the reader and author to interact with each other and the text in new and different ways.
Think grown-up, modern version of those choose-your-own adventure novels from childhood.
Intrigued? So was I when my agent called early last summer positively shrieking with excitement over this hot new opportunity. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and soon I was almost as excited about being one of the launch authors for Coliloquy as I was about driving the garbage truck.
I'll be able to share more details over the next couple days, but you can click that Coliloquy link to sign up for an alert when the launch titles go live this week.
For now, I'd love to hear more about what you wanted to be when you were young. Did it change when you got older? Have you ever had the chance to fulfill any childhood career fantasies? Please share!
I'll be sitting in the backhoe at the construction site down the street making growly noises. If you see me, don't interrupt.