Writing and hobbies

One of the many perks of writing is that you get to incorporate things you fancy in your stories. After all, as a writer, you own the story! I regularly make use of that perk. Readers who know me will recognize these details, while others take them for regular book content.

One of the things that always has had my interest, apart from reading, are cars, motorcycles, and sailing. So I eagerly jump to every opportunity to put in my favorite cars or incorporate cars or sailing in my stories.

When I was working on my first book Nuremberg in 2021, I could not resist using a 2CV as a means of transport in the center of Amsterdam in the 80ies. Even if the make and model are never mentioned in my book, when reading the attached text snippets you’ll probably agree the car cannot be anything other than a 2CV.

Other cars mentioned in that book are a VW Beetle and a Porsche 356. A 911 is mentioned briefly but not my favorite model so it only got a minor role. But the 356 was launched at speed from the Autobahn into a tree – perhaps a waste of a nice car? Again, the freedom of the author.

The Big Day:
In the US-based chapter of my second book, The Big Day, a couple of American-made cars were used. Most notably a vintage Lincoln Continental cabriolet and a Ford F100 that is reluctantly destroyed, as well as an un-descript Chevy four-door. This book is all about not drawing any unwanted attention, hence the Ford and the Chevy. For the same reason, the vehicle of choice in the Scotland-based chapter is a grey Vauxhall Corsa, while the Swedish means of transport became a semi-vintage Subaru 1.8 4×4 pickup. In this book, choosing nice cars would be counter-productive. Read the book to find the reason for the Lincoln and the Subaru!

The Deep:
My third book, The Deep, deploys a fleet of Subaru cars, another Beetle, and even a VW bus is briefly mentioned. Even if the VW bus is not specified, I imagined it to be a T1 when I wrote it. But I reckon a T2 would do just as well! Nothing newer though. The Beetle is an old beaten-up one, with dents all over, but in a good state of maintenance. One of the Subarus is an Outback, one of my all-time favorite cars.

Of course, with 49 years as an amateur sailor, sooner rather than later a sailing yacht had to make an entry in one of my books. It did in this book. The used watercraft is an old 70-ies catamaran, carefully restored and beefed up with new mast and sails and therefore even more speedy than your average catamaran.

My own cars:
My first car ever was a Citroën 2CV. It was 1978 and the 2CV was a second-hand I used to get to school and back. A 2CV is a four-door sporting its typical roll-up open roof and a 602cc two-cylinder 30-some horse boxer engine. I recall we did some painting to the hood – a large arrow indicating the direction, if my memory serves me right. A 2CV is not a fast car in any way, it is more of a fun car. It looks quirky and rides like nothing else.

After this first 2CV, a few more followed. My last 2CV was an AK400, the panelvan variety of the 2CV. I played in a band at that time and the car was great for hauling all our instruments. Then followed a few years without 2CV, I recall having a Peugeot 404 pickup for a while. I coowned it with my brother, I may add, we used it for hauling our motorbikes around.

In 1985 my employer traded in a quite new AcaDiane, the panelvan variety of the Citroën Dyane. In red, it looked great and I bought it for trade value. I rode that car for almost two years before crashing it into the B-pillar of an old Opel Ascona car. Neither car survived the accident, but all occupants were fine – which is most important. Loved that car! I recently bought another AcaDiane and plan to keep it for a long time. The 2CV experience just had to be part of my first book, Nuremberg.

Much later in Sweden, when I finally qualified for a company car, I chose a Subaru Legacy Stationwagon – my favorite brand at the time due to the standard 4WD and low gear. An Outback followed the Legacy and one more Outback followed after that. Meanwhile, I had a project car, a Subaru 1500 4WD pickup, aka Subaru Brat. The idea was to beef it up with knobbly tires and a snowblade in front and use it as a snowplow in wintertime. Unfortunately, that never happened and the car was sold for parts a few years ago.

Again, I simply had to use the small pickup in my book The Big Day while using a whole fleet of various Subaru models in The Deep.

Other cars mentioned in Nuremberg are a Porsche 365, my only favorite Porsche, and a 911 that I do not like as much. Finally, a distant cousin, a Vee-dubb got a small role. Not that it is my favorite car, but they are nice. I never owned a Beetle or Porsche, and probably never will either.

Apart from a bunch of cars, I also owned some motorcycles. I started in 1979 with a 1978 Yamaha XT500 that was taken for a 6-month tour in northern Africa. After the XT, I briefly had a Yamaha XS650 twin. The XS650 had the looks of a classic British bike but without the oil leaks and electrical problems. After that, I had a  1990 Honda TransAlp XL600V, and a 1992 AfricaTwin XRV750, followed by another 1990 TransAlp that I still own and drive. I got my current Alp from a very good friend who no longer used it.

Fun fact: today, 40 years later, my brother not only owns his original XT, but he also owns mine.

None of the aforementioned motorbikes have made it into writing – yet. But that’s merely a matter of time…

Since 2012, I have driven around in a Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4D 4WD. Perhaps a slightly dull vehicle to some, but extremely reliable, and very good in the snow out here in Sweden. The Cruiser hasn’t made it into a book yet, nor has the 1988 two-door VW Golf II, nor my most sporty car: an early 70-ies 1st generation Toyota Celica Liftback. Perhaps one day they will…

Prior to becoming of car-age, I had a Batavus Whippet moped. I bought the thing from a family friend who had it parked in the garage of his parents as he had outgrown the moped age ages ago. I drove it from age 16 to 18. If a moped is required in one of my new stories at one point, it will be this moped.