Ink Smith: How did you come up with the idea for Scream If You Wanna Go Faster? How long did it take you to write?
Wade: A few years ago I wrote a story called “Triggers” about a Gold Star mother whose son didn’t make it back from Vietnam, and how she struggled to ignore all the daily things that reminded her of him. Chief among those being his abandoned Ford Galaxie 500 sitting in the shed behind their house, waiting for its owner to come home. I had written that one just for myself, really, to try to work out some feelings I had about someone I was missing. A while later I went back and wrote a story called “American Butterflies,” told from the son’s perspective, and how his memories of the Galaxie and his best girl kept him going when things got particularly bad over there. Not long after that I wrote “Nowhere Fast,” a story that tried to capture the feelings of freedom and potential and excitement I had felt cruising the Strip every weekend with brother and best friend when we were in high school.
I realized that all of those stories shared a common thread of the automobile and I began to wonder how many lives one particular car could affect from assembly line to junkyard. I wrote about the man who bolted on the bumpers at the factory, the greasy salesman who sold it to its first owner, a woman who chased down her independence in it, the mechanic who busted his knuckles on it, the father and son who restored it. Before long I had a pretty complete portrait of this car as seen through its drivers and passengers. All told it took about four years to put it together, but a few of the scenes and ideas have been floating around in my head for the better part of a decade.
Ink Smith: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?
Wade: I actually do most of my writing in my head, daydreaming while driving and listening to music, or trying to fall asleep or wake up, or when I’m supposed to doing my day job. I spend a lot of time scribbling notes down on paper, or putting notes in my phone, and trying to decipher them and somehow turn them into semi-coherent sentences later on. My family is my top priority in the evenings, so sometimes it’s pretty tricky to devote time to write. Most days that time comes late at night when everyone else has gone to bed.
Ink Smith: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?
Wade: I’m a big comic book junkie and love Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Matt Fraction, and Kurt Busiek. But actually my biggest writing influences are usually lyricists. Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jay Farrar of Son Volt, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley of Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell. I’m always blown away by what they can do, the complete pictures they can paint with just a few carefully chosen words. Perfect example, the very first line of “Cass” by Lucero (written by Ben Nichols): “Five sisters and she’s the one.” Just like that you’ve got an idea of this girl and her story in your head.
One of the coolest things that happened to me while writing Scream If You Wanna Go Faster was getting Mike Cooley’s permission to use one of his lyrics from “Zip City” for the epigraph: “I get ten miles to the gallon. I ain’t got no good intentions.” He did in one sentence what I struggled to do in 200 pages.
Meet the Author
Wade Beauchamp is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He and his wife, Ronda, have one daughter. His writing is heavily influenced by fellow Southerners Junior Johnson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Devil.
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