But then fate sends Laura her very own Christmas angel in the form of hunky truck driver Jonas…
This is a short and sweet holiday romance of 8400 words or approximately 30 print pages.
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- Driving Home for Christmas is a short and sweet holiday romance of approx. 8400 words. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- The initial inspiration for this story happened shortly before Christmas 2019, when I had to take a phone call, while in my car, and drove onto the parking lot of the Ochtum-Park mall after the all the shops were closed. I looked out across the empty parking lot with all the Christmas lights and thought, “After hours, this place with the electric stars would be an oddly romantic setting for a holiday romance.”
- Yes, the Bremen-Brinkum A1 Autobahn exit with the Ochtum-Park outlet mall is a real place that’s about seven kilometres from my home. I took some liberties with the arrangement of the shops, but the IKEA store, the gas station, the McDonald’s and the various outlet shops, including the Lindt chocolate outlet, all really exist. And yes, they have electric star holiday decorations.
- The Autobahn A1 is 749 kilometres long and goes from Heilighafen on the Baltic Sea coast to Saarbrücken on the French border. On the way, the A1 passes several major cities and is one of the main North-South traffic routes for all of Europe. The other one is the Autobahn A7, which lies approximately 100 kilometres further east. As a result, the A1 is extremely busy and full of trucks from all over Europe, so meeting a Danish truck driver somewhere along the A1 is not exactly unusual. The A1 also one of the oldest Autobahnen in Germany, parts of which were originally built in the 1930s, though hardly anything of the original 1930s Autobahn remains these days.
- The route that Laura is travelling, from Münster via Osnabrück and Bremen to Hamburg, is also the stretch of the A1 that I’m most familiar with, the part where I know the names of the exits and rest spots, even though I have driven all the way down to Saarbrücken.
- At its closest, the A1 passes some four kilometres from my home. Sometimes, when the wind is right, I can even hear the sound of the cars and trucks going by. However, the two closest exits are Bremen-Brinkum, where the story is set, and Delmenhorst-Ost, which is locally known as Groß Mackenstedt, since that’s the name of the village closest to the exit. This is the “Groß something or other” Laura mentions, unless she’s referring to Groß Ippener, which is the next exit in southern direction. And no, neither place deserves the “great” moniker, because they’re both tiny villages.
- The gearbox trouble Laura experiences really happened to me, including the part where I barely managed to pull into a highway exit and get off the Autobahn. Alas, my breakdown didn’t happen at Bremen-Brinkum, cause that would have been too easy, but at the A1 exit Rade on the Bremen – Hamburg stretch. Worse, the car I was driving was a rental and a brand-new one at that. When I picked up the car earlier that day, there were only about sixty kilometres on the mileage counter, though the clutch gave me trouble from the beginning. I was worried that the rental company would charge me for the damage to the car. But in the end, the rental company were remarkably sanguine about the whole thing. Since the car was so new, the issue had to be a factory fault, so they just sent it back to the manufacturer. Though I still had to wait in the middle of nowhere for two hours until they could send a tow truck to pick up the car.
- The ADAC is a German automobile club, which offers free help in case of breakdowns to all members. If you’re not a member, they’ll still help you, but they’ll charge you for the privilege. Their yellow cars and trucks are a well known sight on German highways and they’re known as the yellow angels. They operate rescue helicopters, too. Since “Driving Home for Christmas” is a holiday story, I felt it was only appropriate, if a bona-fide angel, even if it’s only a yellow angel, would show up. After all, there probably are very few Germans who have never had any contact with the yellow angels of the ADAC.
- The title is a reference to the eponymous holiday song by Chris Rea.
- The cover is stock art by Zzayko.