Why did I decide to write about the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Races (or IOMTT) and write a book called TT: Full Throttle?
So, one question people have been asking me about TT: FULL THROTTLE is, why did I write about the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Races (or IOMTT). I think they’re asking as I don’t look like a motorcycle racing fan, plus why would a Canadian woman be interested in European road racing?
It was fate and a bit of a long story, so here goes.
Back when I was a young pup, I backpacked across Europe doing what backpackers did back then which was to live on $25 a day, see the world and expand the mind. I had travelled everywhere that summer from Holland, France, and East and West Germany (I still have my piece of the wall I broke off myself), to Luxemburg, Austria and Switzerland. Then I did a 180 and spent a good chunk of time in England and Northern & Southern Ireland. (Sorry, Scotland and Wales, I’ll get there one day, I promise!).
But I digress.
So I come home and a few months later I’m watching this film called Waking Ned Devine at my local repertory theater (if you haven’t seen it, go see it). The images of lush green rolling pastures and the sea was love at first sight. Where the heck was this filmed, I thought – although an Irish film it wasn’t the Irish landscape. I knew I MUST visit this place. So, I stay until the end credits (there was no IMBD in those days) to get my answer: The Isle of Man.
The Isle of what? That’s weird. Weird.
But I digress.
So roughly 10 years pass and I’d fallen in love with screenwriting. To see if it was something I really wanted to do, I teamed up with a very talented writer, Stephen Geigen-Miller to try our hand at a feature film. It was called Muppets: Mission Impossible – it’s awesome, Kermit is a spy for the CIA. Not too much long after that, we landed a Manager.
Now, Canada’s film industry is not as simple as the US. Quite often to get a film made there are co-productions, basically you partner up with another country (or several of them) to help foot the bill for your project.
Our Manager was looking to a) try his hand at becoming a producer and b) co-produce a film to shoot, where? Why the Isle of Man, of course. (It’s a good tax break.)
So Stephen and I end up writing a $50 million dollar film, we even received two rounds of development funding from the Harold Greenberg Fund to help the puppy grow, but it all fell apart (that’s another story) and soon the Pirates of the Caribbean hit the big screens and that was that.
But I digress.
So I started researching and reading about the Isle of Man and discovered they had a road race called The Tourist Trophy. I’d always wanted to write a sports story (Rudy is one of my favourite sports films) so to write a story with the same kind of heart as Rudy really resonated with me. What attracted me to the IOMTT Races was that it wasn’t your typical sports trope, you know, man vs. man (like Rocky), or team A vs. team B. The TT Races is all about man (or woman) vs. him/herself. There’s no external protagonist which I like because most of us aren’t walking around battling an arch enemy (like Sherlock and Moriarty), plus I have no desire to write those kinds of stories, they don’t resonate with me.
But I digress, sort of.
After a while Stephen and I had had enough of Filmland. So we closed shop on screenwriting and I switched writing forms – from script to prose, which is not as easy as it sounds, at least it wasn’t for me. In film you strip away the story to its basics as someone else fills in the set dressing, wardrobe, lighting, actors, etc. In prose, you obviously have to do it all. I remember people reading my first draft of a screen play I’d rewritten in prose. They said, good plot, awesome dialogue, but I can’t picture where I am, and I don’t know what anything or anyone looks like. Like I said, it was a bit of a struggle at first.
But I digress.
So after a few years of learning my craft and writing a draft of TT: Full Throttle (formerly known as: Driving Ambition, In on the Outside, and Everything to Race For – the title changed constantly), I was ready to actually VISIT the Isle of Man for research. So, in 2010, I boarded a plane from Toronto to Heathrow, took the bus to Gatwick, then flew to the place I had wanted to visit since I first saw Waking Ned Devine 21 years earlier. The next day, I was a TT volunteer marshal, standing by the side of the road, wearing a bright orange bib and waving the yellow flag.
I don’t digress, but that’s another story.