When Brentwood author Mike Tucker endured a bit of writer’s block a few years ago, he decided to become a ride-share driver.
Driving for Lyft opened up a new world for his writing.
“I really started driving for Lyft because after I published my third novel, I kind of ran out of story ideas,” explained Tucker, who has had three novels published and several short stories that are available through Amazon.
“So I thought, if I start driving for Lyft, I bet I’ll hear some interesting stories. And I have. I’ve worked in people that I’ve met while driving into characters in stories I’m writing or have written. I was able to pick up additional ideas. It’s been good for me.”
A rideshare driver plays a central role in Tucker’s latest work, an e-book he co-wrote with Nashville author Tom Wood titled “A Night on the Town.”
From the book description:
Deke is a well-liked insurance executive by day whose dark side comes out whenever he dresses up for the occasional big night on the town. Arnold once had it all, but his world came crashing down in an auto accident. That excruciating, never-ending pain led to a life of drug addiction and homelessness. Two desperate strangers, their paths cross on a fateful rideshare encounter. And watching them both is Detective Mondelli.
Tucker and Wood collaborated on the story by one taking on the character of Deke and the other writing for Arnold. They then pulled it all together with the other main characters and provided what Tucker said is quite a twist at the end.
“Tom and I have been critiquing each other’s work for about eight years, so we’re very familiar with each other’s style,” he said.
Tucker and Wood are members of the Harpeth River Writers, a coalition of published authors who meet a few times a year and participate in various events and festivals such as Main Street Festival in Franklin and the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville.
Last year, the group published an anthology titled “Words on Water,” a collection of 28 works of short fiction, prose and poetry. The nine writers also came together to pen a chain story titled "The Many Names of Jillyn.”
"It turned out better than any of us expected,” said Wood, a former journalist with the Tennessean who published his first novel, “Vendetta Stone,” in 2014. “But this is my first true collaboration with Mike.
“That (‘Words on Water’) co-writing experience was so much fun that when I got the idea for what would eventually become 'A Night on the Town,' I wanted to work on it with Mike because of the expertise he could bring to this story about a fateful rideshare encounter.
"Like 'The Many Names of Jillyn,' I think the final version of 'A Night on the Town' turned out far better than either of us hoped."
As it happens, Tucker finished driving for Lyft in late February. He went to Colorado afterward on a ski trip, and while he was out there, the coronavirus became entrenched in the United States.
If there’s a silver lining to it, he said, it could be that “A Night on the Town” will provide an entertaining escape for many.
“It’s a great time to be home reading,” Tucker said.