Sunday, April 25, 2010

Season 2 Begins - Introducing Misty

It had been a long, long winter for Johnny. Being alone for the first time in his life was difficult, both emotionally and financially. Winter that year seemed especially dreary, and the school year was particularly wearing. Once the weather started to warm up, Johnny started thinking about working in the flower shop again. Though that job had worn him out by the end of last summer, he definitely needed some relatively mindless work to after all of the mental stress that came with being a teacher.

Just before Mother's Day, Johnny got a call from Stewart asking if he'd like to work the Saturday before the busy holiday. Johnny jumped at the chance as he was excited to get back to Southampton. It had been months since he'd seen Stewart, Kona or Jackie and he was looking forward to seeing them again. Like any other group of working people, they'd become another sort of family to him. He hadn't spoken to Kona since last January and he was really looking forward to more good times with her.

Soon enough, the day to start back at the flower shop had arrived and Johnny raced all the way to Southampton, excited to see everybody. He parked the car and went into the flower shop.

"Hey Johnny!" Stewart walked over to greet Johnny and give him a welcoming hug as he entered the back door. "How've ya been? How's school? Are you ready for a crazy day?" Stewart's reaction to seeing Johnny was mutual to his. It already felt good to be back.

They chatted for a few minutes when Johnny heard someone coming up the stairs from the basement. "Kona!" he thought, the excitement welling up inside him at seeing his long lost friend.

Continue the story here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Author Talks about the Johnny Driver series

About three and a half years ago, things in my life had gotten tough financially. As a school teacher, summers are always the leanest of times, and the summer of 2007 was especially tough. During the last week of school, I was told that summer school had been cut and I needed to find summer work fast!

In a past career, I'd had a client who had owned a limousine company and he'd had me register for a Class B driver's license, which would allow me to drive a limo for him part time. Though I got the license, working for him never panned out, but I held on to the license just in case. That summer I figured that maybe I could find work driving a limousine for extra money so I put an ad on Craigslist: "Teacher with Class B license looking for part time work for summer.

I got a couple of bites, but they were just too far from home for a part time job. Then one day I received an email that intrigued me...all the email said was "Why don't you call Wellington flowers?" The email had a phone number...

And so began a part time, summer job that's lasted for four summers to date. Wellington's is a flower shop located in Southampton, New York, the summer playground for the rich and famous. Working as a delivery guy for Wellington's has provided me with more interesting experiences than you can imagine. Some of the things I've witnessed during my summers in Southampton have both shocked and amazed me. Eventually, towards the middle of last year's summer season, I decided to start a series based on the fictional me, Johnny Driver.

The Johnny Driver series has been well-received by many, including the folks at Wellingtons. Every time I pen a new piece, I have to email Stewart, who always gets a kick out of them. Some of his responses to them have been priceless, and we've shared many laughs about the series. At one point, he even began to share them with some of the folks at the flower market in New York City and hopefully soon, Johnny Driver will be a link on the shop's website.

Though I've had to be very creative in tip-toeing around some issues on occasion, I've tried to stay true to experiences and situations that really happened. It's been great fun to get reaction from the real people upon whom these characters are based, and I enjoy writing these misadventures as I see them.

The Hamptons is a very unique place, with all sorts of characters from the "upper echelons" of society. Attitudes and behaviors among these people are not what you'd encounter in everyday life, and it gives me great pleasure to share some of my experiences with you. The Johnny Driver pieces have been greeted with great comments and encouragement to continue here on AC, as well. There are surely a handful of fans who became fans because of Johnny Driver, and I'm very greatful for that.

All of the characters in the Johnny Driver series are based on real people and all of the situations come from real events. Though Kona is no longer a part of Wellington's, I still keep in contact with her through Facebook and she still makes me laugh. All of the Johnny Driver stories to date are from that first summer at Wellington's and there are definitely more great misadventures and new characters yet to come. Season 2 is almost completed and will be posted here soon in its entirety. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!