In my last blog post of each month, I interview an author friend on a fun topic that’s currently caught my imagination.
When I featured a magical Mini car in my recent novella Mrs Morris Changes Lanes, many author friends remarked that they’d also owned (and mostly loved) Minis.
Today I’m pleased to welcome the bestselling Regency romance novelist Audrey Harrison, a previous finalist in the prestigious Kindle Storyteller Award, to reminisce about her Mini.
Hello, Audrey, and welcome! Please kick off by telling us why and when you bought your first Mini.
I came late to life with my Mini, both my brothers had enjoyed their Minis when they were far younger and although I took advantage of joining them on ‘Mini adventures’, it wasn’t the same. When my children had grown, I spied my opportunity and found myself a PURPLE mini! Perfect. She was purchased.
Hurrah! The same colour as Mrs Morris’s Mini in my story – great choice! How much did it cost and how much did you sell it for?
She was second-hand and only cost £3,500. I sold her for £1,500 as a trade-in. Broke my heart.
How long did you keep it and why did you sell it?
Connie was basically falling apart and costing too much to justify keeping her. It was a very sad day and I haven’t felt the same about any other car since.
Sorry, I should have said “her”, not “it”! I love the way so many Mini owners feel compelled to name them!
Yes! I chose the name Connie for my Mini. She was a sassy – fast – lady and completely had her own personality.
Some days things would not work on her (front seats refusing to move forward) but it always felt like me and her against the world. We were a team.
Would you like to describe her in more detail?
Purple Mini Cooper, purple, white roof, purple, spotlights, purple, leather seats, purple.
Although I loved writing about Mrs Morris’s Mini, I’ve never owned or driven one. (I may have to rectify that with my next car!) What is it about Minis that makes most owners feel so attached to them?
They are like the Spitfire of the road, fast, nippy and a whole heap of soul!
What did you most love about your Mini? What drove you nuts about it?
She was purple!! The speed, the nipping in and out.
My mother said I started to drive like a rally driver or as if I was on a go-kart as soon as I got behind Connie’s wheel.
Not bad for a woman rapidly approaching 50 (as I was then)
The two doors drove me bananas because of all the moaning that passengers did.
Where did your longest journey in your Mini take you?
As a writer of Regency Romance, Connie and myself took ourselves off to the Alton Regency Festival a few times. That was great having Connie parked in front of Jane Austen’s house.
I have always thought Jane Austen was a woman with spark and life and I am sure she would have loved Connie.
What was your most exciting trip?
Any day out in Connie put a smile on your face.
What most surprised you about your Mini?
What a pleasurable experience it was driving her and how I haven’t been able to replicate it with any other car – still looking.
Did you ever have any accidents or any scary trips in your Mini?
I volunteered with the National Trust, dressing up as a 1913 cook. I used to travel to and fro in my costume and one day someone hit me side on (their fault). When I got out of the car, the other driver thought I was a vicar! Made for an interesting conversation.
Who was your favourite/most interesting/most difficult passenger and why?
The funniest was one of my cousins who was slightly (!) drunk and although managed to get into the rear seat could not get out of it when I was dropping her off. You probably had to be there to appreciate the moment, but we all ended up crying laughing.
Was your first Mini a one-off buy or did you stay brand loyal and buy more Minis later?
Sadly because of the two door situation I won’t be going back to a Mini, but that doesn’t stop me longing – I just don’t like the more modern versions, they aren’t Mini and they don’t have the same personality.
What car do you drive now?
Skoda Citigo (or Shitigo as I call it) – just about to change to a hybrid.
What do you miss about your Mini?
Everything apart from the two doors!
What would be your dream car if money were no object?
A baby Bentley, but I’d need a driver to go with it, they are still huge! I like my little nippy cars but the baby Bentley has got class.
If you’ve read Mrs Morris Changes Lanes, what did you think of her Mini and of her adventure?
I loved it!
I think everyone at some point thinks what if, it is completely believable that a Mini would have some magic attached to it.
I hope it turns into a series, or that it had been longer.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Audrey, that was great fun!
To find out more about Audrey Harrison and her highly acclaimed Regency Romance novels, hop across to her website here: www.audreyharrison.co.uk.
Previous posts in the Me & My Mini series: