Leif Brevik, the hero in MORE THAN A TOUCH, is a man standing at a crossroads in his life. He’s always planned on a career in the Army, but the wound he suffered during his last deployment may change that for him. At the beginning of the book, he’s still living out of his duffel bag in a house that doesn’t belong to him and trying to make the best of a bad situation.
But Leif is a man of action, trained to assess the situation and determine the best way to achieve the goal. He knows failure is a possibility, but he’d rather go down fighting than meekly accept defeat. He is also well aware that a successful campaign starts with careful planning and positioning himself to succeed.
In the first book, A TIME FOR HOME, Leif is pretty much dependent on his best friend and former sergeant, Nick Jenkins, for everything. It’s Nick who finds them a place to live. It’s Nick who gives them both something to do with their time, and it’s Nick who provides transportation in the form of his own pickup truck.
So what did a man like Leif choose as his first step back toward taking control of his life? Well, he is a guy, after all. He bought a truck—and not just any truck. He bought a cherry-red pickup with all the bells and whistles. Admittedly, it was a used truck, but one that had been babied since the day it rolled off the assembly line. In fact, the previous owner was one of the leading citizens in Snowberry Creek.
Okay, I will warn you right now that I was an English major in college, and as such, I see symbolism in everything. <g> In this case, though, I think that truck is much more than a means of transportation for Leif that lets him go from Point A to Point B and back again. To begin with, the purchase of that truck gives Leif a renewed sense of independence, enabling him to start making his own connections to the people of Snowberry Creek. He’s no longer just spinning his wheels. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist it.)
So back to the question about when is a truck just a truck? The answer: when it’s how Leif finally moves forward again. For the first time, he’s looking toward his future instead of being mired in his past. From there, there’s no telling where the road will take him, even if there are a few bumps along the way.
As readers, do you enjoy seeing those turning points in a character’s life? Do you always see them for what they were or do you think back after you’ve finished the book and think, “Ah, so that’s where he/she found hope again?”