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Vergennes Author Captures Christian Ethos And Vermont Racing History
photo by Mike Cameron
photo by Photo Provided
photo by Photo Provided
Tuesday September 16, 2014
By Mike Cameron
The “Checkered Flag” is Bev Stearns new book. It is a novel about stock car racing and calls upon her past experience as a driver in the early 70s, to form the characters and the storyline. The work is about as real as fiction gets.
At a time when being criticized as a “Women's Libber” was standard fare for women in sports, Bev stood her ground and raced competitively in the Hurricane division at Catamount Stadium in Milton and Thunder Road International Speed bowl in Barre Vermont.
“It wasn't easy,” Stearns recalled in a recent interview with the Voice. “I was able to find a way through my faith and some good friends who were willing to give me a chance along the way,” she explained. Still; that an attractive, slight of build, and some what shy girl was attracted to motorsports so much so as to aspire to drive a car is a truly remarkable story. Now it is being told in an unusual and unique way, with remarkable results.
Getting to know Bev is a privilege. Getting to know and understand her work was stunning. This thoughtful 70 year old has crafted a novel and based the story's time-line and characters on her real-life experiences in a sport that saw few if any women drivers during the era she raced here in Vermont or anywhere in the country for that matter. “I have loved writing since I was a child and wrote simply for my own pleasure,” she explained on the back cover of her new book and then she gives us a small glimpse of her rare talent when she explained that friends introduce her to auto racing Vermont style in the 1960's. One race and Bev is hooked. She lights up like a Christmas tree when sharing memories of those early days. “The sound, the smell, some dust, the crowd, the cars, the colors and the collective cacophony of the race gets into her blood, a constant roar and it became a part of who she was and is today.
Asked to recall her first time behind the wheel Bev is matter of fact with a little sheepish grin; “a little nervous but I felt comfortable and I got better as time progressed,” she recalls of those early days in the early 1970's. “I used income from my job at Vermont Furniture in Winooski to help with the racing expense and shared driving and mechanical maintenance duties with Charles Benoit who helped me build my first race car and taught me how to race,” Bev remembers in the introduction of her book.
And here the plot thickens and takes on a new life of its own. Bev's book isn't about Bev or is it? The main character is Stacy Porter who arrives at Catamount Stadium wondering what is going to happen to him. Stacy carries some baggage and battles some nefarious characters in the sport.
It is the girlfriend of his tormentor who injects Christian values into the story in a way that is human and believable. This sets the tone for a bigger than life narrative written with great skill and respect for the human condition.
Bev Stearns racing career ended when her job vanished in a tragic fire. Her three year driving career spanned 1971, 1972, and 1973. It was a turning point in her life and since then she has turned to the pen for her creative outlet, that and her devotion to being a Christian and the Christian way of life.
The “Checkered Flag” is a Vermont story and is written by a person who believes that good things are always possible but first and foremost you have to believe in a higher power than yourself.
The marketing sequence of Bev’s book has begun and we will keep you posted on where you can get a copy and perhaps meet her as well. You won't be disappointed.
Bev's book is available at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and by calling 888-795-4274 ext 7879
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