Fast Lane - Kristen Ashley


The maturity and professionalism I read in Lily Guthrie’s articles,

that her proud momma and my friend Shayr shared with me,

were the inspiration behind my out-of-scene character of the interviewer.

So, for Lily I’ll just say…

You’ve got this.

Follow your star.

Many moons ago, I had the occasion to really listen to the song “Life in the Fast Lane” by The Eagles.

I’d heard it before, tons of times.

But on that listen, something struck me.

Being a romantic at heart, a romance novelist and addicted to romance for as long as I can remember, that song captured me as lyrics often do. Especially if a love story is told. Any kind of love story. Even the ones without happy endings.

Maybe especially ones without happy endings.

So much said in a few spare lines. So many emotions welling. And as is the magic of music, on each new listen, it happens again like you’d never heard that song before.

I became obsessed with it, inspired by this cautionary tale, and determined to find the right story that would fit that inspiration.

It was something I thought I’d fiddle with “someday,” which is where a great number of my ideas or inspirations are relegated.

Then I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six.

I have never, in my life, put down a book because I was loving it so much, I had to draw it out for as long as I could. And then, weeks later, I picked it up, only begrudgingly, because I knew opening that book again would mean finishing it, and I never wanted it to end.

The fresh, unique way TJR told that story as an oral history of a 70s rock band blew my mind.

The no-holds-barred, warts-and-all, brave, open, honest characterizations gripped me.

I was in love with Daisy on the first page.

My adoration of Billy swiftly came after.

I was enthralled by a band and a story that wasn’t even real, but it felt like it was.

Oh yes, it felt like it was.

Right in my gut.

I was what you should be with a piece of art.

Obsessed by it. Gripped by it. Moved by it.


It was then it happened.

Slotting into place, these two inspirations worked so beautifully together—an epic 70s rock song, an innovatively-told fictional tale about a 70s rock band…

As Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

My world opened upon reading Daisy Jones and the Six in more than one way, and I thank Taylor Jenkins Reid, and, of course, The Eagles, to the marrow of my bones for being the impetus for this happening.

I would break the bounds of my very own writing to explore new ways to tell a story. I would tackle difficult subject matter. I would present myself with a new challenge in a way I haven’t since I first started writing to share a raw, emotional story, break even more rules, rip the lid off creativity, make my story immediate to my readers, and I wouldn’t hold anything back.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t doing this before.

It was that I’d quit pushing the boundaries because I found my happy place in my writing…and I liked it.

But after reading Daisy Jones and the Six, I knew it was time to push down the accelerator, flip on the turn signal, and hit the fast lane.

[Off tape]

Just talk like you’re telling a story. But please do it clearly so the recording can pick you up.

[Jesse Simms, founding member and bassist of Preacher McCade and the Roadmasters clears his throat. There is a long pause.]

I know it’s a long story to tell, and some parts are difficult, but…


I didn’t know at first.

[Another long pause]

[Off tape]

You didn’t know what at first?


That it was her. That it was Lyla.

That once he met her, it was and always would be Lyla.

Jesse Simms, bassist, Preacher McCade and the Roadmasters, formerly Zenith:

It was my band. A lot of people don’t know that. It’s been in a few articles. A few books.

Everyone thinks it was Preacher’s band.

But it was me who started the band with Tim in my garage when I was sixteen.

Tim was lead guitar and lead singer. I was bass. We used to fuck around on our guitars a lot before we picked up Nicky and Ricky Pileggi. The twins. They were the rhythm section. Nicky on guitar, Ricky on drums.

Nicky and Ricky are lore though.

It’s funny, and you’ll see I’m not laughing, how everyone knows the story about Nicky and Ricky and not many know it