I’m Ingrid Steffensen and I’m a suburban New Jersey wife and dance mom, a recovering academic, and a hopelessly addicted speed freak. Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, I’ve always been a grade-A nerd and repressed artist. I loved school so much I never left, and became a college professor of art and architectural history. Along the way, I married my high school sweetheart and moved to the metro New York area. At the age of 41, my husband convinced me to join him in his dangerous, expensive, and super-stinky hobby of choice: high-performance driving at the racetrack.
Learning to handle an automobile near the limits of its capabilities changed my life! I never thought of myself as brave, or adventurous, or unusual in any way. Unexpectedly, exposure to this male-dominated sport changed everything I thought I knew about myself. Desperate to tell my tale to anyone who would listen, one of my friends—hoping, I think, to spare himself the endless greasy details—suggested I should start writing about it.
Doing so unleashed a rush of creative energy that I never knew existed inside of me. The result is Fast Girl: Don’t Brake Until You See the Face of God and Other Good Advice from the Racetrack, now available from Seal Press, on Amazon, and wherever books are sold. The New York Times called it an “entertaining account” filled with “witty insights” (Dec. 9, 2012). This isn’t really a story about cars–it’s a story about the journey. Read it and find out how doing something scary and unexpected can make you re-examine your whole life!
What’s next? Now that Fast Girl is on the market, I’m working on another book. For now, I’m switching from writing about cars to write about one of my other favorite topics: dogs. This one is the life story of a tiny dog with a huge chip on his shoulder. I’m calling it Life at Ankle Level, and it is told entirely from the canine point of view. I was inspired by the work of animal behaviorists like Alexandra Horowitz and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and my own speculation: what is life really like for my little dog? He may look cute to you, but he takes himself very seriously.