Thursday, March 27, 2014

We write each week in at The Perk Avenue, a coffee shop in old downtown Madison, Georgia.  The Perk is halfway between our houses so it is convenient.  It is perfect for writing not just for the comfy seats and wifi, there are the coffees and pastries and wonderful smells.

The charming old brick building has large sunny windows and lots of character. Aromas of strong fresh coffee and hot scones welcome us as we come each Thursday morning.

The environment of the coffee shop seeps into the writing.  One chapter of The Shepherd’s Song takes place in a coffee shop.  The pastry counter jumped right into the book:

He moved to the counter and was taken in by the bounty of pastries—apple nut muffins, blueberry scones, chocolate chip Danish. They were all color and texture, some covered with chocolate icing, others drizzled with glaze—a donut covered with red sprinkles. He felt like he had as a boy, pressing his nose up against the glass window of a toy store.

We have written in other places.  The library down the street is nice and has a study room where we can make calls to our editor or Skype with others. We will occasionally go to the mountains or meet at one of our houses when deadlines loom for what we fondly call a “writing blitz”. 

During the week, we write in our own homes and Skype with each other to connect and keep the writing advancing.  But the familiar warmth and community of the coffee shop always lures us back. 

After two years, they know us -- which sister likes coffee and which likes hot tea.  They automatically bring our favorite salads for lunch.  We know some of the customers and it’s not unusual for someone to stop by and tell us their latest news.

The place has small history for us now.  We got the idea for The Shepherd’s Song at The Perk. We signed our contracts here and mailed them at the old post office across the street.  We have tried out ideas for names for characters on our favorite waitress.  We can’t count the number of times we have prayed in the coffee shop. 

The one hour drive each Thursday to get to the Perk, each of us coming from different directions, gives us time alone to ponder the past week.  Sometimes we listen to praise music. Other days we listen to audio books, passing off the CD’s to each other as we finish them. Some days inspiration will strike one of us as we start home and we call each other and talk while driving back to our houses.

For us it is the perfect “office.”  At home, no one brings us scones. 

The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, were born into a writing family and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars.  They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is  The Shepherd’s Song,  Howard Books, March 2014.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of The Shepherd's Song!


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