Today I was writing at my new haunt--the Denny's on 50th St and 25th Ave. My usual writing place--the Cappuccino Affair--may be sold soon and the owner has kind of lost interest, which means that the menu has dwindled to next to nothing and sometimes he isn't even open. Since I like to write for 6+ hours, I need a place where I have a few things to choose from for lunch or supper.
A few weeks ago, I went into Denny's Restaurant and spoke with the owner. He was extremely accommodating, allowing me to come in and write any time and for as long as I want to--even if all I order is coffee. Well, he's got nothing to worry about there. I happen to like way too many things on their menu! And they're open 24-7!
I have two favorite tables already, and the staff is getting to know me and I, them. Some great young people work there! Sogand has greeted me every day that I show up as if I'm her favorite author, yet I know she hasn't read any of my books. So today I brought her a signed copy of Whale Song as a thank you because she had shown an interest in my work and she always made sure I got my table as soon as it was available. Today, however, my favorite tables were full, so I sat at a different one (there are only 4 with outlets for my laptop). Then I set to work on Divine Justice, book 2 in the Divine series.
I was well into my story and characters when 2 women and 2 young boys (not sure of their ages--maybe 5 and 8) sat down in the booth behind me. They were a bit boisterous and I was distracted, so I figured I'd take a break. I started up my Spider Solitaire and was settling into a game when I heard something that made my ears perk up. My name. Well, not my name exacly but "Aunty Cheryl", who was sitting behind me. The two boys were so excited that Aunty Cheryl was visiting that they couldn't contain themselves and soon their mother was reprimanding them for interrupting. I had to smile. How do you possibly contain two small bodies who obviously love their Aunty Cheryl? For a moment, I wished I was their Aunty Cheryl. :)
I tried to return to my game, but then they began talking about a subject that filled my ears. Books and reading. Okay, could you possibly dangle more carrots in front of me?! Apparently the other woman knew someone who had just found a love for reading and she was excited for him. I thought she was talking about one of the boys at first. She mentioned some book titles and authors' names, and then I made carrot cake out of all the carrots they were dangling and turned around.
"Excuse me," I said. "I'm sorry..." I saw the look on their faces. I think they thought I was going to complain about noise or something. "...I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. I'm an author."
Eyes lit up. I let out a breath, relieved that they weren't going to snarl at me for having large ears.
"What do you write?" they asked. To which I replied, "Suspense, mysteries and thrillers." I passed them two of my (ever ready) bookmarks. To Aunty Cheryl I said in a low voice, "I was asked recently what I do and I told them 'I kill people for a living.'" It's a good thing she got my joke! :)
I discovered that the new avid reader was actually the one woman's husband. So I mentioned that The River is my bestseller with men. After a brief chat, I turned back to my work. It's really hard to NOT listen when someone is talking about you literally behind your back. lol I heard the moment they discovered my name. "Her name's Cheryl too," someone said.
Before they left, I heard that one of the boys wanted to ask me a question. They tried to encourage him to come and ask me, but he was too shy. I set my glasses aside and waited. A second later, they all appeared at my side. The older of the two boys asked me his question: "Why did you call it Whale Song."
I smiled. And then I told him why.