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I’ve Been Hungry While Writing

Monday, November 1, 2010

Even though I don’t always recognize it ahead of time, I can tell when I get to the checkout stand at the grocery store that I was extremely thirsty going in . . . because I end up with a couple of cases of canned sodas, and a dozen or so bottles of the fruit-flavored sparkling water I like.

Well, now I can tell that I’ve been hungry while writing The Art of Romance. (Which is understandable, because as I’ve been most of this year, I’m flat broke, waiting by the mailbox for the check for my last freelance job, and dreaming about all the places where I’d love to go out to eat and can’t afford it*.) So I’ve been living vicariously through my characters.

      *I do have to say, I have some of the greatest friends in the world—I had two different people insist on treating me to meals out last week when I would otherwise have had to cancel getting together with them because I couldn’t afford it. Bente and AJ were both blessings from God for me this week, and I can never express to either of them how much I appreciate what they did for me.

Where have I been “eating out” in my book?

Well, I do try to find places local to Nashville (though I do have another meal take place at The Cheesecake Factory, which is also in Love Remains—after all, it is one of Caylor’s favorite restaurants). So the fun part of this for me is finding great local restaurants and cafes that I’ll eventually try, if it isn’t somewhere I’ve been before.

The Pfunky Griddle in Berry Hill
The Bransford Avenue area of Nashville/Berry Hill (which is quite close to where I live) is an old residential neighborhood converted to a retail area (somewhat of the idea behind Moreaux Mills in A Case for Love, though on a much more microscopic scale), and one of those converted houses is a little restaurant called The Pfunky Griddle. Ever since I first saw the sign several years ago, I’ve been curious about it. But once I realized that the coffee shop in Franklin where I had the grannies meeting for their weekly get-together—at which they discuss their matchmaking progress— had closed since I wrote the prologue for this book, I needed somewhere new, and I figured that they wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to one of the coffee shops in the more urban areas like 12South or Hillsboro Village. So I chose The Pfunky Griddle:

Whitt’s Barbecue in Belle Meade
After a taxing day out at their parents’ house taking family photos, Dylan and his brothers stop by Whitt’s Barbecue—a place just as famous around here for being the caterer of choice for most casual events as well as being a drive-through-only restaurant. You don’t eat at Whitt’s. They either bring it to you or you pick it up. And this is eastern Carolina style barbecue—with spicy vinegar-based sauces. (Growing up in the West, accustomed to tomato-based spicy sauce on grilled/smoked beef, this took me a while to get used to, but it’s pretty darn good.)

      What the Bradley boys ordered: A Picnic Pack (enough meat and buns for sixteen pork sandwiches, plus plenty of coleslaw to go on top with lots leftover, and sweet tea)
      What I would order: A pound of pulled pork and a pint of coleslaw, along with plenty of both hot and mild sauce, to make my own sandwiches at home for several days.

Provence Breads & Cafe at Hill Center in Green Hills
I’ve placed the fictional James Robertson University, where Caylor’s a professor, near the Green Hills area, so it makes sense that she and Dylan would go over to the new Hill Center—a town-square-style shopping center south of Green Hills Mall—for a late soup-and-sandwich lunch after the school cafeteria is closed.

      What Caylor ordered: Four Cheese Panini and Tomato-Basil Soup
      What Dylan ordered: Ham and Cheese Panini and Potato Salad
      What they talked about: Well . . . you’ll have to wait until next May to find out
      What I would order: I’ll have to go on a Friday so I can get the roast beef panini with caramelized onions and gorgonzola on rosemary fococcia, washed down with a Cafe Framboise

Boscos in Hillsboro Village for Sunday brunch
This is less than a block from my real church, which is right across the street from where I’ve placed Acklen Avenue Fellowship (see Love Remains—Boscos also appears in it). I’ve never actually been to Boscos for their Sunday brunch, but have had many other meals there that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

      What Dylan ordered: blueberry Belgian waffle with a side of bacon and sweet tea
      What I would order: Prosciutto and artichoke omelet with bacon substituted for the grits, hot tea, and Crème Brȗlée Grand Marnier for dessert (because crème brȗlée is my favorite dessert, so I never pass it up if I can help it).

Gigi’s Cupcakes on Broadway in Nashville
I first became aware of Gigi’s Cupcakes when Middle Tennessee Christian Writers began having our monthly meetings at the Panera on 21st Avenue near Vanderbilt. The original Gigi’s location is on Broadway—which becomes 21st Avenue, so before I started cutting around via Demonbreun and Division streets (i.e., the back way), I would pass by this little cupcake store twice a month. The weren’t open as I was heading toward the meeting, and always too crowded when I was leaving. But since there’s a wedding coming up pretty soon in this series, I figured it might be good for the girls to taste-test some cupcakes before the bridal shower.

Am I making you hungry yet? 😉

In what ways do you live vicariously through your reading and/or writing? Have you ever made a special trip somewhere (a restaurant or an art gallery or even another city or country) because you read about it in a book or were researching it for your writing?

  1. Jenni permalink
    Monday, November 1, 2010 1:49 am

    My husband took me on a “culinary tour” of my imaginary world when I finished my contemporary fantasy earlier this year. We’re fortunate to live close to Epcot so we got several types of great food in one area. My current nanowrimo project is going to be set locally so I’ll probably have the characters try out new shops…for my husband and I to experience. 🙂


    • Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:02 pm

      Something that helped me earlier this year when I was writing Love Remains was to actually go sit at the coffee shop where the three girls meet regularly for coffee–The Frothy Monkey. It gave me a really good feel not just for the place itself, but for the vibe/the character of both the location and the people who frequent it.

      I’m working at Panera this afternoon, but tomorrow I may go work at Provence.


  2. Monday, November 1, 2010 8:51 am

    Live vicariously through your writing, hmmm? I guess that’s why I have my stories occur at the beach because I’d love to live there. But you just gave me a great idea! My character should be so crazy about the music of Michael Buble that she meets him in person. Research would require that I meet him in person and interview him, right?
    I did attend a recent concert but I could write the scene better actually talking with him. LOL. I’ve started doing freelance work and understand the waiting part!


    • Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:04 pm

      I got to attend a Michael Bublé concert a few years ago—he puts on a GREAT show. I actually prefer him live to listening to his recorded music. As far as stalking him as research for a book . . . don’t know how that would go over. 🙂


  3. Monday, November 1, 2010 10:18 am

    My last trip to the beach was a combination of pure pleasure and research for my manuscript. I even included a seafood restaurant that we went to a few years ago that had THE BEST hushpuppies in the world. They were small, and served with melted butter in which to dip them. YUM. Honestly, I could have skipped the seafood.

    Those cupcakes sound amazing. Must find chocolate . . . Ooo! Found a caramel on my desk! Now I want more coffee…


    • Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:06 pm

      Did you ever find that chocolate? (I ask because I’m sitting here snacking on a double-chocolate-walnut cookie at Panera.

      I’m eventually going to have to find some way to work Charleston, SC, into one of my books, because, even though it wasn’t necessarily a destination I would have picked for a vacation spot if my cousin hadn’t been getting married there, it does have its charms.


  4. Monday, November 1, 2010 12:20 pm

    I could eat pizza from Manny’s House of Pizza in the Arcade downtown for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


  5. Monday, November 1, 2010 9:53 pm

    Eastern Carolina BBQ! As an Eastern Carolina girl… I must now eat at Whitt’s. Sorry folks. Eastern Carolina is the only real BBQ. 🙂


    • Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:09 pm

      I’ve never actually had true Eastern Carolina style barbecue, but I know it’s vinegar-based and not tomato-based, so that’s my means of comparison and labeling it that style.

      It’s too bad I was writing the Whitt’s scene in my book late at night. Describing Dylan putting his sandwiches together made me crave that hot sauce!


    • Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:17 am

      Well, having grown up in the Memphis area nearly my entire life, I have to say that Memphis-style BBQ is the ONLY way to go. 🙂 Hands down favorite of mine around here would have to be Corky’s BBQ…love it, love it, love it! I know they either had or used to have a location in Jackson, but I’m not sure about Nashville.

      Oh, and it’s a tomato-based sauce…I can’t do the vinegar sauces.


      • Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:17 am

        Sorry, I meant “have” or “used to have.”


  6. Kim permalink
    Friday, November 5, 2010 4:56 pm

    Whitts BBQ has always been a family favorite. My parents are from Athens, AL (where Whitts actually originated) and know the owners personally. Being an Air Force brat, we never lived in Athens so we only got Whitts when we went down to visit my grandparents. Now as an adult, whenever someone travels down to Athens to visit family, they are required to bring Whitts back with them. We usually call them up beforehand and they freezedry it and send it back to us. Too bad it doesn’t last long up here. It’s usually eaten pretty quickly. Also, recently I suffered a miscarriage and one of my friends (from Athens) sent Whitts bbq over for supper. It’s a great comfort food!



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