Day 6

You big lug! Meet the romance writer whose muse is her local tire shop

While waiting for her car at Tires Tires Tires author Amy Daws was hit by a bolt of inspiration. After several more trips to the tire shop, she not only finished her book, she became the garage’s writer-in-residence.

"They finished the tires, and I said: 'Do you mind if I stick around a little longer?'

Amy Daws, writer-in-residence at Tires Tires Tires. (Amy Daws)

For Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling, it was a cafe in Edinburgh. For Ernest Hemingway, it was a farm in Cuba.

But American author Amy Daws finds her writing inspiration at Tires Tires Tires in Sioux Falls, SD.

Daws is the author of a series of romance novels and she'd been struggling with her latest book.

"When I sat down at Tires Tires Tires and waited for my tires to be replaced, I had my laptop with me and I thought: 'If I could just get a few words in while I wait here, maybe a new environment will help inspire me,'" explains Daws. "Because I'd been having a little bit of writer's block."

It was like, there's magic at Tires Tires Tires and I want to go back as much as possible.- Amy Daws, author, writer-in-residence at Tires Tires Tires

The waiting area at Tires Tires Tires has complimentary coffee and cookies, so Daws filled her mug and settled in. That's when inspiration struck.

"I cracked open my laptop and I blinked and 1,000 words came out," says Daws. "And I blinked again, and another 1,000. And it was just like a frenzy of words."

"They finished the tires, and I said: 'Do you mind if I stick around a little longer?' And they were like: 'No, help yourself,'" recounts Daws. "And so I ended up staying there seven hours that day. It was a long time."

How many times can one person go to the garage?

Writer Amy Daws in front of Tires Tires Tires in Sioux Falls, SD. (Amy Daws)

Daws had found her muse, but with her car all fixed up and ready to go, how would she be able to keep the words flowing?

"I was talking to my sister about it and about how I just liked writing there. I liked the vibe. I'd tried coffee shops before and I never really felt comfortable. And so she was like: 'Well, my car needs an oil change, do you want to take it in tomorrow?'"

So Daws returned to Tires Tires Tires, this time with her sister's car, and she kept writing.

"It was like, I don't know, there's magic at Tires Tires Tires and I want to go back as much as possible."

That's when things got a little out of control.

"I started taking other people's cars: my other sister, some friends, our second vehicle. At one point one of the employees was like, 'how many cars do you have?'"

Coming clean

Around the ninth time that Daws visited the auto repair shop, it was time to fess up.

"The employee that helped me a lot, he goes: 'Man you sure are coming in here a lot,'" recounts Daws. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, I told you I'm a writer and I'm getting a lot of good work done here.'"

A message to Amy Daws from the manager of Tires Tires Tires. (Amy Daws)

So that employee told his manager, and the manager checked out Daws's website and blog and reached out to her. He told her she was welcome to write there anytime.

"And that sort of started this, like, love affair with me and Tires Tires Tires."

The shop set aside a chair for Daws to use in their waiting room. They gave her a hat and a travel mug.

"They have this big tire man mascot ... and the mascot started posting to me on Facebook, saying 'Amy why don't you come in and write today.'"

Eventually, Daws earned a new honour.

"They made an announcement on their Facebook page that they were naming me their official author in residence. It was really hilarious. And just when we thought it couldn't get any funnier, it got funnier."

Latest book

While writing at Tires Tires Tires, Daws not only finished the book she'd been struggling with, she was inspired to write another.

The cover of the novel 'Wait With Me,' written by Amy Daws. (Amy Daws)

"All my other friends and my agent were like: 'Why aren't you writing about this? This seems like a hilarious romantic comedy,'" explains Daws. "And so I sat down and I wrote the book in 13 days. I have never [written] a book that fast."

The tire-inspired romantic comedy was released this week. Fittingly, it's called Wait With Me.

Tires Tires Tires will be hosting a book signing for Daws at the garage. They have set aside a table for her — with a tablecloth — and even advertised her new book on their shop sign.

Her other novel will be released later this year.

"Sometimes it just feels good to have a feel-good story about a tire company welcoming a romance author into their waiting room, and  you can find inspiration in the unlikely places."

To hear more from Amy Daws, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.