Tuesday 15 April 2014

Writers in Cafes: Sara Sheridan

A few years ago when my daughter was about to leave school, I moved into town. I had a plan. Molly was going to go to college and I was going to travel more and write as I went. I was in my late 30s, divorced and had just moved into a small two-bedroom flat in the city centre – the kind of flat upon which you can safely slam the door and head off into the sunset. New York, Paris, Istanbul. It was all ahead of me - a well laid plan.

Within a couple of months however I inadvertently met my second husband, my daughter, who had rented a place in Glasgow, where she went to study came home again and that footloose, fancy free novelist who was going to go wherever her heart dictated was back in the box. The box was too small – we later built an extension.

The places I live have always been busy – I come from the kind of family where we have keys to each other’s houses. One brother and his family lives a whole 2 minutes away. My other brother’s house is at least 10 minutes in the other direction. So when QuattroZero opened along the road I jumped at it. Living in town there are lots of coffee shops but QuattroZero just got it right for me. It’s a proper, modern Italian café. Great coffee, nice lunch deal and Italians bickering in the kitchen. The café feels less busy than my house (or at least, less busy with people I have to chat to). Also, I am not a huge fan of Italian dessert, which is great for my waistline. Other cafes offer carrot cake, lemon tart and other irresistible high calorie temptations but at Quattrozero I rarely succumb to anything but amazing coffee (glass of water on the side) and the seafood risotto (it was love at first bite). I’m not a fan of sandwiches at lunchtime.

I work on my laptop – I write more quickly that way. The staff know I’m busy - they just deposit regular coffees, and the wifi is great. Good wifi is important to me. I’m an historical novelist – there are always 101 things you need to check on the spot and I keep everything on the cloud (it’s like having a set of filing cabinets on your toolbar).

I think I like the anonymity, the bustle, the food on tap (you don’t have to stop writing to go and make something to eat) and sometimes just being able to stare out of the window at people passing in the street – daydreaming is a great way to come up with ideas. My regular seat has spawned lots of difficulties and a few  murders for Mirabelle Bevan, my 1950s female detective, to solve.

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