Love, writer’s block and Tires, Tires, Tires

March 9, 2018

Amy Daws is one of those under-the-radar Sioux Falls business success stories.

She’s an author, with 10 published books, a newsletter and a social media following well into the thousands. Her work is sold on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

It started just four years ago, when her first novel chronicling her struggle with infertility was published. After that, Daws, who is a lover of romance, decided that was the genre she’d rather write.

It all went well. So well, actually, that late last year she was able to quit her full-time job and focus on her writing.

And that quickly felt like a terrible idea.

“I quit my job, and I’m sitting at home, and I couldn’t write,” she said. “I was in a slump. Working from home was a big adjustment.”

It all changed the day she needed new tires.

“So I went to Tires, Tires, Tires, and I brought my laptop. I can write from anywhere,” she said.

And write she did.

She wrote so much in the customer care center that the next day she figured out how to go back. She took her sister’s car in for an oil change.

“I felt like an athlete who wanted to repeat everything the same, so I didn’t lose my winning streak,” Daws said.

With deadlines looming and words finally flowing, Daws started picking up friends’ cars and bringing them to Tires, Tires, Tires for oil changes.

“I was desperate,” she said. “Basically, I was offering a free oil change shuttle service.”

If the employees at 2317 S. Minnesota Ave. suspected anything was up, they were too polite to ask. Daws’ friends took it a bit further.

“They put together a fake invoice for consuming excess beverages and cookies,” she said.

That led her to finally connect with manager Gary Michaels, who heard about it and reached out on Facebook to assure her the invoice was not legitimate.

“And then I started reading about what had been going on at the store,” he said, reading her posts to fans about where she had been writing. “I said, ‘You have my permission to be there as often as you want.’ ”

It had all become a bit awkward, Daws acknowledged.

The store started trying to convince her to come back, declaring her its writer-in-residence.

“They made it a thing,” she said. “It almost became this love affair with me and Tires, Tires, Tires.”

So it was only natural, her agent said, to turn the experience into Daws’ next book.

“Everybody kept asking if I was writing about a mechanic. No, it was about a British soccer player.”

And she wasn’t so sure how a tire center romance would play in the fiction world.

She told her agent: “If words flow, I’ll do this. If they don’t, I can’t get off track and waste a month writing this book.”

That wasn’t a danger.

“I sat down, and it poured out like nothing I’ve ever written,” Daws said. “I wrote the book in 13 days. And I had the flu. My kid was home. It was so weird. So, OK, surprise, I guess I am writing a book about a mechanic.”

Enter “Wait With Me,” Daws’ new novel publishing April 5 exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle. It’s a romantic comedy “about a romantic writer who finds her mojo in a tire shop waiting room and falls for a mechanic,” she said. “It’s everything that happened other than the romance.”

The team at Tires, Tires, Tires even pitched in for the cover shoot inside the shop.

“They were all running around the shop finding tools for the shoot with a shirtless guy there,” Daws said. “They were all eager to make it fun and authentic. It really feels like I’ve found a whole new group of friends.”

Michaels, too, said Daws feels like part of the crew.

“She’s absolutely a member of our team. We look forward to the days she’s there,” he said. “We’ve embraced this and are excited to see how it goes.”

He even adjusted the layout of the customer care center at the new Tires, Tires, Tires west-side location – closer to Daws’ home – so she’ll have an outlet for her laptop close to her preferred seating.

“You have to embrace your writer-in-residence,” he said. “We embrace four pillars in our company: honesty, integrity, safety of customers and staff, and having fun, and she certainly fits the having fun part.”

There has been a lot of laughter around the shop, he added.

“It’s hilarious and all in good humor,” he said. “I was inviting people (to the cover shoot). It was hysterical.”

Daws still comes in to write and doesn’t see any reason to change a method that’s working.

“I love how fun they were about it,” she said. “They could have been not amused or not impressed. I’m a romance author, and romance and Tires, Tires, Tires doesn’t exactly mesh. But I like the sense of humor and the fact you can find inspiration in the strangest places.”

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Love, writer’s block and Tires, Tires, Tires

Amy Daws had just grown her work as an author to the point of quitting her job when writer’s block struck. What happened next is hard not to love.

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