Hemingway Wrote in Cafés, This Novelist Writes in Hardee's

It’s not fast food; it’s a way of life.

By Ethan L. Johns
March 06, 2018

Image: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For those times when you just happen to be a professional writer and there is no Parisian café to be found, perhaps try something a little more… charbroiled?

Brad Parks is a crime novelist based in Staunton, Virginia, who has just published his eighth novel.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Genius Kitchen isn’t in the business of reviewing novels. We are in the business, however, of reporting that food news, so we’re here to tell you that Brad Parks wrote every one of those award-winning novels in his local Hardee’s. Yes, the fast food restaurant.

In recognition of Parks’ office space selection, Hardee’s seems hell-bent on sending his new book, Closer Than You Know, to the top of the charts. To do so, the company bought up a full-page ad in the Tuesday edition of Pars’ hometown paper, The News Leader. Hardee’s also installed a tongue-in-cheek “Lifetime Achievement Award” plaque in his personal booth and hooked him up with Hardee’s “Resident Novelist” business cards.

The story was brought to the attention of both the company and the rest of the planet over the weekend when the Associated Press wrote about Parks’ writing habits.

According to that story, Parks shows up first thing in the morning when his Hardee’s opens and pays in advance for a few soda refills. He then spends his day—which lasts as long as it takes to reach 1,000 words—enjoying the absence of Wi-Fi and writing at his booth in the corner. Sometimes he wanders outside, speaking character dialogue to himself.

While at first the employees thought that he was a homeless person, they eventually warmed to his eccentricities, and he even included some of them in his latest book.

With three of crime fiction’s most prestigious awards—the Shamus, Nero and Lefty Awards—under his belt, we wonder if maybe we should move our offices into the nearest fast food restaurant. We’ll think on it.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns