Gretchen Peters was on tour in Europe. When The Beat reached her, she was on the beach at Brighton, England. Our reply?

"Someone's got to do it."

Peters assured us she was up for the challenge.

Given everything she's eperienced in the past couple years (read our print piece for a rundown), we have no doubt she's not only up to it but has earned it.

In chatting with Peters about her writing style and process, she offered this cool metaphor in response to a question about how she finds inspiration for her characters and their stories.

"I gather bits and pieces. I'm like a magpie - if I see something shiny I like I take it home."

This, she said, is followed at some point by the "harder and more cerebral work" of organizing those bits and pieces.

Peters plays the Grand Valley Dale Ballroom Thursday night.