Today I’m welcoming the author Debbie Viggiano to the writing room. Debbie is a prolific writer of romantic comedy and contemporary fiction and I’m delighted to have her share her writing space here in the Writing Room. So without further ado, over to Debbie.
I’ll tell you about my writing space provided you join me for a cuppa. (Pauses to slurp Yorkshire’s finest.)
Despite loving Yorkshire tea I actually live in a tiny Kent village. We bought our “forever home” last December. It’s here, right next to the rolling North Downs and breath-taking countryside, that plots are devised, characters created, and mayhem begins. So empowering! I’m the only person who uses this room so I’ve made it my own. It doesn’t have a lot in it, but the few things here are very treasured.
I’m tremendously fond of the bulky leather-topped yew desk and matching captain’s chair which once belonged to my father. It’s strong and dependable, just like him, even though he’s now eighty-five.
The open notebook is my current work-in-progress. I usually draft straight into a Word document, but thanks to having my adult children home from university combined with a noisy husband who likes watching football at top volume, I found myself switching to writing in long-hand and took off to Menorca for a week. I finished drafting whilst standing in swishing turquoise waves. It was blissful. I could get used to having a beach for my study!
The lemon roses are “welcome home” flowers from Mr V. He’s not a man who regularly buys flowers, so I think he missed me!
The pen resting on the notebook was a gift from my mother. It’s pewter, heavy, and impressed with sunflowers. It’s of great sentimental value. Anxiety about mislaying the pen means it never leaves my study.
The Bakelite telephone is a modern replica. It instantly reminds me of my grandparents who had the real deal in their little bungalow. Looking at it evokes so many cherished memories of them both. I wish it were a hotline to Heaven because I’d be on the phone to them in an instant.
The paintings – well they’re originals don’t you know! When my children used to rush out of school with their offerings of soggy sugar paper, I couldn’t bear to throw any away. I have scores of curled up pictures residing in a vast wooden trunk elsewhere in my house. However, my favourite three went into white frames for the study walls. There is a charcoal sketch of Shakespeare, a green field full of smiling sheep and giant rabbits, and a boat that looks like a Moses basket sailing off into a fabulous sunset. On a second wall I have yet another set of paintings. These too evoke instant nostalgia – the kids’ handprints, a still life of flowers, and a disproportionate cottage with missing garden gate that leads to…who knows where. For some reason it makes me think of Narnia, even though there is no wardrobe!
If you let your eye drift towards the window you will see a large Buddha. I bought this after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013. Thankfully I’m now in major molecular remission, but it was a traumatic year. Naturally I wrote about it. The result was a charity book called 100. I firmly believe the whole experience was a wake-up call. I don’t “do” religion, but I am very spiritual. Meditation has given wonderful experiences.
The picture on the windowsill is of The Beloved I AM Presence which I believe is your real God self.
On two other walls within the study are huge framed posters of Jesus Christ. In one the Master is holding a lamb, which I find very comforting. If the going gets tough, it makes me feel there’s a strong pair of arms on offer. The other is a modern sepia depiction of Christ walking on water. It’s very inspirational – I think we can do almost anything if we put our minds to it.
My study is also a sanctuary. I can shut the door on the family when they’re complaining about the chicken I cremated for dinner. It’s a peaceful room. Certainly my pooch and moggy think so. As you can see, Molly and Dolly are currently relaxing. However, the moment I say, ‘I’m putting the kettle on,’ they will leap into life and follow me out to the kitchen for a treat.
So what am I writing at the moment? The next novel is about romantic Florrie, scatty Daisy and snobby Alison who are neighbours living their married lives in The Cul-de-Sac. Together they share laughter, tears, and things they wouldn’t want anybody else knowing. But unbeknown to the three friends, a scandal is brewing. As rumours circulate, the gossips go into overdrive, rocking marriages and revealing the women have much more in common than just neighbourly bonds…
So I’ll now get back to typing up the long-hand draft. But first I need another cuppa. (Whispers, so the four-legged family members don’t hear.) I’m putting the kettle on!
Thanks so much for joining us Debbie. It has been lovely having you on the blog and I do hope you had a muffin while you were here, or even two. There’s no shortage of muffins on this blog. I so hope you enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed having you. xx
You can connect with Debbie at her blog or on Facebook and Twitter
Today I am welcoming the author Sue Fortin to the writing room. Sue is the author of the bestselling The Girl who Lied and also The Cuckoo which is now available to pre-order on Amazon.
So without further ado, let’s crack on and have a look at Sue’s writing space. Over to you, Sue.
I have moved house several times recently and my writing spot has changed each time but, despite my best efforts, it consistently reverts to the kitchen table. I did have a lovely summer house at my old house and I envisaged spending my days in there writing away to my heart’s content. However, I hadn’t factored in teenage children who would see it as an ideal hang out.
I then managed to get myself a nice little desk which I thought would be ideal in the sitting room. The children could have the summer house and the family room/kitchen and I could shut myself away. This time, I hadn’t allowed for my husband thinking the wall above would be an ideal place to hang the TV.
Our most recent move has seen me once again at the kitchen table which I’ve tried to break up with stints in the garden and at the local coffee shop. However, a couple of weeks ago my husband came home and announced he was building me a writing room! So, at the moment, although I am still at the kitchen table, the writing room is beginning to take shape.
My most favourite place to write though is at our cottage in France. We have been gradually renovating it and I have a little spot on the landing overlooking the fields earmarked as my perfect writing place. The busiest our lane gets is when the cows trundle back and forth to the fields. However, while I’m waiting for that to be finished, you can usually find me … where else but at the kitchen table!
How lovely. A writing space in France. Thanks so much for joining us Sue and for sharing your writing rooms with us. You can connect with Sue at her blog by going here and you can find all her brilliant books here on Amazon.
Today I am thrilled to welcome the very glamorous, chic, and multi talented Sue Watson to the writing room (and yes, she paid me very well to say those things.) Sue currently has a new novel out and it is FAB (she didn’t pay me to say that) It’s titled ‘We’ll Always Have Paris’ and if you love a good romance then this is one for you. You can buy this fabulous book here So without further ado I will hand you over to Sue who will tell you all about her writing space … or more importantly about her washing machine, cats and chocolate. It’s all good.
Where I Write by Sue Watson
I wrote my first novel, ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,’ on the kitchen table because I felt closer to my heroine, a curvy woman with a passion for cake (any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.) As the novel also includes recipes there was always a batch of fairy cakes in the oven while I wrote – and I found delectable waft of vanilla and warm chocolate helped my creative juices flow.
When I began writing ‘Love, lies and Lemon Cake,’ I came over all ‘Virginia Woolf and demanded ‘a room of one’s own.’ I longed to wallow in the worlds I created and I couldn’t do that in a kitchen while the washer whirred, kids yelled and cats meowed for food. So I turned the spare room into a ‘writer’s loft.’ When I say ‘writer’s loft,’ it was a box-room with a desk and a lamp covered with a scarf (my futile attempt at Bohemia in a Barratt Home) but a girl can dream. I kept telling everyone I ‘have to be alone,’ and would ‘swish upstairs Greta Garbo style, but the family (and even the cats!) respected my wishes, and didn’t disturb me – but I hated it! Every time I heard laughter or smelled toast, I was drawn back downstairs to the noisy bosom of my family, and any thought of writing was lost in the lure of kit kats and Coronation Street. So I moved back downstairs and positioned myself on the sofa where I could write, eat chocolate, stroke cats, bark orders and watch TV – all at the same time.
But my multitasking literary haven didn’t last. Harry, one of the cats just loves sitting on my knee – even if there’s a laptop there – and in his eagerness to be fussed, he managed to erase much of my work on a regular basis. Perhaps he was just doing a brutal edit, but I didn’t appreciate his contribution. The cats are actually very supportive of my writing, and Harry is often seen on Twitter and FaceBook promoting my books – but his paws on the keyboard is a whole other story! So my husband suggested a compromise; ‘proper’ desk, back in the kitchen where I could look out onto the garden, make toast, feed cats, put a wash on, procrastinate and do all those other glamorous things us writers do all day.
And so… my ‘writing room’ was born. It’s pink and black, has a swivel chair (my daughter likes to ‘race’ on) and I have lots of cupboards to hide my stashes of counterfeit cake and chocolate (I’m not a sharer). Yes it’s untidy, but I know where everything is and that’s all that matters. I wrote my latest book ‘We’ll Always have Paris,’ imagining the majestic Eiffel tower, and the Seine at sunset while the cats meowed, the washer whirred and people asked where their clean socks/sports kit /keys/were.
Virginia Woolf would be horrified..
To connect with the multi talented, gorgeous Sue Watson, contact her at her blog here
Today in the writing room please welcome my stepdaughter, the very talented, Naomi Cook. Naomi is about to release her first book. So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Naomi for an insight into her writing space in Northern Sydney Australia. Our rooms may be on the opposite side of the world but it seems we both burn the same fragrances to inspire us. Over to you Naomi …
‘Um, just so you know, my writing space is sacred,’I warned hubby. Do not leave even a crumb behind. Scowling in disbelief he looked up from the printer. He was printing out his ‘goddamn flight itinerary woman – not moving in!’ (OK, he didn’t quite say that…) nevertheless, the printer is in my writing cubby – the sanctity of which must be fully appreciated and respected at all times, says I.
After years of writing on the chaotic, always grubby dining room table in-between half completed kiddy scribbles and greasy left over breakfast crusts I now have the luxury of my own writing space and I love every minute being in it. And I have no intention of sharing it, either.
We moved house two months ago, from a city high rise apartment in Bondi Junction to a beautiful house in a more bushy environs in northern Sydney…we have a creek running alongside our property (which seemed like a good idea until it nearly flooded us two weeks ago) and enormous gum trees towering over our street (they nearly uprooted, nearly crushing our roof in the storm). There is incredible bird and insect life in our long green, tree lined back garden (Hooray! Only one deadly funnel web spider cited so far!!) with a turquoise sparkling swimming pool that dances watery lines over our kitchen ceiling in the afternoons (you can’t swim in it, you risk lapsing into unconsciousness with hypothermia – I’m not lying.)
Why is this important I hear you ask? For me, my writing space extends beyond my sacred cubby hole upstairs – it’s sanctity is conjoined to not only the house but garden too. Now I write from paradise: I feel it as I’m driving back from the school drop off – being surrounded by so many trees puts me into a peaceful state before I even arrive back at our lovely new home. But then, when indoors, the feeling of peace and inspiration deepens as I hover by the Nespresso machine in the kitchen as it clug-clugs-clugs out my second coffee.
Now, back to my sacred writing space. Importantly, what is in it?
Crystals – I have an enormous and (still growing – this is how I spend my pocket money) collection of crystals. I have these all around me while I work. They definitely contribute to the beautiful energy in my work space – my daughters are also irresistibly drawn to my writing space, and I blame the crystals… er I mean, I reckon they are also drawn to them and OF course I welcome my darling Kiddos into my space. Most of the time. The pink Himalayan salt lamp and unscented honey candles also add negative ions which must surely contribute to its ‘sanctity’?
Smell – I love mind clearing, traditionally sacred smells – so I diffuse the purest aromatherapy oils I can get my hands on while I work. DoTerra’s Frankincense and Clary Sage are my favourites although last weekend I did enjoy a touch of Myrrh and Ylang Ylang.
Nature – you know the back ground to the new house and therefore new writing space – not only can I see and hear the creek and surrounding trees rustle in front of my window but I also bring nature to my desk. I love mini orchids as they are so easy to look after and bloom for so long. Perfectly delicate and beautiful – their innocence uplifts me.
Pictures – it’s only been two months and so I haven’t had a chance to plaster the walls with cool things yet but I do like being surrounded by the bold pictures of my recent creation “The Little Bush Nurse” series. Book one is currently on proud display.
Music – music is imperative to my inspiration! Yet sometimes I find I’m so bursting to write it gets to midday before I’ve noticed I’ve forgotten to turn it on! I’ll sometimes listen to pop, but often meditative reiki/healing music because I’m almost a hippy now.
Meditation – I try to meditate every day when the girls are at school. It not only helps to centre my thoughts inspiring me to write but also stills me. Those who have known me for a long time will know that I have a tremendous amount of energy (my mum describes it as supernatural), energy is good but a chaotic, messy mind – not so much. Meditation, in my beautiful writing space helps me to be still enough to focus on what needs to be written.
Snuggles with the animals – It is always my intent to have a snuggle or two during the day. Sometimes it happens: Enter the four piggies, Florence, Charlotte, Chocolate and Thunderbella PLUS Sunny, the Funny Bunny. Even if I don’t get a chance to snuggle because I’m so inspired and hounding the keyboard like a maniac I will nevertheless talk to the pets as I walk by, in tones that assume they understand every word I’m saying: ‘Where did the morning go?’ and ‘Time for a second coffee, don’t you think?’
So what do I write about in my sacred space?
You may know me as Nurse Naomi (www.nursenaomi.com), where I blog about my mainstream vs alternative journey to health and wellness as I ‘unlearn’ …writing previously about germs and flu to now even encompassing spiritual wellness and soul health on the blog! The past tumultuous two years with my daughter’s illness have inspired most of what I now write – and the memoir is already being drafted.
I also write children’s books and have authored and published under ‘Nurse Naomi Press’ the first book of my Aussie themed, health and wellness children’s series ‘The Little Bush Nurse’ (see www.thelittlebushnurse.com for more details on this!).
Well thank you for stopping to have a look around my writing cubby. I thought I should finish off with some intelligent, elegant selfies of me in my writing room, to fully complete the picture. Ta daaa!
Today I am welcoming my lovely author friend, Sue Guiney to the writing room. I first read Sue’s brilliant book ‘A Clash of Innocents’ on my return from Cambodia. It was my first trip there and I adored Siem Reap. I had no idea who Sue Guiney was but by the time I had finished the book I knew I wanted to. I contacted her through her web page and we arranged to meet. We have been firm friends ever since. We have met up twice in Cambodia and it has always been lovely. We have a shared love of that beautiful country. So, I am delighted to welcome her back to my blog to share her writing space with us. So without further ado, let’s crack on. Over to you Sue …
In the Writing Room with Me, Sue Guiney
I’m looking around and already I can hear a deep sigh coming from somewhere near my heart, or is it my lungs. Anyway, you get the picture. Why? Because I’m thinking how nice it would be to have a Writing Room. I have an office, to be sure. I have a computer, a bookshelf full of resource materials, novels and poetry collections, I have a bulletin board with inspirational quotes. I’m surrounded by everything that reminds me, in my darkest hours, that I am, indeed, a writer. But this same space is full of other things as well – filing cabinets full of paperwork, piles of strategy plans and to-do lists, notes for fundraising proposals, boxes of ‘magic pencils’. All the things that remind me I am also the Founder and CEO of an educational charity, Writing Through, which takes up even more of my time these days than my writing does.
Writing Through http://writingthrough.org develops conceptual thought, literacy and self-esteem in at-risk populations throughout SE Asia via bespoke creative writing workshops. Don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly proud of this part of my working life. I find running this organization and these workshops among the most creative acts I have ever done. But still – a writing room completely dedicated to my novels and poetry…..ah, that would be wonderful.
Happily, though, my present writing projects and my NGO are all set in the same part of the world, and so as I sit here I am surrounded by beautiful photos from Cambodia. There are 3 behind me of the inspirational faces from the Bayon Temple near Angkor Wat. There is a framed rubbing of a traditional Apsara dancer like you would see on the friezes adorning Cambodia’s Angkor temples. There are also two beautiful photos taken by former students of mine from the educational shelter, Anjali House, in Siem Reap. And on the bulletin board in front of me, among the post-it notes and spreadsheets, is a large map of Cambodia itself, with bright reds and greens, on yellowing paper. Cambodia is where my heart rests these days, and so it is also the source of much of my inspiration.
Right now I am in the middle of the first draft of my next novel, which is the final novel of the trilogy portraying a family of characters I have created living their difficult lives in today’s Cambodia. In a series of Black n’ Red notebooks I write my novels longhand and then use the act of typing them into my computer as the first edit. It’s a long process, but it works for me. The first novel of my trilogy is A Clash of Innocents, and introduces the American woman, Deborah, and her family of orphans living in a corner of Phnom Penh. The second, Out of the Ruins, follows some of those characters into Siem Reap as they face the challenges of health care and the sex trade. And my WIP? Without giving too much away, I can say it will take us throughout a greater area of the country, following Deborah and some of her grown children as they pursue their own senses of purpose against the backdrop of political turmoil. I’m really excited about writing this. Finding the time to do it is the key.
The other pull on my time is my next poetry collection, which groups together poems around the ideas of being an outsider, distance and closeness, belonging. The centrepoint of the collection will be a series of poems growing out of my Cambodian experiences. This is something that my publisher has urged me to do, and I’m very glad she did. I’m enjoying writing these poems – again by hand – immensely. So far there are 35 of them. That’s a lot. But a full collection needs about 60 poems at least, and so I still have a way to go.
So, I have to admit, much of the time I feel pretty schizophrenic. Am I a novelist? Am I a poet? Am I a teacher or a CEO? And my writing room definitely reflects this schizophrenia. But really, despite the moaning, I wouldn’t have it any other way. How lucky am I to have so much work that I’m passionate about, that I love doing so much, even when it overwhelms me, that takes me to amazing places I never dreamt I’d see and meet people, like you Lynda, who endlessly feed me with your own talents and passions? And how lucky I am to have a writing room at all, although two would be better!
Thanks for having me here! I look forward to reading what your other guests say, not to mention reading your latest, Perfect Weddings, which is sitting there waiting for me on my kindle. T
Thank you so much Sue, I hope you enjoy Perfect Weddings. You can connect with Sue at her blog. Link below. Also on Facebook. All Sue’s books are on Amazon and I greatly recommend them. Go here for more
A huge welcome to Jon Rance and huge congratulations too, for Jon’s book ‘This Thirty Something’ (which is a fab read by the way) is Amazon’s featured deal today and is just 99p. This is a real bargain as its RRP is £4.99. So make sure you get yours.
Welcome to the writing room, Jon and congratulations. Meanwhile, before you get too excited, please share your writing space with us.
‘Hello Lynda and welcome to my writing room. I’d like to start off by saying that the term ‘room’ is used very loosely in this article. Technically yes it is a room and writing does occur within it, but writing also occurs in other settings around my house. I don’t want to go into it in great detail, but to be put it bluntly, I write wherever I find a moments peace and quiet. It could literally be anywhere. So before I introduce my own writing ‘room’ I’d like to show you the sort of place I’d love to call my writing room.
So something like this would be nice. A small shed. It has an outside seating area for lunch on a nice day. It’s clean, clutter free, and would fit snugly at the bottom of the garden. I’ve always fancied a writing shed and this would be ideal. I’d like to think it’s hooked up to the electric and I’d have a kettle to make tea because after all, a writer without a steady stream of tea is just a person sitting in a shed.
For an indoor space something like this would be perfect. A lovely big desk, shelves for books, a beautiful view out of the window, and maybe even the dog. I don’t need the dog, but he’s a cute little guy. I’m a bit of a neat freak and this is nicely ordered and would definitely do. Perhaps a comfier chair might be in order with my back.
So now I’ve given you an idea of the sort of place I’d love to have as a writing room, l suppose it’s time to share my actual writing ‘room’. I’ve never had an office. We’re hoping to move house in the next couple of years and there’s been tentative talk of an office space. I’m hoping for something like the above room or a perfect little shed, but in the meantime I have to make do with this.
It’s a chair. Admittedly a very comfortable chair and I have the Union Jack pillow, which I love, and the throw if it’s a bit chilly, and my Starbucks London mug fits perfectly on the armrest. This is where I write most of my work. I do pop to cafes, bookshops, sit on my bed, on the kid’s’ bedroom floor, and stand up in the kitchen when the mood takes me. The world is literally my writing room and I’ve got used to it. Of course I’d love a proper writing room (or shed) and hopefully one day it will happen. Until then I’ll keep sitting in my chair trying not to fall asleep because it is super comfortable!
Thank you Jon Don’t forget Jon’s book ‘This Thirty Something’ is 99p for today only! Get it here
You can connect with Jon by clicking the following links.
A very warm welcome to Maggie Cammiss who is in the writing room today. Maggie is the author of ‘No News is Good News’
Thanks to Maggie, I just ordered William Boyd’s ‘Any Human Heart’ So, if her piece inspired me to buy a book just think what it may do for you. So, without further ado, over to you Maggie. Share your writing room with us …
‘I’m lucky to have a study to write in, and a door that I can close when necessary. It’s got all the usual accouterments – a desk with PC, a filing cabinet and printer and a bookcase full of how-to books (some more useful than others), the usual range of literary reference books and several style manuals. There’s also a large collection of back issues of Writing Magazine and numerous files full of writing ideas, rough drafts, manuscripts and old notebooks that I can’t bear to throw away.
It’s close to the kitchen, for those all-important and life-sustaining cups of tea and biscuits. I have the radio in the kitchen twittering away to itself all day, so I can hear the music without it disturbing my flow. I try not to keep a lot of stuff in my writing room – too much distraction is not good for my concentration – but I have a passion for stationery and writing accouterments and have a stash of good writing paper that will probably never get used. I am very easily diverted and for this reason I face the wall, not the window, when I’m writing.
I sometimes write longhand in the conservatory, with the Mont Blanc pen I wrote the whole first draft of my first novel with. The association inspires me, or so I like to think. This is a lovely, bright and airy room, but it gets very warm during the summer and it’s easy to fall asleep when I should be writing. I thought I was being clever when we first moved into the house, and put my overflow bookcases in here. Alas, the sun did its damage immediately, and many of the spines of the books were bleached white over the course of one summer. The water can was painted my late father who was a talented artist and master sign writer. He was descended from people who lived on the water and he decorated many items in traditional canal-ware designs.
There’s no rhyme or reason to why I keep these particular books; most of the fiction went to the charity shop before we moved here. I don’t have a sentimental attachment to many though some, like the Robertson Davies trilogies, made such a huge impression on me that they just had to stay. These days I take unwanted books to charity shops or press them onto visitors if they so much as glance in their direction. I stopped lending books a long time ago because they rarely return, so now I consider all loans as gifts and buy new copies if I want to keep them. I’ve bought four copies of William Boyd’s Any Human Heart because I want everyone to read it.’
Thanks for joining us ‘In the Writing Room with …’ Maggie. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. You can connect with Maggie at her blog at the link below. Or join her on Facebook and Twitter. You can buy Maggie’s book here
Ooh that’s me isn’t it?
So, here is a peek inside my writing space. As you can see I like to change the covers on the sofa from time to time. This room was designed with me in mind when we had our extension. I call it The Beach Hut but it is becoming more vintage by the minute. I can’t write at a desk so I have a couch and often share it with Bendy the cat. I have all the things I love around me and it is my favourite room in the whole house.
This shelf is special.
It has a photo of my parents when they were young and two smaller photos of them in antique frames which I adore. I have pictures that I like and candle holders, mostly antique silver ones and of course my favourite Pearl Lowe candle which smells of divine Orange blossom. I also have a photo of my lovely kids in Cambodia on the wall. I’ve been given many precious gifts too which are each side of my Cambodian candle holder. I have my Crazy cat Lady plaque which a friend bought me and ‘Careful you’ll end up my novel’ which my friend Suz (bookshelf book reviewer) gave me. I have protection bottles and wish bottles. All gifts and much loved. I’m sure these all help to inspire me.
I also have photos of my family, a beautiful painting by my friend Honey Khor, family photos and a candle holder given by a friend. I’m blessed with friends who send me beautiful things. And of course I also have my lovely smellies and an oil burner and a box of Cowshed Moody cow candles which smell like rain on grass. Wonderful. And if I get lonely Bendy is often outside the door waiting to come in.
So, in this room I am currently writing the second in the series of The Little Perran novels. The first one ‘A Christmas Romance’ is available and you can meet the villagers for the first time. It doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy it. The second one is a bit racier. But lovely and the hunk is gorgeous. I’ve already fallen it love with him. You can get ‘A Christmas Romance’ here. Also ‘Perfect Weddings’ is currently 99 and riding high in the charts. So don’t miss it. Get it here Thanks for joining me in my writing room. Another author coming soon.
I’m delighted to invite my good friend Katie Oliver to ‘In the Writing room with …’ Katie is the very talented author of the DATING MR DARCY/MARRYING MR DARCY BOOKS:
Katie Oliver loves romantic comedies, characters who “meet cute,” Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in South Florida with her husband, two parakeets, and a dog.
Katie’s been writing since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it. With her sons grown and gone, she decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories. She even finishes most of them. You can read these book by following the links below.
DATING MR DARCY/MARRYING MR DARCY BOOKS:
Amazon Author Page US: http://www.amazon.com/author/katieoliver
Amazon Author Page UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Katie-Oliver/e/B00HGQ93VS
I’m very excited to see where these fabulous romances are written. If you haven’t ready of them, why not? They’re truly adfab. So without further ado over to you Katie, tell us where it all happens.
Where I Write
When I started writing, many moons ago, I used a typewriter. I bought myself a little blue Smith Corona with my babysitting money, along with a typewriter ribbon and a ream of paper, and I was in business. Never mind that the ‘e’ looked like a blob on the page or the ‘y’ always stuck; I was proud of that typewriter. I’d clack away at the keys, imagining I was a hardened journalist like Mr Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore show, or Superman’s Jimmy Olsen meeting a story deadline in the Daily Planet’s newsroom. I took a typing class and practiced until I could type 70 words a minute (well, okay…45 words a minute without any mistakes). I typed the manuscript for my first book on that old Smith Corona. It was a ghost story, amateurish and far-fetched and riddled with mistakes, and I don’t even remember what I called it; but it got me started on the road to writer-dom.
My first ‘desk’ when I started writing in earnest was…a tea table. Not much surface space, barely room for my laptop, but I made it work. I wrote my first book (Prada and Prejudice) on that table, and the kitchen table, and (please don’t tell my boss) on my desk at work. What can I say? There wasn’t much to do and I so I worked instead on my own stuff – specifically, my first novel.
I’m in good company when it comes to such things. Fashion designer Henry Holland got started doing work experience at a British teen magazine and eventually became a fashion editor for Bliss. He made his slogan t-shirts on the side and used the post room at the magazine to ship them out. While I didn’t write on the job if there was actual work to do, when there wasn’t, I took steps to get where I wanted to be – specifically, I wrote my book in order to become a published author.
If I hadn’t worked on my novel on the job – if I’d ‘played by the rules’ and cleaned out the supply cabinet in my free time instead, or practiced setting up spreadsheets – when our contract eventually ended, I would’ve had nothing to fall back on. I would’ve been unemployed and out of work. Instead, I saw the writing on the wall (so to speak) and got cracking on penning my book…and I found a whole new career for myself in the process.
Rules, as they say, are made to be broken.
By the time I signed my first book deal and began writing the second and third ‘Dating Mr Darcy’ books, I’d moved up in the world to a real, actual DESK. It was black, from Target, with a long single drawer and room for my laptop, a jar of pens, and my revision notes. I even had a rolling desk chair. Heaven.
I wrote the next three ‘Marrying Mr Darcy’ books at that desk. And it was good. But I soon needed more drawer space. And I wanted more desktop acreage. So I gave it away and bought a third desk, and wrote my next series – The Jane Austen Factor – while sitting there. And it was again (mostly) good. But somehow, between the revision notes, mounting piles of giveaway items like bookmarks and a stack of signed paperbacks, printouts of guest blog posts and other assorted whatnots, I’d run out of room…again.
So I reclaimed the first piece of furniture my husband and I bought as a newly married – our Pennsylvania House writing desk. It was Mr Oliver’s bill-paying command central for years; then it became my mom’s; now it’s ours once again. Or, to be exact, it’s mine again.
It’s large; it’s elegant; and it’s very much a ‘chic-writer-who-takes-off-an-earring-to-answer-the-phone’ kind of a desk. (Never mind that I’m not at ALL that kind of a writer.) I have plenty of room for writing, for my laptop, and for other writerly stuff.
So, there you are – I have no more excuses, and nothing to hold me back. It’s time I got started on that new book now, I think…
So Katie, can we have a peek preview of your latest book Who Needs Mr Willoughby?
Katie: Of course, here you go.
Who should rule – your head or your heart?
When sisters Marianne and Elinor Dashwood are forced to leave their family home to live in a rural Northumberland cottage, Marianne is convinced her social life is over. Somehow, she can’t see kitten heels coping well in the countryside – and being stuck in the middle of nowhere, miles from London, sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry. Not to mention her arrogant new boss, Dr Brandon, who doesn’t seem to think much of her city ways.
When she meets the gallant, charming and handsome Mr Willoughby, Marianne begins to think that country life might not be so bad after all…especially when he suggests that marriage might be on the cards. But the countryside still has a few tricks up its sleeve for Marianne…after all, love rarely blossoms in the most convenient places!
Thanks so much for that fascinating insight Katie. And you can connect with Katie by following the links below. So until next time, have fun with the books.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter
Carina UK/Pink Ink blog/website – https://pinkinkladies.wordpress.com
Welcome to ‘In the Writing Room.’ Today I have award winning author Sue Moorcroft joining us.
I love reading about other author’s writing space. Especially what they have in there and why it is so important to them.
So let’s crack on. Welcome to ‘In the Writing Room,’ Sue. Please tell us all about yours.
‘I write in my study. It’s upstairs on the back of the house and about 8’x10’. I sit at a big desk that’s become rather battle scarred – I once sprayed it with oven cleaner instead of furniture polish and I’ve put printer cartridges down on it that have maliciously leaked. The desk faces the wall so I don’t gaze out at the garden all day instead of working.
I have a lot of photos of my family around, three bookcases and all today’s communication must-haves such as a printer/fax/scanner/copier and a phone. The topmost shelf-and-a-bit of one of the bookcases is filled with books I’ve written and anthologies and magazines to which I’ve contributed. When I’m wondering whether my work in progress will ever actually be worth publishing I can be reassured by this evidence that I’ve done it before. Or maybe I’m just a big show off …
A recent improvement to my study is that my beloved iMac is now on an arm instead of on a stand. This means that I can shove it up in the air, out of the way, while I lean on the desk to write longhand, which I do when I’m in the planning stages of a book, or even a knotty scene. (I can also hide my porridge bowl and tea cup behind it while I take this photo.) The improvement has freed up a surprising amount of space and means I can get the screen at exactly the right height and angle for whatever I’m doing or however I choose to sit. Beneath the desk is a footstool and a foot muff in the shape of a lion’s head, which my son bought me one Christmas. His dog occasionally tries to pick a fight with the lion but so far I’ve been able to avert disaster.
I’ve also commandeered another desk in another room where I work if I want to plan something on a larger scale. There’s a handy wall for sticky notes nearby and I can wander around the room tsking and sighing and trying to get the notes in the right order or stapling reams of paper together across the desk to try and make sense of an emerging plot.
I would be fibbing if I said my study is tidy. Sometimes my desktop is my in-tray and sometimes the floor is (the in-tray itself seems to be for less urgent things) and there are a lot of other trays, shelves, drawers and cabinets. But I always know where everything is.
OK … almost always.
Thanks so much Sue. It was a fascinating insight into yet another author’s writing space.
Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards and Darcie’s Dilemma for Readers’ Best Short Romance. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.
Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.
Sue’s next book: The Christmas Promise
You can connect with Sue by following the links below.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor
Take Five Authors: https://takefiveauthors.wordpress.com
Today we are in the writing room with the author Lizzie Lamb.
Lizzie is well known for her Scottish hunky heart throbs. An even more interesting fact about Lizzie is that she has more than one writing room. How decadent is that? Lizzie has a travelling writing room. I asked Lizzie to tell us more about this portable writing room of hers. So without further ado, over to Lizzie and her writing room number 2
Have caravan. Will travel
I have written many blog posts about how I pursued the dream of becoming a writer, co-founded New Romantics Press and published my books on Amazon (paperback and kindle)
Little did I know I was missing one vital piece of equipment – a caravan. It would become my travelling study/writing room/research hub and, as an added bonus, we could take our Hahn’s Macaw, Jasper, along with us. Much easier than trying to organise a parrot sitter. So, in 2014 we bought a two-berth ‘Leda’ off eBay to determine if the camping life really was compatible with being a writer. We weren’t complete camping novices – during the late 70’s we’d travelled through Europe to Athens, staying in a very basic two-man tent and roughing it. We figured that compared to sleeping under canvas, a caravan would be the height of luxury. And I could plug in my computer, too. Our first foray was to Bo Peep Campsite, Oxfordshire, in order to check that the caravan was road worthy and to discover if we enjoyed the experience before we took a longer trip to Scotland. We loved it so much that upon our return we bought a slightly bigger caravan off eBay, for £1200, and a more powerful vehicle with which to tow it. Mark #2 has a dinette; somewhere where I can leave my computer set up, spend a couple of hours writing each morning and then go off exploring pubs and tea rooms in the afternoon. I call it research, you call it what you like!
In September 2014 we embarked upon a much longer research trip Scotland, checking out places I’d written about in SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS (published July 2015) which went on to become #1 best seller in its genre. I wanted to see first-hand where the USS Proteus had been anchored in Holy Loch, servicing nuclear subs in the early sixties. Vital details in my novel; details I had to get it right. It was in Holy Loch at Hunter’s Quay where some of the most voluble anti-nuclear protests took place. It’s there that the heroine’s aunt is hosed off the deck of the USS Proteus, and sets in motion a chain of events which have repercussions in the present day.
It was on the side of Holy Loch that I found my perfect writers’ retreat. (see photo) In an ideal world, I’d buy the house and spend most of my summers there with husband and parrot – just as well we have our caravan as back up; much cheaper!
The 350 mile drive to Scotland is a long one, especially if you’re towing a caravan, but this hasn’t deterred us. In June 2015 we returned, driving all the way up to Ballachulish, and then on to the Kyle of Lochalsh and over the sea, I mean bridge, to Skye. The setting is idyllic and my heart swelled because my feet were on Scottish soil, my own country; one I had left when I was eleven years old, but which forever remains in my heart.
In fact, our trip with my mobile writing room was so inspiring that the plot for my next Scottish-themed novel – THIS HIGHLAND MAGIC – came to me whilst exploring Castle Stalker, Appin.
I do have a ‘proper writing room’ at home which I refer to as my ‘study’. This room was used as a second sitting room when we bought our house and is reached through the conservatory and looks directly onto the garden through its own set of French doors. It’s book-lined, as you would expect, but it also has everything a writer could need – internet connection, iPhone docking system for playing music, three printers, filing cabinets, room for box files etc., its own coffee machine and is centrally heated. It feels like a place where serious writing (and daydreaming) takes place; somewhere where I can switch off the pc at the end of the day but can get straight down to work the next morning because everything will be just as I left it. It’s very tidy and organised and I love it. my husband knows better than to go in there without permission to borrow post its, sticky pads or pens, without written permission. Only kidding (but only JUST kidding).
This summer we’re off to Scotland again for further research for novel #5 which I hope to set in Edinburgh and begin next year.
Thanks so much for joining us Lizzie and sharing your unusual Writing space.
You can obtain Lizzie Lamb’s books by clicking the following links
Scotch on the Rocks – a contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland
Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes – November 2013
Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen – 2012
Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology (quick plug, it also features me Lynda Renham)
You can connect with Lizzie by following the links below
Newsletter – http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016
Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/
For last two years, my writing room was a tiny little box room at the front of our house but now I have a much larger room, but, I’m embarrassed to say, it still isn’t finished. For a start, it hasn’t been decorated since the day we moved in, so it still has a rather fetching magnolia-painted woodchip on the walls. Secondly, all my lovely pictures and wall hangings and signs still haven’t been hung. They’re sort of dotted around the place, looking a bit fed up and lost. My whiteboard and pinboard are squashed into a cupboard, waiting for someone to rescue them. So it’s still a bit chaotic and disorganised.
Of course, you won’t see that in these pictures (hopefully!) because I’ve very carefully angled them so that all the mess and chaos is well out of shot. What you can see, however, because I thought I’d be honest and show you, is the delightful wall art that my four-year-old granddaughter, Amelia, recently presented me with. My highlighters and whiteboard pens were obviously too much of a temptation for her, so she decided to do a Banksy and left me with the evidence of her artistic talents. Although, I think she’s more Rachel Riley than Michelangelo, judging by her obvious love for numbers. If you squint very hard, you might just make out a little bit of orange pen among the blue. That was twenty-two month old Clara’s contribution. Their contrite, and highly embarrassed dad, bought a tin of paint to cover it, and we will get round to doing something about it. Soon. One day.
As you can see, I have lots of books, although this isn’t all of them. There’s another bookcase downstairs. I reluctantly sent a few boxes of books to a charity shop a few years ago, and nearly had a nervous breakdown when I discovered that I’d accidentally sent the boxes containing my absolute favourites instead. All my Jilly Coopers, Fiona Walkers, Jo Carnegies, and plenty of others, including lots of old pony books from childhood, and my nineteenth-century classics, which I’d bought to study for the Open University and which, believe it or not, I really loved. I have even more books on my Kindle. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never have the time to read all the books I own, even though that knowledge doesn’t stop me buying more.
On my desk you can see a tiny figure of an angel, and a tiny figure of the Eleventh Doctor. The angel because—well, everyone needs an angel, don’t they? The Doctor because I love Doctor Who—the Eleventh Doctor, especially. So there.
Hanging from my door is Alice the witch, which DH bought me in Whitby. She’s been with me for many years, and she’s hung from quite a few doors in that time, bless her. Beside my printer is a moongazing hare desk calendar, which DH bought me for Christmas, and a wall hanging which my daughter brought me from Kenya. Then there’s my old Pony Club annuals, and the book in the cellophane is a copy of the Complete Sherlock Holmes, cleverly folded so that the pages spell MUM. It was a present from my eldest son (he with the artistic daughters).
Of course, one day I’ll live in the country and have a pretty cottage, with a writing room that has views over rolling hills and meadows. Right now, the view is of a row of houses and next door’s garage. Not very inspiring. Also, I’ll have antique, solid wood furniture, instead of flatpack stuff from Argos and Very. One day. Hmm.
On my old computer desk is a vast collection of old copies of Writing Magazine, Writers’ Forum and Romance Matters. There are also some files which contain all my family history research. The big envelopes and pink box file contain first drafts of what became There Must Be an Angel and A Kiss from a Rose, and also the copies which went off to the RNA, to be critiqued as part of their New Writers’ Scheme. The hare was a gift from my daughter and daughter-in-law, in honour of The Hare and Moon pub, which features in my Kearton Bay books. There is also a photo of my lovely dad, who sadly died nearly twenty-two years ago, aged just fifty-five. I bought the little woollen sheep at the gift shop in the Kearton Country Hotel in Thwaite, Swaledale. The Keartons were my ancestors, and I’ve remembered them in my Kearton Bay books, and also set my latest book, This Other Eden, in the fictional Skimmerdale in the Yorkshire Dales, which is based on Swaledale.
Which cleverly brings me to the link. If you’d like to buy This Other Eden, which was published on 5th April here
You can find out more about me at http://sharonbooth.co.uk
Like my page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer/
Or follow me on Twitter: @Sharon_Booth1
To celebrate the release of my new novel ‘Perfect Weddings’ I thought I would set up a page featuring other authors and ask them the question I’ve always wanted to ask my favourite authors. What is your writing room like?
This week I’m featuring the author Amy Lynch.
So without further ado, let’s go into the writing room with Amy.
Thank you so much for sharing your writing room/space with us Amy. We’re all interested to hear about your writing space … Fire away.
It occurred to me recently that it doesn’t matter how many children you have, or how big your laundry pile is, or what kind of pressures you face at work. If you really want to write, you’ll make time…and space.
I’d love to say that I’ve transformed my spare bedroom into an idyllic and tranquil writing space, desk nestled between antique books and a poster reminding me to breathe deeply. That’s simply not the case. In fact, my spare bedroom is like an episode of Hoarders – an ironing board and some random socks. I’ll share a little secret with you: I write whenever and wherever I can. It might seem odd, but when the children sit down to watch a movie, or when I find myself on a long train journey, that’s my chance.
Last year, I was whipping myself to get my second book finished. It was lashing rain, and my two kids were restless.
‘Right,’ I announced. ‘We’re going to the play centre.’
Now, I know what you’re thinking: isn’t it noisy there?
Why yes, yes it is. We’re talking about a bunch of kids with pent up energy in a soft play centre on a rainy day, here. The trick is to zone out. Oh, and drink copious amounts of coffee.
‘OK, kids. Run free.’
They exchanged glances.
Two hours later, the children returned to my table. One was thirsty and the other needed the bathroom. I had written two thousand words.
One day, of course, when I’m rich and famous, it will be a very different story. By then, the bestsellers will have paid off the mortgage, and I’ll have so much home help that the only job I’ll need to worry about is writing that next classic. There will be no lunchbox distractions or laundry procrastinations. Just me, and the laptop on a marble coffee table.We will see if the silence is deafening…
Thank you Amy. I think some pointers on how to zone out would be welcome by me 🙂
Amy’s debut novel published by Harper Collins Bride Without a Groom is available across the UK and on Amazon. http://goo.gl/xIcAiO
Her second novel is due in 2016 and her third is in progress.
If you would like to part ‘In the Writing Room with …’ then do contact me.
Much love Lynda x