This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Fiona Valpy is the author of The French For Love, which will be published in July and reviewed here soon. Today we're going to have a peak at her writing room, or at least the beautiful place where she writes. Over to you, Fiona…
Five years ago we moved to Aquitaine, in the south-west of France, and bought a tumbledown farmhouse in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region. It’s been a challenge at times, adapting to a new language and culture but, like Gina, my heroine in The French for Love, we have been absorbed into a wonderfully colourful community here and I‘ve found that I love living in the depths of the country. Village life is never dull! And of course the excellent wine helps too.
In the summer we live outdoors as much as possible. We’ve created a number of different terraces and sitting areas, to allow people to find their own space: shady or in full sun (for Vitamin D-starved guests from the north), quiet or sociable, poolside or gazing out over plum orchards and vines. My favourite summer writing spot is this gazebo, draped in clematis, wisteria and roses, which gets the sun in the cool of the morning and becomes shadier as the sun moves round during the day. Note the coffee and cake on the table, essential writing fuel.
In the winter it’s another matter altogether. Even though we’ve waged a war on draughts over the past five years (when we first moved in the wind, rain and snails used to find their way under the sizeable gaps beneath the front door) tumbledown farmhouses can be chilly. My winter writing room is the warmest in the house: the kitchen. As close as possible to the wood-burning stove. And even handier for the coffee and cake.
It’s easier to find the time to write in the winter too. The summer can get pretty hectic with hordes of visitors and it’s harder to keep to a routine, so I have to snatch the time to write wherever I can (or set the alarm clock for an un-godly hour). But in the winter I split my time between my writing and teaching yoga to the die-hards who live here all year round. It’s a good balance; writing is solitary work and I tend to get completely absorbed in the world I’ve created for my characters, whereas the yoga classes are very sociable and bring me back to reality, keeping me grounded.
Until our move to France, I’d always lived in cities. In the country I find I’m much more attuned to the changing seasons, which have such an impact on how we live from day to day.