My writing room is a bit whimsical I suppose, because I live in a very modern house, which isn’t yet five years old. And yet, when I finally got my own writing room, I just decided to make it the room that I wanted, my space for me. So I painted it dark red, added some over the top baroque wallpaper, a claret crystal chandelier, red silk curtains and an antique chaise longue to match! The walls are lined with books and photos of my family, and over my desk hangs a painting I bought a few years ago, by artist Yvonne Coomber, which I never get bored of looking at.
I have a floor to ceiling window, which I like, because I like to have a lot of light to write by, and a burr walnut desk and fancy old sea captain’s chair to sit in. On my desk is an old 1930s typewriter that my husband bought for my birthday a few years back. I love it a lot, but I can’t use it too much as I can’t replace the ribbon.
I like to look at photos of my family while I am writing, it keeps me motivated, and inspires me. I also like to see sky, although not blue sky, because then I’ll just want to go out and that would be no good at all. I quite like it when the neighbour’s cat comes and sits outside the window, because I miss my dog, who always used to sleep with her head on my feet.
I do keep the two awards I won for Dearest Rose on my desk. For a while I thought it was terribly showy offy to have them on display like that. Then someone told me that, when you are writer, it can take years and years for anything really great to happen, and when it does you should celebrate it. So I got them out of their boxes and put them on my desk. Like all writers, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my laptop, convinced that every single word I am writing is terrible, so its nice to have a reminder that sometimes you can get it kind of right.
Other objects I like to see while I work are my New York snow globe, my Nan’s 1930s vase that always sat on her table with flowers in for as long as I can remember, my lucky rock, (I don’t actually know if it is lucky or not, but it definitely is a rock,) and my children, who are prone to coming in to attempt to press delete on my laptop or spin me around on my chair, or switch the lights on and off so that we can have a disco. It’s not so good for the muse, but it makes me smile.
What I don’t like to see is the pile of paperwork and admin that gradually clutters my lovely desk as I am working on a book. I always know when I am getting to the end because I need a torch and a rope to find my way in and out of the office.
One other thing I like to have are tulips on my desk. I haven’t had any so far this week, so I think perhaps I’ll go and some really gorgeous tulips to celebrate the publication of The Memory Book. Oh and also a cup of tea always on the go – that’s crucial.
The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman is out now.