When I first started writing Love and Eskimo Snow, I had a sort of Marvin Gaye outlook to the place where I wrote – wherever I lay my laptop, that was its home. I wrote chapters on the sofa, some in coffee shops, and a few in the drawing room of a Lincolnshire spa. However, as time has passed, my big oak dining table has become my writing desk. There’s room on it for a cup of steamy coffee or – some evenings – a glass of red wine. Plus, there’s space for my notebook, which is full of scribbles and smudges about my characters and timelines.
At the moment, my oak table sidles up to my book case – my favourite bit of furniture. It was the first thing I bought for myself when I moved into my first flat around seven years ago. I bought it before I even had a sofa. It’s nothing flashy, but it’s full of my favourite novels. These books have biceps. They’re Booker Prize winners, classics, and critic-dividers.
There’s a Robert’s radio on my bookshelf, too. I can’t have it on when I’m writing. I have to work in silence. However, this radio is instrumental in my creative process. For some reason, I have most of my ideas for plot and character development in the bath. I light candles, fill the tub with bubbles, turn my Robert’s radio to Chill FM, and let myself daydream about my next chapter.
From my position at my desk, I can see out of the sliding glass doors that lead out to my balcony. The view looks out over the Thames and Greenwich’s Cutty Sark ship in the distance. There’s a certain something about writing in sight of the water. The river is a story in itself. Hundreds of boats sail through it every day and the strength of its tides make it moody or calm. One day, I’d like to have a cottage by the sea with a writing room that looks out over the beach. Wow – now there's a daydream that didn't take place in the bath!
Sarah Holt’s debut novel, Love and Eskimo Snow, is out now.