When I was first asked to do this piece I asked my Facebook friends for advice. Do I tidy up? Do I show people my real desk or a very posh and stylish pretend desk? We want to see the real desk with all the mess, they answered, apart from my mother.
So here we go: I’m about to tell you about my reasonably tidy working desk, my very messy stationery desk, and my pin board. But I have a confession to make. I have another desk. The desk where I write my fiction is hidden away in the corner of my bedroom, facing a blank wall. It’s a battered wooden desk I’ve had since I was twelve (I used to do my homework on it). I’ve written all my books on it (34 and counting) and I will never show it to anyone. Not even you, Novelicious. Sorry! It’s good to keep some things private I always think.
So desk number one (working desk). This is where I spend most of the afternoon and sometimes evenings (I write until 2pm every day) answering emails, replying to readers’ letters (I also write for children and they are fantastic at writing real letters), writing reviews for the Irish Independent, writing my blogs, updating my websites, Facebooking and tweeting. I also do all my research at this desk.
To the far left you may spot an apple with a face drawn on it. My children, aged 7 and 10 love putting things on or around my desk – drawings of cows (my son’s obsession), messages on sticky notes – and the apple is my son’s latest addition. I also have photos of myself as a child and teenager, a card from one of my publishers, a pencil case saying ‘What would you do if you knew you could not fail?’, and a remembrance card one of my teenager readers sent me. It’s small and laminated, with a picture of her mum who died of cancer on it. I never met her mum, but this lovely young reader used to write to me during her mum’s illness and we still keep in touch. It reminds me that writing novels and having readers is a privilege.
And finally I have a pin board where I put anything that makes me smile – readers’ letters, photos, postcards, newspaper clippings. I visited some schools in Hong Kong in March and they gave me their school banners, so they are hanging to the right.
Sarah Webb's latest novel, The Memory Box, is out now.