Saturday, January 14, 2012

Writer’s Workspace :: Heidi Rice + Giveaway

The Pink Heart Society is excited to peek into the office of one of our favorite Harlequin Presents authors, Heidi Rice! Not only is she letting us voyeur, she's giving away a copy of her latest book. Read on...
  
I have a terrible confession to make here, especially to all those published authors and soon-to-be-published authors who manage to write at kitchen tables, on their alpha-smart or iPad while doing the school run and in any available corner or snippet of time they have… I dare say they’re a lot more productive than I am, because I have to have total calm, a designated desk (although it doesn’t have to be tidy) and a lockable door (especially if teenage children are in the vicinity) to get anything done at all.

You may have already guessed that my work ethic isn’t quite as focused and prodigious as I’d like it to be. Plus I have the added handicap of being a master procrastinator. As a result it took me many years after I got the general inkling that I would like to write a book (which let’s face it pretty much everyone in the world has had at one time or another) before I actually got down to attempting to finish one of those half-finished projects in a tidy but mostly unopened file on my Apple Mac.

Now that’s not to say that I hadn’t been writing stuff. When my oldest son was three I left my full-time job as a journalist on a TV magazine and started writing film reviews for a newspaper on a computer in a tiny desk in the corner of our bedroom in our two-bedroom flat. It was cramped and rather crap – having to write in a space that was distressingly close to a nice big double bed — but this wasn’t a problem when writing 100 word reviews. Your attention span doesn’t have to be that great, you can stop and start at will and weekly copy deadlines keep you remarkably focussed. But when it came to writing my ‘great romantic novel’ that slap-dash & panic work habit didn’t really fly. So I never seemed to find the time to actually open that damn file and finish a story.

Then after my second son was born two years later we moved into a four-bedroom house! Suddenly I had my own study, my own work station. And no more excuses. Because I was still writing film reviews, it took me four solid years to finish that first manuscript, because despite my lovely new workspace, my work ethic hadn’t really improved. But that said, when I did find the time between kids and husband and film previews and coffee dates and generally mucking about, I discovered that I loved the actually business of creating my own characters, having conversations with them in my head and getting their story down on paper right to their happy ever after.

That first manuscript got rejected by Silhouette Special Editon…. But I’d learned so much not just about the craft of writing and how to develop my own unique voice, but also about my own particular process. I learned that I don’t do particularly well spending long hours sitting at a keyboard… That for me putting in time each day just day-dreaming about my characters and their journey is important too… And I can do that anywhere.

My second manuscript got accepted (which I managed to write in a Speedy Gonzalez fast for me ten months!!) and I was offered a two-book contract. And I have to admit then panic set in. Somehow or other I managed to write another book, and not only that but I did it in six months… But now, whenever I’m struggling at my desk, I give myself permission to get on my bike (literally!) and cycle down to the gym, or even just pop downstairs and make a cup of tea, while I mull over my latest problem.

But I still love my workspace. I have all my film books and my favourite romances on custom-made shelves — not to mention my own books, to remind me I can do it when I’m doubting myself. I have a sofa when I’m reading through my AAs and rough drafts, etc. I stick a sign on my door when I’m under the deadline cosh to tell my now teenage sons to bugger off or I’m canceling Christmas/Holidays/Pocket Money, etc! And I have posters of my three muses Marlon, Jimmy Dean and Paul Newman looking down on me. For those moments when you just need that added incentive of gazing at super-hot bad boy tottie to inspire you.
Well, it works for me – most of the time!

Now, I also have rather a lot of free copies of the US edition of Cupcakes and Killer Heels (out in March as a Harlequin Presents Extra) currently cluttering up my workspace… So I’d like to give a copy away to one lucky commentator. 

Keep up with Heidi on her blog, her Facebook page, her website or on Twitter (@HeidiRomRice).

27 comments:

  1. Hi Heidi, I find it fascinating to read blogs such as these that give you a little peek inside the process of getting the book from the mind to the paper. You all do an amazing job :)

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  2. Thanks for giving us a peek inside your writing world! I'm one of those iPad writers you talked about and as much as I'd love a nice quiet office, I just know I'd wind up at the kitchen table with chaos all around...

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  3. Thanks - I enjoyed reading about your writing world.

    I currently write on the kitchen table but am organising to get a desk so I can have some real "writing" space - can't wait till it arrives :)

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  4. Wow, what a tidy office! Mines is a midden and I'm in awe of your organisation. Perhaps that's what I need to do this year. Clean up the office, find time to write and then, perhaps, I'll be a Harlequin author. Thanks for the blog Pink Hearts and Heidi, as always your advice is super. :o)

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  5. Thanks for letting us into your writing world. It was great to read it. I'm lucky enough to have a room in which to write and one day I hope to be a published Harlequin author too. I am going to steal your sign idea though!

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  6. Aw cheers Taz, I'm glad it was informative! TBH I'm not quite sure how I do it myself yet!!

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  7. Kristina, I bow to your focus being able to write anywherep, I so wished that worked for me!

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  8. Joanne, best of luck getting your own writing space. Even if it's just a designated corner it can make everyone take your writing more seriously I find (including yourself, in my case!)

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  9. Aimee... I should let you into a little secret here and admit than whenever my desk is super tidy it's usually a bad sign. Put it this way, when the writing's flowing I don't notice the piles of crap everywhere... When it's stalled I tend to pick up the Pledge and start 'de-cluttering' in a desperate effort to make the muse come back! Best of luck on your journey to being a Harlequin author and don't forget to enjoy the ride!

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  10. Best of luck to you too Rachael and defo steal my sign idea, I have to admit though it doesn't always work... In which case I just shout at them!

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  11. I'm a reader, not a writer! That being said, I DO write poetry on special occasions. Even though I have an office, small though it is, I find that words come to me the fastest when I'm a passenger while my husband is driving. Perhaps it is because I don't have telephone or front-door or - gasp! - email distractions.
    As for my office desk, well ... when I worked outside the home, it was always tidy by the end of the day. At home, though, there doesn't seem to be an "end of the day", so it rarely gets cleared completely.
    Thanks for showing us YOUR office and providing explanations. I enjoyed that!

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  12. Cheers Laney, interesting that you create while in a car, that's a new one. May have to try it.

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  13. No wonder I love your books, when Marlon, James, and Paul are the muses on your wall, as I've mentioned before, they're some of my favorites, too. It's a comfort to read that one of your manuscripts took ten months to write and another six months, it gives hope to all of us aspiring authors who aren't fast yet.

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  14. Summer, I'm still not very fast (as my editor will atest! LOL!). You have to write at your own pace and don't be intimidated by people that can write faster. Best of luck with your endeavours (I have a feeling you'll go far with those muses!)

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  15. Ooh, custom made shelves. You have a lovely workspace. I wish I had enough space to have my own little workroom.

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  16. I'm not a writer but I do like my computer space all organized. Unfortunately right now my computer is sitting on a cardtable. I purchased a nice used desk but we haven't been able to pick it up yet. I can't wait until it gets here.

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  17. Thanks for letting us in to your writing world!
    Your office looks great!

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  18. Heidi, I have my own workspace but I don't use it because I have to keep track of my two boys. If I'm down in my office, I never know what they're doing upstairs!

    Loved to hear about where and how you write. I procrastinate too. But, not as much as I used to.

    Abbi :-)

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  19. Jane, I am very fond of my shelves.. They were built by my uncle! But I still have to keep rationalising my books so I don't end up with piles on the floor.. Am hoping my new love affair with the kindle will sort that out!

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  20. Linda, hope your new desk arrives soon, I do love a good desk!

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  21. Abbi, know the feeling, when my boys were younger I had to do the same thing. Now they're 14 & 19 all I have to deal with is gangs of teenage boys tramping up and down the stairs like a herd of elephants!

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  22. Hi Heidi ~ It's still Sunday here and I just enjoyed the glimpse into your writing space. I think this new feature is very interesting.

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  23. Heidi, I liked what you said about daydreaming about your characters. That what gives you content to write about when you're actually stuck in the chair with your hands on the keyboard, isn't it? It's when you're in that 'daydreaming' process that your characters talk to you. That's what I've found, anyway!

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  24. Hi Kaelee, glad you enjoyed it! And yes, I'm enjoying this new feature too.... It's always interesting hearing about how other writers create (and possibly nicking a few of their suggestions. LOL!)

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  25. Maria... In a word, absolutely. Daydreaming is important!! If only I could go back and tell my school English teacher that!

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  26. After a random pick of the comments... The winner of a new US copy of Cupcakes and Killer Heels is...

    Kaelee!!

    Just email me at heidi@heidi-rice.com and Il' stick one in the post.

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