Saturday, April 14, 2012

Writer's Workplace: Annie West

This week we take a peek at the workplace of Presents author Annie West.

Hi everyone, and welcome to my world! I have to say I'm really lucky with my workplace. I'm in a corner of a sunny room looking out to the north (don't forget I'm in the southern hemisphere so it IS sunny, but with a verandah roof for summer shade). I have a companion, as you can see. My Daisy keeps me company as I write and many scenes are written to the accompaniment of gentle doggy snores.

I'm also handy to the kitchen for refreshment to keep me going and have a terrific view. OK, here's the view. You can see why I enjoy working here. These photos were taken on a very grey and gloomy day but even so it's an outlook I love. There's something serene about the water and especially the green of foliage that's soothing.

I used to work in the spare room. A cold space at the back of the house that had the virtue of being quiet. I could shut out the world and freeze my feet in winter in peace. I had an inspiring view of cement and a fence plus the neighbour's roof. I stuck it out for a few years then decided enough was enough.

I took over a corner of the long room that is both kitchen and family room. Yes, it can be noisy, but I tend to work when the rest of the family are still snoozing or when they're out for the day. Then the house is all mine and this is the perfect place to work.

From here I get to see the visitors to our yard. Here a couple of rainbow lorikeets that dropped by for a feed as I was writing this. They brighten up even the dullest winter day, as do the eastern rosellas and king parrots.

I've made a corkboard that's beside my desk with cards and photos that either make me smile or inspire me for my current project. As I'm starting a new book I'll have to review what's there and think about including some photos linked to what I'm writing. I've also got a wall planner where I mark important dates like blog appointments, book releases, workshops and so on. Which reminds me, I haven't added the Romance Writers of Australia Conference yet.

Ideally I'd have a room like this all to myself. OK, in my most fantastic dreams I'd have a room, even a tiny one, with a view of the sea. There's something about the ocean that seems to inspire my creative side. But I'm not complaining - not for a minute! I'm thrilled with the place I've got. Hm, except for the lack of bookshelves. I have to go to other rooms for my book collection if I want to refer to something other than the thesaurus on my desk. Oh, it's a hard life!

Do you think comfortable, cosy surroundings make a difference to how well you work? Can you work anywhere and anytime? Or do you need to be in a friendly place? Is there a difference between what you need to be productive in your day job and in other pursuits like crafts?

If you want to read some of the stories Annie has created in her special workplace, here are two to check out: UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH is an April UK release and GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT is already available in North American bookstores. There are excerpts and background details on her website as well as a terrific new contest where two lucky readers will win free books.

22 comments:

  1. Hi Annie, thank you for sharing your work space with us. I love the photo of your beautiful Daisy snoring nearby.
    It's kind of mind-boggling to realize your passionate, wonderful tales of sheiks and billionaires and the women they love set in exotic locations around the world are created in that serene corner...
    My writing space is always such a mess with papers and books strewn everywhere I'd be ashamed of revealing it to the blogging world!

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    1. Kandy, I just realised I didn't hit 'reply' when answering you so there's a comment from me further down the page. Obviously my brain isn't in gear.

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  2. Beautiful spot Annie. And so neat!! No wonder you create such amazing stories.

    When all my children were home and there were no spare rooms, I used to work in a similar spot at our back door. Very similar in fact, as I also looked out to our pool through last glass doors, and I agree that the water view is indeed very calming and conducive to creativity. Mine anyway.

    My dream, like yours, is an office looking over the ocean or lake. Last time we were at the Gold Coast on holidays, I had a book to finish and I proved that watching out over the ocean while creating was just as magical as I'd hoped. Blissful sigh...

    Here's to many more Annie West stories created in that gorgeous spot - with lots of support and wise critiquing from Daisy.

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    1. Hi Kaz, another comment on my neatness! Obviously it looks more spick and span here than usual. How interesting that you used to have a similar spot to work. I often find myself staring out the window, plotting without really seeing, and then realising there are a couple of gorgeous king parrots having a feed.

      Wouldn't a beach view be gorgeous for writing? I remember writing while staying at Coogee Beach in Sydney, at a desk looking out across the Pacific. It was very inspiring!

      Let's hope Daisy is up to some critiquing today. She's just had a bath and is tuckered out but I need all the help I can get.

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  3. Great post, thanks for sharing, Annie! Oh, I like the corkboard very much. I'd like to have one near my desk. And the view is fantastic! For me the most important thing is to have a clean and tidy workspace. Creative chaos isn't my thing :)

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    1. Natalija, I have to confess I'm very proud of that cork board since I made it myself and even painted the frame. I love looking up and seeing all those terrific cards and pics either from friends or as inspiration for my current book. Actually I often work in chaos, but it's pretty limited as there's no room to spread. I think Daisy would object if I started dumping gear on her bed.

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  4. Lovely work place, Annie - and your desk is soooo tidy! (Looking at mine and feeling a bad case of tidy-desk envy!)

    Daisy obviously keeps you company a lot with her own comfy little bed right beside your desk.

    I can work in different places as long as I feel comfortable and, I guess, safe - which might sound odd but if I'm really wrapped up in what I'm working on then I can lose that awareness of what's happening around me.

    Your book covers are scrumptious!
    :)
    Sharon

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    1. Sharon, I've got to say I'm a bit like you - I find it really difficult to work outside my own secure environment. I find it really hard to write when I travel, unfortunately.

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    2. Sharon, I bet you have a lot more space to spread out. My mess tends to be elsewhere, like the spare room.

      Yes, Daisy is great company. She keeps me exercised too, wanting to go in and out that glass door on a regular basis.

      I agree - I think being able to work somewhere is about being comfortable somewhere. I prefer quiet but I've even been known to work (mainly editing) at a children's playground and to start writing a book at a public swimming pool! I prefer my own space but so long as I'm comfy and wrapped up in what I'm doing then I can make progress.

      Anna, you must find it limiting, only being able to work in your usual space. But then maybe that means you gear up for work more easily when you go there.

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  5. Hi Kandy, thank you - I think it's a great photo of Daisy too. It's rather soothing, writing to the sound of her little snuffles.

    Chuckling here at the idea of you being so impressed at my tidy workplace. There are usually more papers cluttering up the desk but the fact is, because I've got virtually no desk space (that's where the printer is) I haven't go so much space to mess up. I dream of a room of my own and of course if I had it no doubt it would be cluttered from end to end.

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  6. Annie, what a wonderful blog. You've inspired me to write one on this subject myself - I think it's always fascinating to see where people work. I love the photos, particularly the one of Daisy snoozing on her bed. How cute is that? I always love visiting your house - it's such a relaxing environment and you really do feel like you're among the trees when you're there. Beautiful light too.

    Congratulations on the release of GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT and UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH. They're both doozies of reads!

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  7. Hi, Annie! Thanks for this glimpse into your writing space. What a lovely view! No wonder it inspires you to create your fabulous stories.

    Daisy looks happy and at home in your study. I wish I could train my cats to sit beside me instead of on top of me (or on the laptop) when I write. I'm slowly learning it's best if I don't write wherever there's a TV nearby. Apart from that, I can write anywhere as long as I'm warm in winter or cool in summer. :)

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    1. Vanessa, Daisy is a venerable old lady so being near me, or whoever is home, suits her best. She used to be an outdoor dog but after a severe health problem when she had to be inside for several weeks, she now gets her own indoor place. I'm sure her contented vibes help me write. She can be distracting sometimes though, like when a mother duck hatched her brood of ducklings and brought them all to the pool - Daisy didn't like the invasion!

      Good luck training those cats of yours!

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  8. Hi Anna, thanks for the congratulations. I must say it's terrific to have GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT and UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH out so close together.

    Ah, you've hit on one of the things I like so much about our home - the sense of being among the trees. It's very peaceful and calming being able to look out towards that greenery. As for the light - that's why I think it's the best room in the house. I prefer not to work in a dark room which is what I had before. After several years I gave up and secured my writing corner. Much better except when the house is full of people. But that's what laptops are for.

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  9. Hi Annie, no wonder you can write amazing stories, your surroundings are just beautiful. Looking forward to my next read of your books :)))

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  10. Hi Tash, I'm glad you like it. I count myself very lucky. As for a new read - 'Undone By His Touch' is in New Zealand stores next month.

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    1. Brilliant, thanks for letting me know Annie, I've been keeping an eye out for it. I love the Blue cover! We have the red covers here (like Australia I think?) but they've been revamped too and looking just lovely :)

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    2. Not long to wait now, Tash. Hope you enjoy it. I must say I rather like the blue 'Modern' cover too. It's fun though that they've revamped the 'Sexy' covers in Australia and New Zealand - similar to what was there before but fresher.

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  11. A gorgeous spot to work, Annie. I have a view of a fence/side of house, enlivened with Virginia Creeper which is currently turning scarlet. But I often run away somewhere else to write by hand.

    But what I REALLY wanted to say was — CONGRATULATIONS on winning your Romantic Times Award!!! Lovely news!

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    1. Hi Anne, it's lovely to see you here. Thanks very much for the congratulations on the Romantic Times award for 'Protected By the Prince'. As you can imagine I'm completely over the moon about that.

      I love Virginia Creeper, especially when it turns a deep red in autumn. So nice. The room I used to write in had a great view of a very high fence, concrete and ivy. The ivy made it rather nice but I used to freeze there in winter, despite taking a heater in with me. Br. Actually I love the idea of going somewhere else to write by hand. I do that occasionally and it's always such a treat. There's something invigorating about a change of setting and handwriting too.

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  12. Annie, I love your view and I love your snoozy writing companion! Am now wondering if I've room near my desk for a cork board similar to yours. Hmm...

    I have to admit that I like my own space when I work, and I don't like anybody else walking around about in the room either, though outside noise doesn't usually worry me. And I do have another rather eccentric dislike -- I hate writing with my back to the doorway. :-)

    Also -- MANY CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR RT AWARD FOR PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE!!!!!!! It's a wonderful book and the award richly deserved!

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  13. Hi Michelle,

    She is a snoozy companion, isn't she? But that's rather soothing, and you know what they say about dogs being a comfort. It's a nice distraction to lean over and pat her when I'm trying to unknot a plot problem.

    I know what you mean about not having your back to the door. I have that feeling from time to time though I'm virtually cured after having an office years ago where I had a marvellous view of snow capped mountains so long as I had my back to the outer office. It was worth it. But I do tend to write along. Writing a love scene with people coming and going is just impossible!

    Thank you so much for the congratulations on PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE aka PASSION, PURITY AND THE PRINCE. You and Anne are making me grin like a loon all over again.

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