Saturday, April 06, 2013

Writer'sWorkspace: Charlotte Philips

PHS visits with Harlequin Kiss and Riva author Charlotte Philips


Before I was published I wrote everywhere and anywhere I could, stealing time from all over the place. With a family of five including a toddler and the two messiest teenagers in the universe, that meant notebooks and pens in every room, in the car, in the changing bag… you get the picture. If an idea came to me, I would scribble it down, and the majority of the scenes in my stories started out as handwritten scrawl, often written in bed at the end of the day. I would then use longer moments (such as nap times for the small one when the older two were at school) to type the notes up into some kind of coherent manuscript.

At the time I made my first sale, in May of last year, my four-year-old was on the brink of full-time school and I was suddenly going to be time rich! At around this time, the spare room, (a holding area for all items which are on route to the tip/charity shop but haven’t actually made it there yet, laundry airing room and storage facility for all the DH’s fitness equipment -he has a deep seated belief that just owning an exercise bike somehow makes him fitter) had a mini-makeover to give it a new additional purpose as a workspace for me. And I loved it.


A big desk from IKEA, a printer, all my stationery in the cupboards, cork board for story planning. And how much of my writing since then has occurred in this place? Hardly any.

There are reasons for this. The biggest one is pictured here.


 My first sale also happened to coincide with our bringing home a puppy. Dave’s first months were spent exclusively in the kitchen and he’s never got out of the habit of crying at the kitchen door when I go upstairs for longer than twenty minutes or so. However hard I might try to immerse myself in my writing at the IKEA desk, I was yanked out of focus constantly. You wouldn’t believe something so small could howl so loudly.

The other reason is that apparently I’ve been writing by hand for so long that it’s instilled itself into my process. I am still a sucker for lovely stationery. I go through pens at a crazy pace. And sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by my stash of Paperchase products , with coffee a few paces away, Dave snoozing in the corner and my netbook to one side ready for typing up my scrawl, is somehow much cosier and definitely far more productive than the office upstairs with the fitness equipment and laundry airer on one side of the room and my proper professional looking set-up on the other.

So there we have it. My intended writer’s workspace turned out to be very different to the one I had planned when I dreamed of being published.


The very first story I wrote, finished during the small one’s nap times, started its life as scrawl in exercise books and had been dragged in and out of my wardrobe many times over the years. I’m thrilled that it’s finally found a home with Mills & Boon RIVA. ‘The Proposal Plan’ is released on the 5th April 2013, available in the UK only (for now).



How do you get the wedding you’ve always wanted?

Lucy Telford knows all about heartache – her teenage crush on her friend Gabriel Blake was a crash course in unrequited love – but these days she’s determined to make her own happy ending. If her boyfriend won’t get down on one knee, she’ll just have to ask him herself!

Step one is enlisting Gabriel’s help – as an absolute woman-magnet, surely he can give her some tips on becoming irresistible? But Lucy’s perfect plan goes awry when she starts wondering if she’s asking the right man to walk her down the aisle…
You may purchase it here


For more information visit Charlotte at or find her on Twitter @charlieflips



  1. If you're not using your office, Charlotte, can I have it? I'm dreaming of a space of my own!

    Also, you use a corkboard in exactly the way I use it! You even divide up the space into four horizontal lines like I do. Tell me more!

  2. Hi Fiona!

    I don't think you'd want my space! If you panned round with the camera there is washing hanging over the fitness equipment lol!

    I saw the cork board on your blog and made my own! That's why it looks familiar. At the moment I'm doing the Save The Cat setup, so it has four rows (it has helped me massively!). Now I plan all the scenes and then try to write them without editing as I go along. It's been a big discovery for me and made me much more productive. I also bought Michael Hauge's book after reading your breakdown of it!