Saturday, July 27, 2013

Writers Workspace: Sarah Mallory

Oh dear – when I started writing this blog it was cold and raining. Now, we are in the middle of a
heatwave, and my writer's room has expanded dramatically!  This is my cluttered desk, where I stopped, mid-sentence, to take this picture. This has been my writing room now for many years, and I feel very privileged to be here.

In 1989 I had the chance of a lifetime – to move to Bronte country, a few miles from Haworth, where the Brontes grew up and fermented all those wonderfully dark romances. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so the family moved to a Pennine farmhouse, where I can step out of my door and onto the moors, walking for hours without hearing anything save the birds. Am I allowed to claim that this is part of my writers room? I hope so, because when I take the dog for a walk I am usually working on the book in my head, devising the plot, thinking about the characters, ready to write it all down when I get home.  I also take inspiration from the countryside, and in fact my latest Harlequin Historical, BOUGHT FOR REVENGE, is based very much on this area, and local readers I am sure will recognise the villages, hills and roads around here, even though I have changed the names.

The writing part of my day generally takes place at my desk, which currently has my two RoNA Rose
Awards and a small vase of cotton grass on the shelf above the screen. Whenever I raise my eyes from the computer the cotton grass inspires me with a reminder of the windswept moors and the two glass stars are  a constant encouragement, because most writers will tell you that at some point when they are writing their story they have a dip in confidence. Looking up and seeing these two awards helps me to believe in myself and to get on with my writing. My study has large picture windows, but I try not to be distracted by the views and usually have music playing in the background (which also helps to shut out the creaks and rattles of an old house at night, when the wind is blowing).

I like to be at my desk and working by 9.00 am each morning, and carry on for as long as I can, with only minimal breaks for meals, plus the exercise of walking back and forth to collect numerous cups of tea during the day, and taking the dog for a walk.  However, when the weather is as lovely as it is now I take my lap-top or even a pad and paper outside to the garden, but I have to confess that I find the views there rather too distracting!

Of course, in the winter it is a completely different matter. Then I light the fire in the study and have no difficulty staying in there all day! This fire was also an inspiration, because we discovered the fireplace behind a 1970's monstrosity and had to dig it out. It was quite spooky, because I was working alone on removing the old fireplace in the dead of winter, with the wind howling around the house. The sooty cavity was far too black to see anything inside and the chilly draught coming from the opening made me wonder just what horrid monsters might be waiting to jump out! Writers never waste an experience, though. At the time I was writing a dual time ghost story, Moonshadows (published under my alter-ego of Melinda Hammond), and this scene does appear in the book.

Thankfully there is no howling wind at the moment, we are enjoying unbroken sunshine and beautiful temperatures, so I am off now to the garden to sit in the shade with my pencil and writing pad, thinking up another scene for my latest book. Happy reading!

Twitter - @SarahMRomance


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  2. Amazing post of natural ways to winter from rain.and beauty of Bronte country.Where explains over all view of natural beauty on hills or valley such a great.