We're delighted to welcome back Elisabeth Hobbes to the Pink Heart Society as she talks about where she loves to write...
Like a lot of authors I first started out writing in secret: a few hundred words while the kids were watching CBeebies, a chapter over the nights my husband worked away, a post-it note scribbled then hastily shoved out of sight before anyone realised what I was doing. When I got The Call from Harlequin after finishing third in SYTYCW and ‘came out’ it meant I was able to legitimately spend time during the day writing.
I’m a terrible procrastinator so being in the house means I spend too much time online. It always starts out as legitimate research into techniques for oyster farming, for example (the heroine of A Wager for the Widow inherited a business) but soon ends up as searching out holiday cottages, recipes and finding pictures of Alexander Skarsgard or Chris Hemsworth –though time spent hero modelling is never wasted in my view.
My biggest workspace is my head because it’s rare I’m not thinking of a plot element at some point in the day and I have post-it notes and notebooks everywhere in case inspiration strikes. I write where I can and when I can (I started writing this in the cafe at the leisure centre while my kids learning the traditional Northern art of being in a brass band) but have developed some routines.
Because I’m a part time teacher my actual getting-words-onto-the-laptop time has to be carefully planned for my days off (do teachers or parents ever really have such a thing?) and distractions minimised so I can meet my word count. Every Tuesday I drop my kids at school then head to the library and work in the reference area. It’s a peaceful place to sit, even when the toddlers come in for Rhyme Time, though cataloguing farm animals is not the ideal backdrop for creating romantic tension.
Sometimes I need a little extra to get me going in the morning. We’re very lucky where I live to have a number of excellent independent cafes. My favourite is the Cherry Blossom Bakery, which has a quiet upstairs area where I can spread out notebooks and laptop, look at the garden and drink tea in a proper cup and saucer. Very civilised!
Occasionally I need something stronger and have been known to head round the corner to my local pub, The Park Tavern, which not only sells excellent beer but also homemade pies and cakes. A pivotal scene between Eleanor and Will in A Wager for the Widow was written accompanied by a pint of Long Hop while my daughter was at a birthday party. It’s a friendly place where everyone talks to everyone and has already inspired an idea for a future book involving a barmaid and a ruffian on the run with a mysterious box.
I do occasionally get forced to work at home, despite the impression that I crawl between pubs and cafes but curling up in an armchair isn’t kind on the knees so I recently treated myself to a proper desk with lots of cubbyholes for notebooks, pens and interesting junk. My house was built in the 1920s and I love period furniture so when I found this drop down desk I knew I had to have it, especially as it was cheaper than flat pack from Ikea. I love a bargain!
The one constant that has been with me throughout, whether writing on the sofa or in the bath has been the scrutiny of one or more pairs of watchful eyes. No writer’s area would be complete without a cat sprawled across the keyboard. My beloved, deceased Hobbes gave me my pen name after spending hours on my lap. I currently have two cats who have clearly worked out some sort of rota as they take it in turns to obstruct me. The one in the picture is Captain Jamie Ankles and as I write this, Doctor Sausage is lying across my left wrist.
Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clean cat fur from between my keys!
Do you write in a variety of places? Are you a pub-writer, a cafe-writer of a home-writer? Join in the discussion below!
Elisabeth’s newest book, A Wager for the Widow, is available now:
"I suppose a kiss of gratitude is out of the question?"
Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!
As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?