A Room Of Her Own – The Writing Space of Sarah Jio

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Sarah Jio | @SarahJio

I fell in love with houseboats after seeing “Sleepless in Seattle ” so many years ago, and after I got married in 2001, my husband and I settled in Seattle. We thought about buying a houseboat, but for one reason or another, it never worked out, and we ended up purchasing a traditional home (i.e., one with a foundation). But, years later—and now with three boys under the age of six—I never gave up on the houseboat dream, even if it still seemed a tad impractical and out of reach. When compiling ideas for my fifth novel, which I recently sold to my editor at Penguin, I knew exactly where I wanted the book to be set. Any guesses? Yes, on a Seattle houseboat.

For research, I figured I’d interview houseboat residents, read up on the lifestyle, and if I was lucky, maybe rent one for a night. But then, my husband made a very generous suggestion. He said, “Why don’t you rent a houseboat for a few months as your office? ” At first I refused. It seemed like a crazy-extravagant expense, especially when I’d hardly be able to sneak out everyday to write (remember, the kids)! But, I began to think about it, and he had a point: What better way for me to really soak up the houseboat lifestyle than to have one all to myself—to be able to pop over during the weekend and write a chapter, or stay up late and edit while stealing glances at the sparkling water with the moon shining above. I caved and said yes.

We ended up finding the most charming little houseboat on the east side of Lake Union and signed a four-month lease (which means I’ll be able to see three seasons on the houseboat: summer, fall and winter, since we have through New Year’s). It has a loft bedroom with a porthole window (accessed by the quaint ship’s ladder), a charming little kitchen stocked with all the essentials, a rooftop deck with a breathtaking view of the city and the Space Needle, a pair of kayaks, and, two resident mallard ducks who waddle past my deck every day.

I wrote the first two chapters of this new novel recently, and I already feel such a connection to the characters and the setting. As I type this on my laptop, I’m sitting on the sofa that looks out at the lake. A gentle wake from a boat is lapping up against the side of the houseboat, and the sunset is a golden-purple hue. It’s about as good as it gets!

Stay tuned for details about the new novel, (including the title!), in months to come. For now, I can say that it will debut most likely in the late fall or winter of 2013.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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4 Responses to A Room Of Her Own – The Writing Space of Sarah Jio

  1. Anita October 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    When I learned of Sarah Jio’s houseboat rental I was amazed and a bit jealous. We all saw and loved Sleepless in Seattle, it a bit of a fantasy to live right on the water, non traditional and a feeling of being away from so much.

    Having been an avid, nearly rabid, fan of Sarah’s since The Violets of March, I anxiously wait for each of her books. How she writes so lovely, with a touch of yesterday and today and manages 3 young boys, staying fit etc is admirable to say the least! Thanks for sharing your writing get away with us Sarah.

  2. Teresa October 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’m with Anita, I have loved everything that Sarah has written so far and am in awe of how she does it. I’m looking forward to these next releases.

  3. Ann Hite October 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    In love with the photos. Just recently–and I’m not comparing this to the houseboat–I actually allowed myself a room of my own where I could write my third novel, a place that I can sit and think and ponder. So, I know your four months on the houseboat will be a wonderful creative experience. Keep the photos coming, I’m living out a fantasy through your postings ;). Good luck with the book. Can’t wait.

  4. Meg November 1, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    How absolutely charming! As a lifelong fan of “Sleepless In Seattle” and a newer admirer of Sarah’s, I’ll be incredibly excited to get my hands on this one. What a wonderful space to write!

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