Archive | A Room Of Her Own

A Room Of Her Own: The Writing Space of Joshilyn Jackson

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Joshilyn Jackson | @JoshilynJackson


My office is a converted sun porch off the back of our painted brick 50’s bungalow. It is all windows on two sides. We live right by a bird sanctuary; the yard is rife with the feathery little boogers. I put a feeder on the window just above Mango—my main personal assistant, mostly in charge of yacking hairballs directly into my printer—and all day long I have wrens and finches and even a few cardinals pertly sitting just above his cat basket.

mango at the bird box

I like to work with animals around me. My husband says the number of animals I need to be happy is best represented by X + 1, where X is the number of animals I have now. Currently X is three, and I am in the market for a tuxedo kitten. If we don’t find the right kitten, my back up plan to is to agitate for a Ball Python, a breed of snake known for being docile and amenable to being handled. If I get one, I am going to name him Sippy Cups.

The truth is, I need a bunch of little heartbeats in the house or I get very low, very fast. I am more an extrovert than most writers, and my job means a lot of alone time.

room of her own books

On the floor, you can see my secondary assistant, Ansley. She’s in charge of making pig noises and being anxious. Behind me is a futon, where Bagel-Dog, my tertiary assistant in charge of snoozing does his work, and floor to ceiling bookshelves holding the books I love enough to keep. I took a picture of one random section piece of my shelves because I love peeping other people’s book shelves and figured you might, too.

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A Room Of Her Own: The Writing Space of Jojo Moyes

Today’s photos from this month’s featured author, Jojo Moyes | @JojoMoyes

Moyes Writing Space Collage

I have to admit that I love getting a peek inside the writing rooms of my favorite authors. It’s often equal parts inspiring (that’s where she wrote the book!) and comforting (she hasn’t taken out the trash either!). But mostly I love to see what books they’re reading and the odds and ends they surround themselves with in their most creative moments.

What I love about Jojo Moyes’ writing space: the books (of course), the big comfy chair, and the view.

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A Room Of Her Own: The Writing Space of Kathleen Tessaro


Kathleen says: “As a lap top user, I roam all over the house. Here I am, making the most of the summer!”

What we love about this room: the windows, the hydrangeas, and of course the Mac! All in all this looks like the perfect place to create.

Question: is there a special place that you love to write? What gets you in the groove?

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A Room Of Her Own: The Writing Space of Susanna Kearsley

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Susanna Kearsley  | @SusannaKearsley

If you look at the actual blueprint for our house, there’s a room marked “Dining Room “, set quite conveniently between the kitchen and the formal living room, with glass French doors and lots of light. Except it never got the chance to be a dining room. As soon as we moved in, I filled one wall with my Ikea Billy bookcases and claimed it as my writing room.

Here’s what it looked like, then:

Kearsley 1

It’s changed a bit, in the twelve years that we’ve been living here. The bookshelves, for one thing, are noticeably fuller—most of the shelves are stacked two deep, with books behind books, and I keep buying more.

Kearsley 2

My mother-in-law, a skilled seamstress, made me beautiful curtains for the window, and my parents gave me the comfortable wing chair I’d always loved best from their house. The desk in the photo got passed on to a friend, and was replaced by the antique oak table my dad always used as his desk in our various houses, when I was growing up. And we painted the walls a soft yellow that glows warmly gold when I’m writing at night.

It’s really a lovely room, and it’s a great place to write, but the truth is that most days it’s also Incredibly Messy. I try to keep up with the clutter, but when I’m at work on a book, it just Happens.

I couldn’t help but smile recently when someone tweeted the link to a Victorian-era book of etiquette by Eliza Leslie titled “Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book “, which in a chapter on how to behave when meeting an “authoress ” warns: “If, when admitted into her study, you should find her writing-table in what appears to you like great confusion “, it’s best not to comment on the mess. “In all probability, she knows precisely where to put her hand upon every paper on the table: having in reality arranged them exactly to suit her convenience. Though their arrangement may be quite unintelligible to the uninitiated, there is no doubt method (her own method, at least) in their apparent disorder. It is not likely she may have time to put her writing table in nice-looking order every day. ”

Those words are just as true today, I think, as they were then. So in the interest of authenticity, instead of cleaning up the evidence and giving you the Better Homes and Gardens version of my writing room, I thought I’d show you what it actually looks like this morning, complete with a few days’ accumulation of coffee cups (I have a weakness for Starbucks Skinny Cinnamon Dolce lattes). It looks a bit chaotic, but I do indeed know where each paper is, and what it’s there for, as the good Miss Leslie says, and it’s decidedly my space, the room of my own where my stories take shape.

Kearsley 3

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A Room Of Her Own – The Writing Space of Patti Callahan Henry

Patti Callahan Henry’s Writing Space

Leave it to this month’s featured author, Patti Callahan Henry, to have the quintessential writing space in an attic dormer. Her novel, AND THEN I FOUND YOU, will release next Tuesday, April 9th, but if you can’t wait that long (and we don’t blame you) you can enter to win one of the ten copies we’ve got up for grabs this week.

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A Room Of Her Own – The Writing Space Of Rita Leganski

This month’s featured author, Rita Leganksi, kindly gives us a tour of her writing space today:

So I admit to having a couple of quirks. One of them is that I like the space where I write to be very neat, because I’m easily distracted and clutter interferes with my Zen. Writing can be a messy business—littered with notebooks and paper clips and such like—but I’ve found a solution: my writing space is L-shaped. The immediate area in front of me is quite tidy. The only things on it that aren’t technology-related are an antique Underwood typewriter (think Hemingway), a flower pot full of pens, and my little green-painted pelican. The flower pot and the pelican are made of the good earth’s clay, which brings a nice balance to the technology stuff. Three of the walls are painted tawny gold, but the one that I face is a nice brick-red. Affixed to it are shelves full of reference books, family mementos, and my two hard-earned diplomas. I like the wall I look at. To my right is a south-facing window that frames bushes and lavender and a flowering pear tree that loses its blossoms in summer and its leaves in autumn, but keeps its berries for hearty little birds that stay all winter. To my left is where the mess is kept—the piles of notes, the remnants of research; the flotsam and jetsam of etcetera.

I sit in a chair that doesn’t match anything in the entire house. It looks exactly like what it is—an ergonomic piece of office furniture. It may not be pretty, but after eight hours of sitting at a computer, I’m ready to chant to my homely blue office chair.

Oh yes, behind me hangs a framed print reminiscent of Toulouse Lautrec’s Ambassadeurs: Aristide Bruant dans soncabaret, but instead of bearing the famous likeness of Aristide Bruant, this one features Daffy Duck. The Looney Toons vibe seems to fit.

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A Room Of Her Own – The Writing Space of Julie Kibler

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Julie Kibler | @JulieKibler

My writing space? A room of my own?

Ha. It’s more like one side of the kitchen table, where I plant myself during the day, removing my computer when it’s time to eat dinner. It’s more like a corner of the family room sectional, where I spend late evenings pounding words out on the keyboard when everyone else is asleep (see my night owl post!).

It’s not that there isn’t room in my house for me to have an office, exactly. My children are leaving the nest, one by one, the youngest here only a few more years. But if I appropriated the mostly vacant room upstairs, my freshman college student daughter might feel we’d already banished her from home, and none of us are ready for that.

I suppose I could climb the same stairs each day and sit at the desk in the loft where my husband pays bills, and where I might have stored some office supplies several years back.   But then, I’d have to run back down again each time my sweetly obnoxious rescue dogs need to go outside. And again when they need to come back in. And again when the doorbell rings when the UPS guy shows up with an unexpected delivery. And again each time I want a snack or need to refill my drink. And again when … well, you get the picture.

Apparently, I’m just too lazy to have a room of my own.

However, it dawns on me, I do most of my writing when I’m nowhere near this place I call home.

As I ride in an elevated train on a vacation in Chicago.

As I chat with a classroom of at-risk kids while talking about my newly released novel in Denver.

As I make a chauffeur run to pick up my daughter and listen to my dad on speakerphone, telling me the details of another family story.

When my hairstylist pumps the chair up to the level of her hands and fastens a cape around my neck (not too tight, like Isabelle in Calling Me Home), chuckling with me about an older client she just finished styling.

When my kids walk aisles toward brides, and diplomas, and sing on a stage at school.

As I observe a young mother struggle with a decision outside the café where I’m drinking iced tea.

It’s in these places my stories are written. My home is simply the place they’re transcribed.

But here’s a picture of my kitchen table, with one of my foster kitties a few years ago, keeping me company there.

And one of those ornery dogs, trying to convince me a walk would be a better use of my time than writing.

And my newest companion, trying to read over my shoulder on that scroungy sectional late, late at night.


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A Room Of Her Own – The Writing Space of B.A. Shapiro

I have to admit that of all the series we do on She Reads, this is my favorite. I love getting a glimpse into the writing spaces of the authors we feature here. There’s something so intimate  about seeing where a story is made. You can learn so much about an author just by where they write. I love the blue and yellow. I love the recessed window. I love the light. It makes sense to me that THE ART FORGER was written in this room.

Don’t forget that we’ll have our online book club discussion of THE ART FORGER this Friday. We’ll be chatting about the book all day so jump in and join us as time allows. If you haven’t already signed up, you can do so here (it’s free).

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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.

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