I’ve recently been interviewing lots of super-cool children’s authors including Wendy Orr, John Boyne, Michael Pryor, Deborah Abela and many others on where they write. I’m fascinated by writers’ spaces and how the space impacts on the writing. This week, with the release of my book Galactic Adventures: First Kids in Space, I have turned the lens on myself and answered the five questions, with lots of pics of the weird places that I write.
Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space that you write in?
I wrote Galactic Adventures: First Kids in Space in many, many different places. I am a roving writer. I always have a desk set up, a home base, but I can usually be found at the dining table or at a cafe or in a hotel room or on some form of transport. My current favourite is to write outdoors on verandas and beaches and in parks.
|My desk last year. Ganesha statue and Buzz Lightyear mug are regular fixtures.|
|Veranda where I work for a period most days.|
Do you transform your space in any way for each book? Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
My desk space is usually plastered with images and quotes and ideas about the book that I’m writing. I listen to different music for each book with a soundtrack playlist in my iTunes. That music drops me into character each morning. I mutter to myself a lot, especially with dialogue, trying to ‘hear’ each character. I try to visit the places that I’m writing about or get as close as I can to them by digital means.
|Pictures, notes and quotes around my workspace.|
How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
I started out writing at a table in the corner of my bedroom but I realised that I was spending 18 hours a day in that room and it disturbed me slightly so I moved. Now it’s a desk in a sunroom turned office space. It has good light, warmth (apart from at 6.00 a.m.) a view of the hills (above) in the distance and a door that opens on to a veranda. Other assorted places I have been caught writing are below in pics:
|Me, years ago, working on a screenplay while camping in Joshua Tree National Park.|
|Caught last year in Sydney sitting on a plastic tub, writing in the garage.|
|Every now and then I spend a day at the beach writing and walking and writing and walking.|
Do you keep regular writing hours? What are they? If not, when do you write?
In theory I keep regular hours. In reality, not so much. Currently I handwrite three pages in my ‘Morning Pages’ book at 6.00 am, before moving on to my manuscript. I stop at about 7 for breakfast and then write from 8-11 (I’m usually late getting back into it). I do email and web stuff and meetings and business from 11-3. This changes when I have to go out to speak but I return to this ritual whenever I am home. Like most children’s authors, I also spend 60-70 days a year on the road talking about books and bringing them alive.
|I always keep some of my favourite books close at hand. It’s inspiring just to see the spines.|
Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
Trying to start at the same time each day, freewriting in my morning pages book, drinking green tea, listening to the soundtrack for the book, looking at pictures that relate to my story. I try to stay away from the web if I can because I quickly disappear down rabbit-holes and it devours writing time.