Pat Flynn is an ex-pro tennis player and prolific author of children’s books with awards and honours in Australia and the US. Here, he takes us inside his creative space during the writing of his new book The Best Ballgirl.
Where did you write your latest book?
In my office near the beach on the Sunshine Coast.
How important to you is the space in which you write?
It’s very important as I can’t seem to write anywhere else. It’s a decent size and comfortable, with everything I need within rolling distance on my chair such as filing cabinets, bookcases and the back door to let in those summer breezes. Having a comfortable work environment is really important because I got RSI in my neck early in my career and I learnt the importance of screen height and posture.
Do you transform your space in any way for each book?
Not consciously. Although my latest book – The Best Ballgirl – is about tennis and right now I can count 5 rackets and about 50 tennis balls in my writing space!
Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
Only in my head. I do like to look at pictures on the Internet of the places that I write about, but I don’t dress up like my characters.
How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
I now have a much better chair, a bigger screen, and one of those clipboards that hangs up next to your computer. Otherwise it serves the same purpose – a place to tell stories using words via a computer. I find the biggest difference is being connected to the Internet all the time. This can be much more distracting than the old days. However, when I get stuck with my story I tend to now stay in my chair, flick over to the Internet, and flick back to my story a few minutes later. Before, I’d get up and walk to the fridge!
Do you keep regular writing hours? What are they? If not, when do you write?
Not really. There are large chunks of the year when there seems to be no time for writing. However, I always seem to write a book over the summer period. When I’m writing I aim to do 1000 words per day until the first draft is done. I seem to get more done in the afternoon and at night. Perhaps I’m still half asleep in the morning?
Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
In the winter a hot chocolate. In the summer, a surf. I try and get a hundred words done before I check the online newspapers but it doesn’t always happen.
Thanks Mr Flynn. Next week another author will take us inside their story world.