Zoom has brought home to me that none of us is an island, and we are an international community of writers. Among my new Zoom friends of 2020, I count Canadian Suzanne Craig-Whytock, author of Smile, The Dome. Her next novel The Seventh Devil, and short story collection Feasting Upon the Bones, are due to be published this week.
Here’s where she writes her speculative and YA fiction.
My family and I live in a 1906 Victorian home with high ceilings and large rooms. When we first moved in, my husband took a small extra bedroom for an office, but as a high school teacher, I did what I’d always done, which was to curl up on the couch to mark papers with my laptop on the coffee table. Once I started writing my first novel though, I began to long for a special space.
One day, I mentioned to my husband, Ken, that I would love an office of my own. He looked at our very long dining room and said, “I could partition this off for you.” Up went half-walls, French doors, and decorative trim. Ken and I have had an antiques business on the side off and on for years, so it was easy to fill the room with things that make me smile: my bust of Shakespeare, vintage paintings, a beautifully worn leather couch, an antique roll-top desk, an Underwood typewriter from the twenties that reminds me of the one at Hemingway’s home in Key West—very little in the room is new except the curtains and wallpaper. It’s a bright room with a window that always lets in just the right amount of light.
There are a few really special things in my writing space: a rugby ball signed by all the boys I coached that particular season, a collection of Winnie The Pooh ornaments Ken gave me one Christmas, and lots of books, including some of my favorites by Alan Bradley, Emily St. John Mandel, David Mitchell, and Kate Morton. I’ve written three novels and a short story collection in that space, as well as hundreds of blog posts and even some poetry. It’s just a wonderful place to write and I’m thankful every day that Ken was caring enough (and handy enough) to build it for me.