Today's writing room belongs to the fantastic Victoria Fox. I'm reading her new book TEMPTATION ISLAND at the moment and it is brilliantly wild!
Over to Victoria...
My Writing Room by Victoria Fox
I write in the second bedroom of our first-floor flat in Muswell Hill, north London. When we came to look at the place I knew instantly this was where I wanted to work: it’s warm, cosy and from the window there’s a lovely view of rooftops and other people’s gardens, which is great if like me you’re a) nosy and b) a procrastinator. Mostly I work on the Mac but I also have a smaller – and slightly temperamental – laptop that I stuff in my handbag so I can write on the move. Pen and paper are never far away though. When I’m planning a book I like to scribble bits down, the act of handwriting is a way of ordering things and getting them straight in my head; it’s not the same on a computer.
The Hollywood Sinners cushion is one of my favourite things in the world. My friend Caroline made it (I know: she MADE it) and gave it to me on publication, which was so incredibly kind – it always cheers me up when I’m having a bad day. I also turn to my Girls’ Romance poster (in the red frame) when a plot-point is sticking. It’s actually a magazine cover from the sixties and the girl on the front is locked in a passionate embrace with a barrel-chested, windswept hero and despairing, ‘How could I tell him that my heart was a stranger to love?’ which is just the best thing ever. It reminds me to have fun with the books and not to take them too seriously.
I’ve kept every stage of Hollywood Sinners; hence the stacks of paper piled high up top. My debut went through so many rewrites and it’s good to remember that despite the seeming impossibility of knocking a book into shape it will get there eventually. One copy of the manuscript is more illegible scrawls than actual typed text and is riddled with Post-its, a different colour for each character while I struggled to keep track of what everyone was doing. I thought I’d never make it, it nearly sent me mad – but I did, and it didn’t (much). That’s a great thing to keep hold of.
I’m surrounded by all my favourite women’s fiction: Collins, Cooper, Bagshawe, Chance, the list goes on . . . I like to slip my own book in alongside them – I don’t think the novelty of going ‘That one’s mine!’ will ever wear off. I’m afraid my shelves are filled with clutter. Notably a gnome without his fishing rod on the top left – a friend gave him to me when I left my publishing job because he was always knocking about the office and no one knew where he came from. His name’s Gerard C. Numpty. Next to him is Michel Roux Jr; he’s quite small in this picture so you may not be able to see him but he’s a wonky-legged wooden doll from France who dons a dapper little red and white striped top. They’re my lucky charms.
It’s a modest space and as a result I know every inch of it like the back of my hand. I think this is useful for a writing room, at least for me, because I like to feel contained when I’m working. I’d estimate I spend about forty hours a week sitting here (whether or not that amounts to forty hours’ work is another thing), so I’ve got to love it. And I do.