My guest for 26 September 2022 is Celia Anderson as she asks the question – “Is a designated writing space so very important?” Celia has a new book for Harper Collins, Coming Home to Mistletoe Cottage to be published on 27 October 2022. Over to Celia …
Is a designated writing space so very important?
I’m currently a writer on the move…or almost, anyway. After spending my whole life in the Midlands, in what was coalfield country (but to be fair, is now much greener) I’ve always had a longing to live by the sea. My daughters decamped to the north for Uni but then both did an about-turn and ended up on the south coast, finding lovely partners, good working lives and now, miraculously, producing a gorgeous baby each.
After much heart-searching, it’s time to follow them and make a whole new chapter of happy memories – grandparenting, wandering along the seafront and ambling over the downs. In my teaching life, I was tied to this area because I loved the school I worked in so much. Also, to elderly and ailing parents who needed a lot of love and care. Now, these responsibilities aren’t there anymore and although they’re very much missed in many and different ways, I can take off and see the world if I want to.
But what about my writing space? At the moment, I usually work right in the centre of the house, mainly because I’m so nosy. From my desk, I can see a large pond over the fence, complete with ducks and swans, squirrels jumping around in the garden and the street outside (where not much happens, but there’s always a chance it might). Better still, I’m near to the kitchen for tea and coffee, the wine/gin fridge for later and the loo, after too much of either.
And now? The new house, if all goes to plan in this brave new world of solicitors, surveys and contracts, is much, much smaller and has a pocket handkerchief courtyard instead of a garden. It’s quirky and fun, is near to the train station for adventures and trips back to the homeland and barely ten minutes’ walk from the sea. But what am I going to look at while I’m procrastinating? My desk will of course come with me. It belonged to my dear dad and it’s probably my most treasured possession. However, it’s going to need to live upstairs, in a place that will be a visitors’ bedroom, study and wardrobe space combined.
Having said that, although my handwriting is akin to the scrawl of a five-year-old, I can write pretty much anywhere if I’ve got my laptop with me. Dining table, kitchen table, trains, boats and planes and also, quite contentedly, in bed. Where my desk lives shouldn’t be an issue…should it? And will the temptation to drop everything and get out the Playdoh and Lego be too much of a distraction? When the smallest members of the family recently met us at the seaside house to do a recce, it has to be said that the cuddling took precedence.
At the moment I’m juggling like crazy; getting ready for the publication of my first Christmas-themed book, my fourth novel for Harper Fiction, writing the next on my list, which is coincidentally based in and around Brighton 😊, and starting a whole new project – an online course on writing children’s fiction so I can co-author a middle-grade book with a friend after we move. All this, plus sorting through years and years of memorabilia, accumulated furniture and sundry random items that have been gathered in the twenty-six years I’ve been in this house. It’s a confusing time.
Also, living in the centre of the country it’s easy to get to local writing meet-ups. The Belmont Belles based in Leicester are a wonderful source of inspiration, and I’ve loved travelling around Britain to all the different RNA conferences. There are lots of handy writing buddies to talk to within easy reach and many friends/family members who patiently listen to my musings about plot holes etc. I know there are groups on the south coast and nearby, and I even know a few authors down there already, but I’m having sudden flashbacks to gawky schooldays; shy, tongue-tied for once and unsure of whether anybody will ever want to talk to me.
So, to sum up these rambling and somewhat anxious thoughts, it’s time to take stock and give myself a stern talking-to. Writing can happen anywhere. New inspirations will happen, and further books with more than a hint of mystery and magic will materialise. A much-loved desk can just as easily live in the corner of a bedroom as a living room. Walking down a flight of stairs to make a cup of tea is hardly a trial. (Descending for more wine might be a wobbly issue but we’ll deal with that when it happens.)
In short, at sixty-three years old I’m jumping right out of my nest. I’m sure it won’t take too long to feather the new one. The advantages are many;
- Family on hand to hug
- Toddlers to cuddle
- That great big sea on our doorstep
- The south downs a hop and a skip away
- New writing friends to make and groups to join (eek)
- Numerous coffee shops just around the corner – another writing option
- Less rooms to not clean
- Interesting places to explore that will no doubt become the settings for future books
- A whole lot of fish and chips
I think I’m ready. Nearly. Wish me luck!
About Celia Anderson
Previously a teacher and assistant head, Celia Anderson now writes full time and is an enthusiastic member of the Romantic Novelists Association, having graduated from their wonderful New Writers’ Scheme. She writes stories with a strong flavour of magical realism and her fourth such novel with Harper Collins, Coming Home to Mistletoe Cottage, will be published in October 2022.
Celia loves flower arranging but tries to avoid gardening, plays the piano very badly and is a jigsaw addict. She is a doting grandma to Ida and Levi and has tried several times to learn to knit them jumpers without much success (or joy). Some hobbies are probably best left alone.
Instead, she loves walking, reading, having large bubbly baths, eating, and drinking wine. Over the years, research has shown that all of these activities bar the first may be done simultaneously, although this can be messy. Her next ambition is to co-write a children’s book with a friend who has some amazing ideas. Watch this space…
To keep in touch with Celia, her social media links can be found on the following link: https://linktr.ee/celiaanderson
About Coming Home to Mistletoe Cottage
Amid the salt marshes and rolling fields of Periwinkle Bay, Magda Conway is enjoying her retirement in ivy-clad Mistletoe Cottage…
Yet with three weeks to go until Christmas, as the fairy lights twinkle and the trees go up around the village, her peace is disrupted when she’s left in sole charge of her two mischievous grandchildren.
Before long, she’s at her wit’s end—but high on a kitchen shelf lies her mother’s handwritten recipe book. And as she turns to it for advice, she finds more than just recipes between its tattered covers: there’s a pinch of magic too, and maybe even a sprinkling of love . . .
Coming Home to Mistletoe Cottage is published on 27 October 2022 and can be preordered here
Celia’s last book The Secret Gift of Lucia Lemon is only 99p in Kindle version until the end of September!
Years of mystery lie inside, just waiting to be unravelled…
After fifty-eight years of playing it safe, Lucia Lemon wants something more from life. If only she knew what…
Until she receives a package in the post from an old friend that will change her life forever. Inside, she finds a bundle of cash, a collection of old maps, and a beautiful compass that no longer points north.
Holding the compass in her hand, Lucia suddenly feels hopeful – for the first time ever, life feels full of possibility and the open road is calling. If only she’s brave enough to answer it…
The Secret Gift of Lucia Lemon can be purchased on the following link here
Thank you for joining me on my blog, Celia and good luck for both your move and your new book! Mx
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Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook Books, Google Play and at Choc Lit for other options.
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What a lovely piece, Celia, and I wish you luck with both the book and the move. Hope to catch up with you soon. Jenni x
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Yes – the book has gone straight onto my to be read list! 💝
Thanks so much, Jenni – looks as if we might be there by Chrstmas! x
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good luck with your move, Celia, and with the book. I have deep envy as I would love to live nearer the sea! And the grandchildren, although I have 2 in Bristol and 2 in Manchester, so that might prove tricky…. !
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