I’d imagined that the little back bedroom that overlooks the garden would be fine for me to squeeze a chair into and sit with my laptop, tapping away. But Mr B had other ideas – it wouldn’t be a spare guest room (we have eight children between us, all of whom come to stay with varying degrees of regularity) for me to camp in, but my own writing room which occasionally may have to be converted into a guest room if space was tight. This totally altered the dynamic of it for me and made me very excited indeed. Mr B is very good about my “bits and pieces” but his children, unused to such strangeness, have shown puzzlement and even disgust at my collection of bones, skulls, snake skins, stones and bits of wood. I also have loads of cards and pictures (mostly of hares, crows and owls!) that people have given me over the years and which I’ve always wanted to cover the walls with. I have many pretty, sparkly things that need to be dangled and draped. And as for my reference books …
Before Yule, I decided to paint my room. It was a pale minty green which was nice, but didn’t feel right. I opted for a vibrant shade of purple – one of those ones that they mix up for you in the shop to just the right shade – and it’s called amethyst something. It’s gorgeous. The room is very small but perfect for me. All the furniture is “recycled” (lots from e-bay) and I have the old wicker chair I sat in whilst doing the re-writes of the first four books. I was going to chuck it out when we moved house as it’s enormous and very tatty, but it’s great for writing in. You can sit all day in it without getting back or neck ache and there’s room for a cat to lie behind your head and another to curl up by your side. I’ve covered it with a wonderful Celtic dragon throw I bought ages ago at an MBS event. The room isn’t finished yet (can’t find the box with all the natural objects in, nor the cards and pictures!) but my books are on shelves and it feels just right in here already.
So now I’m sitting on this chair and Book 5 is jostling in the wings of my imagination. I didn’t get terribly far yesterday. Someone (sorry – I can’t look back and check who whilst writing this) said it was 95 days I think – is that right? Does that include weekends? I had a panicked few hours when I couldn’t find a load of research I’d already done two years ago for Book 5. It was pretty extensive and took me ages, on all sorts of subjects which I can’t tell you about as it would give the plot away completely. Yesterday I decided to read through it all but couldn’t find it anywhere on my laptop. Panic!! But later on I did find it, in a folder called “Shadows”. How daft.
I’ve also started a quick re-read of Shadows to get me right back into Stonewylde. It’s very, very strange reading your own book – a bit like contemplating your own grown-up children really. You know you created them, you remember them as little ones who needed nurturing, but now when you look at them they’ve become something entirely wonderful and separate and surprising. You simply can’t believe they ever sprang from you.
Tomorrow I shall tell you about the Virginia Woolf connection. It involves a cup of tea and a very lovely bookseller in the Staines branch of Waterstones. But now the red kites are calling outside and I need to get back to Clip and Cherry who are waiting for me in Clip’s tower. I also need to find all my planning notes for Book 5. I like to record my research on the laptop but I do all the planning and plotting in a big hardbacked notebook. I hope it wasn’t lost in the move!