and a look at the wonderful DESKS of some of my writing and illustrating friends around the world. This week we spy on the creative space of
. Greg is a wonderfully talented illustrator creating the art behind the
graphic titles (and a whole lot more which you can discover at throughnhis website). We got to hang out in Ipswich a few months ago.
This space is new, less than a year, but just about everything in it I've had for quite awhile.
There are two desks, each claiming a different sort of work territory. The smaller oak desk was picked up in an antique shop around 1993. It's always been the place where I do the “business stuff”; bookkeeping, letter writing, etc. Here it holds up the computer, and nothing serious ever happens with that. It's where everything technical, distracting or duller than drawing takes place.
On the other hand, the best times are when the drawing table gets to live up to it's name. I picked it up at an auction house not long after the desk. There's a little plaque on the underside that says: “Mech. Eng. Dept. University 21 MF 62”, which leads me to think before I drew pictures on it someone was drawing mechanical engineering plans. (Co-incidentally, I did that one summer for the Saskatchewan Power Corporation after art college – my last “real job.”) What's being drawn on it now are more pages of “In For The Krill” and a new book with Captain Congo author Ruth Starke.
Some writers say they enjoy having their dogs in their creative space. Don't know why you'd want to have a smelly dog hanging around the studio when you can have a cat that walks on the desk with her butt in your face and then bumps your drawing hand until she's fed.
Another delightfully "lived-in" creative space. And just love the primate images in his workspace! Many thanks Greg.
Welcome to Look at My desk - My Creating Space
For the first hit out this year I am thrilled to have Katie Davis
who hails from New York. Some of you might have trotted along to my website and seen our photo on my photo gallery
. She is a lovely person who is doubley talented - she writes and illustrate beautiful picutre books.
I sent Katie the invite to these posts about Creative Spaces and she asked if she could reply in a slightly different way to other Creative Spaces posts. Here it is - a look into the creating space of Katie Davis:
As you saw from the introduction to the clip Katie has a new book out that's really for childen's book creators. It's called How To Promote Your Children's Book
and as part of that promotion it is featuring today on this blog. Katie knows just a bit about promtion. Have a look at her trailer for Little Chicken's Big Day
- her recent picture Book. You can see the trailer (for which an award was won) and more about the book here
. She also he has a totally entertaining and creative podcast home called Brain Burps - all about kids lit
You can win a free PDF download of the book
simply by leaving a comment here about a creative way to promote a children's book (that you have written or would like to write). One comment will be randomly choosen and must be posted by 6pm next Friday 10th February SYDNEY time. That is 2am New York Time ... and a whole lot of other times as well. .
And where else is Katie travelling on this blog tour? Here is her Blog Tour Schedule. Do drop by and see what else Katie can reveal.
Feb 1 – E is for Book
Feb 2 – Banana Peel Thursday
Feb 3 – Creative Spaces -- You are already HERE!
Feb 6 – DearEditor.com
Feb 7 – Writing With a Broken Tusk
Feb 8 – Shutta Crum
Feb 9 – McBookWords
Feb 10 – Kerem Erkan
Feb 16 – Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Feb 17 – Fiction Notes
March 1 – 12×12 in 2012
After our travelling around for Bologna and Hong Kong festivals and little holiday we are back on track peeking into the Creating Spaces
of some of my friends. This time we get to Look at the Desk
of my friend Chris Eboch
. Chris lives in New Mexico (USA) where she is the SCBWI Regianal Advisor. We catch up nearly every year at the SCBWI summer conferences (and the winter one too if I am there). It's always fun! Yeah!
The view from the window at Chris' desk is very different to mine!
Here I am at my desk. It’s morning, so I have my big insulated mug of tea, a necessity for getting through e-mail. Behind that is a rose in a vase – I like to cut flowers from the yard for a little color and aromatherapy.
On the left side of the photo, you can see my to-do pile. I have a picture book that I’m reviewing for the NY Journal of Books, a novel manuscript I’m critiquing for a client, some conference notes to type up, and several newsletters with market leads or other information requiring follow-up. This pile tends to grow faster than it shrinks.
My favorite office feature is the window. I love an office with a view! I look out at our planter boxes and the trees in our yard, then across a grassy golf course to the small mountain at the edge of town. I get to watch birds playing in the trees, lizard scuttling along the planters, and occasionally something like a fox (or neighbor’s cat) wandering past. That way I don’t feel like I’m cooped up inside so much, and when I need a break from the computer I can head out to the golf course for a long walk, carrying my digital tape recorder to make notes or dictate a chapter.
I have a microphone on my desk because I use voice recognition software, and a camera on top of the computer because I’m giving a workshop via Skype in a few days. Beyond the photo, on the right, I have bookshelves filled with writing guides, research books (heavy on ancient Egypt, the Maya, and ghost stories), photo albums, copies of my published works, and library books.
And in the middle of the photo, there’s me – hair still damp from the shower, wearing comfy clothes, ready to get to work.
Chris Eboch’s novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh
, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice
, a Mayan adventure; and the Haunted
series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs
. Her book Advanced Plotting
helps writers fine-tune their plots.
Learn more at http://www.chriseboch.com/
or check out her writing tips at http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/
Chris also writes for adults under the name Kris Bock. Rattled Launches
her new romantic suspense series featuring treasure hunting adventures in the New Mexico wilderness.
Read the first three chapters at http://www.krisbock.com/
Here we go - our first International guest. Lisa lives in California, USA, and is the author of the American Girl titles that were illustrated by Sarah! How thrilling to have Lisa here too so read on because this is Lisa Yee' Creating Place:
*********My Creating Place
is less an office and more of a room full of my stuff. Mainly, books and toys, and meaningless (to other people) junk that I've collected along my way to becoming a children's/YA author. Pretty much, every inch of space is taken up, and recently I've resorted to putting my Nathan Fillion/ALA READ poster on the ceiling.
My bookshelves are crammed tight with books, and the autographed ones get their own shelf. (Overflow books are in piles on the floor.) The walls and bulletin board are lined with original art, scraps of paper, and photos. And my desk is a mess, but one of those messes where I know exactly where everything is.
"So much stuff! How can you write with all that stuff?" I've been asked.
True, a lot of stuff. But that stuff is what memories are made of. How could I not write in my room?
**********Lisa's latest title
, out right now, is Warp, Speed
(Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic).
Other recent releases include:Aloha, Kanani
and Good Job, Kanani
(American Girl - which were illustrated by Sarah Davis
, whose desk was featured last time), and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes)
DO drop in to see Lisa's website
- and do look out on her site for Peepy!
And this week we get to peer into the Creating Place of Libby Hathorn.
I’ve always wanted a serene writing environment with the ‘accoutrements’ of writing around me creating a space both physical and emotional but always inspiring. I work in a book-lined study at a large-ish desk. If I look up from my desk I see the garden and it’s a good place to let the eye rest and the mind wander. Often I collect things to do with the book in progress, so gum leaves whilst writing Thunderwith, pictures of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon whilst writing Zahara’s Rose, many, many poetry books whilst compiling The ABC Book of Australian Poetry. But other things like my crocodile pen, greeting cards, postcards, or photos end up scattered here for a while because they constitute something ‘sparky’ to me...It ‘s a changing place though, depending on the work in progress.
Today in My Creating Place:The bust of child
- my muse a gift from my husband John when we were in NormandyNotebooks
- filled with anything and everything from scraps of novels to lists of chapter heads or title names, the odd poem.Folders
without labels that say something to me e.g. Indian cloth-bound folder always means the book I’m working on now.The composers
- two small bust of Verdi and Puccini whose music, along with Ella Fitzgerald’s is always inspirationalTeapot
for the necessary 101 cups of tea whilst work is in progressFlowers
-whatever is in seasonLatest book
at pages stage I Love You Book
with the fantastical illustrations of Heath McKenzie
.Libby's Latest book
:The ABC Book of Australian Poetry; a treasury for young people
ABC Books, 2010Other recent books:Fire Song
ABC Books. 2009. Zahara’s Rose
IP Kidz, 2009Georgiana; Woman of Flowers
, Hachette, 2008. Winner Society of Women Writer’s Biennial Awards 2009.
You can find Libby at her website here
Thrilled to have here for the latest instalment of My Creating Space my fantabulous friend Wendy Orr. We don't see each other often but communication in cyberspace is the next best thing. Wendy of course wrote the wondeful Nim's Island which wa made into the movei that starred Jodie Foster. How grand - and Wendy has some great'red carpet' photos on her website too. But for now, read on to discover Wendy's Creating Space and look - another Ikea desk is mentioned.
For the first time in my life, my creative space was designed especially to be my office when we built the house. I was actually quite happy in the odd spaces I had in houses before, but I love this.
I wrote my first books on an old kitchen table, then an IKEA desk my kids had finished with, but a few years ago I had this desk purpose built: lots of room for files, a keyboard drawer, a hole for that messy spiderweb of cords: perfect. Then I had these bookcases built from two blackwood trees that were knocked down in a storm – a long wait of milling, drying, and finally building, but absolutely worth it! The only problem is that they’re not elastic, so books are already being stacked in odd places.
Besides books, I’ve got teddy bears that belonged to each of my parents as well as my kids, a Folkmanis chameleon puppet that the Nim’s Island producer, sent me because it reminded her of Fred, the princess puppet that Red Balloon Books in Minneapolis gave me at the Princess and her Panther
launch… the only rule is that everything on display has to make me feel good. The walls have awards, illustrations from my books, a portrait of the Alex Rover hero that was under the writer’s desk in the film and the freestanding movie poster jammed behind the couch. The back of the sliding door usually has maps for the work in progress (I’ve just taken Raven’s Mountain’s
And I’m lucky enough to have a beautifully peaceful green view out my windows… (and a massage table from when I’ve sat at the computer too long!)
and i thought it most important to add this photo too ... with a few pieces from the MOVIE!
This is my friend Bruce Hale. Aloha! Bruce inhabits Hawaii (USA) and we always have a catch up at the Annual summer conference in LA. And Bruce loves geckos ... so that HAS to be a good thing!
Read on now and find out more about bruce and his Creating Space - we do have a lot in common: a love of animals, ikea desks and a short trip to the kitchen!
I cannot lie — my room is a mess. I delayed writing this piece for a couple of months, hoping to catch my workspace in a clean state before documenting it. But this weekend, the truth struck me like a wet fish across the chops: it’s always messy. And in those rare instances when the desktop is clear, it’s just waiting for the next project, the next avalanche of paper.
Luckily, I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t mind a reasonable amount of mess. Sitting at this desk, I write novels and picture books, create illustrations, and generally stir up trouble. Above the computer hangs a timely reminder from my spiritual advisors, Ben & Jerry: IF IT’S NOT FUN, WHY DO IT? Gecko talismans are everywhere, from the beanbag geckos I use as paperweights, to the Chet Gecko standee by my light table, to the framed original artwork from the cover of THE MYSTERY OF MR. NICE.
Secreted about the space, I’ve got oodles of animal figurines. A replica of the Maltese Falcon sits on the little bookshelf above my computer; cats and elephants and alligators peek out from various shelves and nooks; and I’m just beginning to expand my collection of windup critters.
I put this desk set together with my own hands and an Allen wrench, courtesy of my good friends at Ikea. The iPod dock keeps my ears happy. The keyboard and chair are ergonomic, and my kitchen is only a 30-second walk away.
All in all, the perfect workspace for me.
Bruce's Latest books are:Snoring Beauty
and another terrifi Chet Geko title, Dial M for Mongoose
You can find Bruce here
at his website http://www.brucehale.com/
. And if you want to find out more about writing then you might want to subscribe to Bruce's monthly newsletter The Inside Story
through the Bruce Hale Writing Tips
website. Go on, check it out!
Welcome to the world of Paul Collins, author and publisher. This post is a great insight into the life of a small independent publisher. Just look at that floor (yes this blog is about desks but the floor has cropped in here!)
These are Paul's words about bis Creating Space - including his floor!
Everything I publish at Ford Street basically evolves here in the study. Yep, that's the unsolicited pile on the floor -- but at least it's always in my view, so gets its due attention. During the past four years the study has housed over thirty titles from authors and illustrators such as Susanne Gervay, Anna Pignataro, James Roy, Alyssa Brugman, Gary Crew and David Miller. I've also written many books from here -- possibly forty over the past eleven years. These include Wardragon
, the fourth book in The Jelindel Chronicles
, The Hiveborn
, book three in The Earthborn Wars
, the entire Grrym
trilogy (in collaboration with Danny Willis) and the first book, The Spell of Undoing
, in the new Quentaris series. The speakers agency side of Ford Street, Creative Net, also gets organised from here.
On the desk is mostly flotsam, such as receipts (I really should file them the moment I get them, but don't), unread manuscripts, publishing schedules (on the stand), Ford Street titles, and the usual lamp, phone, computer, printer, etc.
I love huge surface areas from which to work. I can guillotine paper on my desk, do mail outs -- you name it. I just shove stuff aside and away I go. I bought the desk from an import shop that was closing down. Most of their stock came from Indonesia. It's a solid table. Don't ask me how much it weighs but it's a mongrel to shift. And it doesn't come apart for easy removal.
My study also houses every book and short story I've written. That shelf on the right has over 140 magazines, journals and anthologies that contain my fiction and articles. Opposite, out of the shot, is a shelf full of books I've either published or written.
Paul's latest books are:The Glasshouse
(illustrated by Jo Thompson) 2010Mole Hunt, book #1 in The Maximus Black Files
And now for the desks of Meredith Costain. She is another creator who likes to spread out. One desk just isn't enough! Of course Meredith isn't in this snap of her Creating Space ... but her companions are.
My study isn’t the tidiest of places but it has everything in it I need to write.
I work at two old second-hand desks that have been joined together so I can spread my stuff out comfortably across them. There are shelves full of notebooks and folders that contain ideas, drafts and research material (I write both fiction and non-fiction) and several bookcases full of – books! Some of the props I use for school visits (such as the dogs and cat from Bed Tails
) live on top of my filing cabinet and others wait quietly in cupboards, ready to spring into action.
I also have another old leather-topped table I’ve had since I was a student, which is great for storing ‘overflow’. My (real!) cat Harriet often sleeps and dreams on top of this and my dogs Jack and Molly in a basket underneath. Dogs just like to be with you, whatever you’re doing.
The artwork above my desk comes from some of my books. There are illustrations from Musical Harriet by Craig Smith, the cover of Oliver’s Egg by Margaret Power, and a drawing to celebrate the release of Get a Life with Freddy and Fifi, by Leigh Hobbs. Outside the window is a sunny north-facing courtyard with goldfish in an old bath-tub and fruit trees full of (noisy!) possums and birds. It’s an old house so my study is often full of spiders and even the odd gecko. It’s a lovely place to work
and I couldn't not add this photo that Meredith sent. Companions are very very important.Meredith's
latest titles are:
My Life in the Wild: Cheetah
My Life in the Wild: Penguin
Dance Academy: Tara – Learning to FlyRecent
Rosie and Ned and the Creepy Cave,
A Year in Girl Hell
And don't forget ot see Meredith's website
So, for this look into Creating Spaces we are welcomed to the desk of the wonderful Doug Macleod. He is shortlisted in this year's CBC Awards for his wonderful fun read The Life of a Teenage Body-snatcher. I loved this book.
Doug is great ... so read on!
|at the desk|
This is the room where I write. Believe it or not, the rest of the house is tidy. This room is off limits to everyone but me.
The tangle of cables is not aesthetic but makes perfect sense to me. All of my reference books are behind me, on those wire shelves you can just see. I have a Macquarie dictionary, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary, style directory, world atlas and encyclopedias of art, music, medicine, biography and history. I've had them for years, even though I tend now to resort to Wikipedia when I need to know how many children Queen Victoria had, or which country has the most sheep. (The answers are nine and China.) You can see my spectacles resting on top of one of my notebooks, next to the printer. If I'm away from my desk and I happen to get an idea for a story, I jot it down. I'm the only person who can decipher my handwriting, so my ideas are perfectly safe.
My book, The Life of a Teenage Body-snatcher
, was written in this room, during a particularly hot Melbourne summer. A minor disaster occurred. My desk used to have a very stylish glass top, but it decided to shatter one day. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the computer survived. But the floor was covered in little cubes of glass. Since I was judging a story contest at the time, I had manuscripts all over the place, many of which had to be carefully vacuumed. That wooden desktop you can see is a cupboard door that I bought at Ikea. It's proved more reliable than glass.
I like to start writing at about seven o'clock in the morning. At nine I get some exercise, then I get back to writing, pausing briefly for lunch. I live in St Kilda so there are excellent cake and pie shops all over the place, hence the need for regular exercise.
Ah - the need for good shops nearby. Thanks for this Doug ... keep up the exercise.
titleThe Life of a Teenage Body-snatcher
Doug's website is here
. Go and visit where you can even find out about another side of Doug's life - his writing for TV and heaps more!!!
Welcome to the desk of my terrific friend from Utah (USA) Sydney Salter. Sydney also contributed to my 12 days of Christmas last year. You can see that here. But now, here is Sydney's Creative Space. Just look at her desk, and bookshelf and more....
I suppose that my laptop is my real creative space. While drafting a new WIP, I often head to a coffee shop—or other public place—where I can eavesdrop on conversations as I compose. I actually keep a list of all the locations where I’ve worked on a particular story—like the chapter of Swoon At Your Own Risk that was composed on a ferry boat in stormy weather.
At home I’ve taken over part of our living room for my creative space. I like the open feeling of high ceilings, big windows, no doors, and having my biggest bookshelf in view. I can also peek out at my neighbors riding bikes, walking dogs, mowing lawns, etc. I feel less isolated from the rest of the world in the middle of the living room. Now if only I could keep my desk clean!
Little toys and inspirational mementos clutter my desk. I keep a small frame of quotes near my computer. (“Others will underestimate us, for although we judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, others judge us only by what we have already done.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) A jar of pink cupcake sprinkles adds a bit of fun.
I also amass a group of figurines and things relating to my WIP. Maybe you can guess the subject of my most recent novel?
My turtle collection is my favorite part of my creative space. Over the years I’ve gathered a small army of tortoises and turtles to remind me to have a tough shell when it comes to rejection or criticism, and that slow and steady wins the race.
Writing can sometimes be frustrating and lonely so I try to make my creative space playful.
See more of Sydney here at her website
titles are:My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters
, Harcourt/GraphiaJungle Crossing
, Harcourt Children's Books