Another of our Crime Cymru authors, Cheryl Rees Price, ventures forth to give us a glimpse of her natural writing habitat. I want that notebook. And that cat.
I used to think that becoming a writer would involve sitting at a computer, the words flowing from my fingertips, and occasionally staring out the window at some wonderful scenery. A bit like Dylan Thomas with his writing shed overlooking the estuary. The reality is quite different. At home I have an office, fully equipped, and shut away from the rest of my house. It is here that I work my day job. More so now where it has become the norm to work from home. This should be the ideal place to write but for me it doesn’t work. Perhaps because I associate it with work but more so because I find cannot write a book on the computer.
All my first drafts are written by hand so all I need is a notebook and pen and I can write anywhere. I have a collection of notebooks given as presents from family and friends. This one is currently being used to write book four in the Meadows series.
I tend write in the kitchen or conservatory in the company of my cats. There is nothing like stroking a cat to help you relax and let your imagination run wild.
I don’t have set hours for writing, I fit it in around work. Each time I take a tea break I pick up my pen and write. I try to write around 1,000 words a day. Late afternoon is probably my most creative time. Once the first draft is finished I transpose it to computer, usually at my kitchen table where I can spread all my notes around me.
The greater part of writing a book takes place in my mind. This is where a story comes to life, characters are created, and dialogue evolves. I think more clearly when I am out walking. I’m fortunate to live in the countryside so I don’t have to travel far to take a hike to waterfall or cave. Saturdays are my time for walking, I pack up a picnic and spend the whole day outdoors.
Walking also has the benefit of finding settings for my books. Sometimes I go out looking for a place to go with an idea and other times it is the place that gives me the inspiration for a story. One such place was a derelict building in Talgarth. I happened across it on my ordnance survey map and couldn’t resist taking a look.
The building was originally named the Brecon and Radnor Joint counties lunatic asylum and opened in 1903. Along with the main building a chapel and mortuary were built. During the second world war it was used for service men suffering from PTSD. I found the building fascinating, atmospheric, and full of potential for a story. It is this location that inspired my stand-alone thriller Blue Hollow, the building became very much part of the story.
Over the years my idea of a writing space has changed and as long as I have a pen, notebook, and plenty of places to explore I find that is all I need.