I’m delighted to welcome Maggie Cammiss. Over to you Maggie, tell us all about where you write!
Hi Georgia, thank you for visiting my writing place today. I’ve had a quick tidy up!
I’m fortunate to have a room to write in, and a door that I can close when necessary. It’s got all the usual accoutrements – a desk with PC, a filing cabinet and printer and a bookcase full of how-to books (some more useful than others), the usual range of literary reference books and style manuals. There’s also a large collection of back issues of Writing Magazine and numerous files full of writing ideas, rough drafts, manuscripts and old notebooks that might come in useful again one day.
It’s close to the kitchen, for those all-important and life-sustaining cups of tea and biscuits, and where the radio twitters away to itself all day, just within earshot. I try not to keep a lot of stuff in my writing room but I love stationery and other writing paraphernalia. I am very easily diverted and for this reason I face the wall, not the window, when I’m writing. If I really need to concentrate, I keep the door firmly closed – a signal to my husband that interruptions are not welcome, unless he comes silently, bearing tea, then disappears, like a wraith, without a word.
I occasionally write longhand in the conservatory, which is a lovely, bright and airy room.
I thought I was being clever when we first moved into the house, and put my overflow bookcases in here. Alas, the sun did its damage immediately, and many of the spines of the books were bleached white over the course of one hot summer.
The watering can was painted my late father who was a talented artist and master sign writer. He was descended from people who lived on the water and he decorated many items in traditional canal-ware designs. Nowadays, we are very lucky to have the Norfolk Broads on our doorstep and walking by the water for an hour or so is a great way to solve any knotty plot problems.
There’s no rhyme or reason to why I keep these particular books; most of the fiction went to charity shops before we moved here. I don’t have a sentimental attachment to many, though some, like the Robertson Davies trilogies, made such a huge impression on me that they just had to stay. These days I borrow from the library so they don’t mount up, otherwise I press them onto visitors if they so much as glance in their direction. I stopped lending books a long time ago because they rarely return, so now I consider all loans as gifts and buy new copies if I really want to keep them. So far, I’ve bought four copies of William Boyd’s Any Human Heart because I want everyone to read it.
I worked in television news for the majority of my working life and my first two novels are set in a fictitious newsroom. I had decided to call it a day on this scenario until a fellow member of my writing group suggested that there was a third story here. I was well into a novel on a totally different subject by then, but the plot for another newsroom story is already starting to form. We’ll see.
In the meantime, here’s a taster of my as yet unfinished next novel, working title, The Second Best Secret. Now the cat’s out of the bag I’m committed to finishing it, aren’t I?
On her knees in the spare room, the one that had been David’s before he’d gone off to university fifteen years ago and had since become the repository of anything and everything that didn’t have a proper home, Julia Rochester scrabbled about among the dust bunnies under the bed and extracted the plastic carrier bag that had been sucked into the ancient cylinder Hoover’s flexible foot.
If ever an activity felt freighted with hope, she reflected, it was spring-cleaning: half-finished projects, abandoned amidst the accumulated dust of the previous months, awaiting rediscovery and revival. She pushed her hair out of her eyes with the back of her hand and peered inside the bag, expecting to find remnants of lace from last summer’s experiment with tatting, a half-embroidered table cloth or a segment of knitted sleeve.
The bag was full of letters.
If that’s whetted your appetite, here are some useful links where you can find out more about Maggie’s books:
No News is Good News
Twitter: @maggiecammiss https://twitter.com/maggiecammiss
Huge thanks for joining us on the blog today, Maggie, and best wishes with your writing!