Visiting the places where authors have created their book has always appealed. Once when we were visiting the Scottish island of Jura, I drove to one end of the island and then hiked along a dirt track for several miles to see the house where George Orwell wrote 1984. Over the years from Beatrix Potter to Louisa May Alcott, I have made treks and I still have many more treks to make –Agatha Christie’s house springs to mind. And because I love seeing the spaces where authors create, I am sharing my space with you all.
My house dates from 1908 and is an Edwardian bungalow. There are three floors – attic where the nursery and servant’s room used to be, main living space and basement. We opened up the attic and moved the bedrooms up there. I love living in an older house. Our first married home was from the 1820’s and a one bedroom Georgian terrace – all stairs and great for a couple but not for a baby. It still had some of the original decorations like the staircase, built in bookcase and the chair and pictures rails in the living room. It instilled in me a love of old houses and helped foster my desire to write historical romance.
My primary writing area is my study where my husband thinks I should always write. He also likes to close the door on my mess as he calls it. When working, I tend to allow research books to pile up and become intermingled with papers. Originally I shared the space with the children’s toys but they are all grown now.
My study walls are coralline as I fell in love with the color when I finally visited Sorrento about ten years ago. The hotel we stayed at had the color on its dining room walls. Sorrento is of course right near Pompeii and Herculaneum. As I had written about the area during Roman times, it was fabulous to be able to visit. About the same time that the study was painted, we reopened the fireplace and so I was able to choose the tiles and the surround. The tiles are Alphonse Mucha’s Evening. There is a tiny bit of coralline in the tiles so it works. When it is very cold out, I have a fire and have been known to stare at the flames, trying to figure out what happens next in my latest Viking.
I have a moveable campaign desk, apparently it is modelled one used by British officers during the Peninsula Wars. I love writing my Regency and Victorian set novels on it. When not in use, it folds away to be a table (or place to balance more books and papers on!) This enables me to decamp from the computer and work in other places in the house. Because I have lymphoedema in my left arm (basically some people get swollen ankles, I have a swollen arm), I like having my wrists supported and working at a desk. If it is a nice day, I will often decamp to the sunroom which gives me a view out of the garden. However, in high summer, it can become too warm and cause my computer to overheat. My study is north facing and so always cool.
If it is not so nice, I will work in the kitchen as the Aga is always on. An Aga is a cast iron stove which is always on and has a hot plate and a simmering plate as well as two ovens (one hot and the other warm) When we first moved to the house, it was solid fuel (it dates from the 1950’s) and my childhood fascination with Little House on the Prairie paid dividends. There are many reasons we converted the Aga to oil, including the tyranny of having to keep refuelling. We recently put in a log burning stove so the dining room is a possibility as well. Formerly the room could be like ice but I have been surprised how efficient the log-burner is.
I tend not to write outside as I prefer to use my time in the garden for thinking. Pulling weeds can be therapeutic, particularly when the characters are not cooperating.
I hope you enjoyed the brief tour of where I write and I get my inspiration from.
Sent as the Viking's Bride
December 18, 2018
Historical ~Ancient World ~Medieval ~Vikings
She’s the wife he doesn’t want…
…and the woman he needs!
Desperate to escape her murderous brother-in-law and protect her young sister, Ragnhild agrees to marry an unknown warrior, and arrives penniless on his remote island. Only, Gunnar Olafson’s belief in love died with his family—he does not want a bride! But as yuletide approaches, Ragnhild transforms his isolated existence. Can she melt her Viking warrior’s frozen heart?
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods including Viking, Regency, early Victorian, and the Roman world. Born and raised near San Francisco, California, Michelle currently lives a few miles south of Hadrian's Wall with her husband, three children and menagerie of pets. An avid reader, she became hooked on historical romance when she discovered Georgette Heyer, Anya Seton and Victoria Holt in her school's library. Her website can be found at www.michellestyles.co.uk