Hannah Vincent, whose debut novel, Alarm Girl was released by Myriad Editions in August last year tells us about her writing room.
I write in bed. I could justify this with the excuse that this way I am closer to the dream state and an unconscious mode in which words and feeling flow but the truth is, my bed is comfy, smells nice and my cat likes it when I write there. It is highly un-ergonomic: I lie with my neck crooked on cushions, typing straight onto an ancient laptop with Twiggy the Siamese pinning down one arm.
I once read that humans crave greenery because of our outdoor ancestry. The view from my bedroom window is bland and grey, which is useful in that it’s not a distraction but sometimes I move to the kitchen table to work. Ours is a topsy-turvy house with an upstairs kitchen that is slightly above the level of the garden, so when I look out of the windows I feel as if I am in the trees with the squabbling sparrows and busy blue-tits.
Another place I like to write is in the quiet carriage of a train. I spent a term teaching Creative Writing at the university of Gloucestershire and my Brighton-Cheltenham commute took ten hours. I completed my first draft of Alarm Girl on the First Great Western line.
Talking of epic journeys, in the photo you can see an Indian bedspread brought back from an overland trip we made from the UK to Kathmandu. We also travelled overland around East and Southern Africa, which is where I had the idea for Alarm Girl. The warthog cushion and the Siamese cat cushion are made by a dear friend of mine, Maria Tilyard (find her on etsy). The bagatelles on the wall are from Brighton flea market and the lamp is another flea market find. I wear the dresses when an occasion arises and alternate them on display otherwise.
My bedside table is a tea chest left for the bin-men by a neighbour. On it, I keep an eye mask because our 1960s bedroom curtains have no blackout so the light wakes me up. I’m not a morning person but since my kids have been at secondary school they leave the house around 8am so I can be at my work station (er, back in bed) and writing by 8.10. I write creatively for two hours and use the rest of the day for my PhD research and/or teaching. I teach Advanced Creative Writing for The Open University and the course is mostly online so this is another job I do in my pyjamas. I make an effort to get dressed by the time my sons return from school.
Our house is very messy. Out of shot in this photo there remain packed boxes from when we moved here six years ago and everything is coated in dust, but if I am to write then I have to ignore such things – which is when that eye mask comes in handy…
Hannah Vincent began her writing life as a playwright after studying drama at the University of East Anglia. Her plays include The Burrow, Throwing Stones (Royal Court Theatre) and Hang (National Theatre Studio). She joined the BBC as a television script editor, working on classic adaptations as well as original drama serials from 1996 – 2001. She now teaches Creative Writing for the Open University. She completed the MA in Creative Writing at Kingston University London in 2012 where she received the Faber MA Prize for Outstanding Creative and Academic Achievement. She is currently studying for her PhD at the University of Sussex and is working on her second novel.
For more information about Hannah, visit her author page at Myriad: http://www.myriadeditions.com/creator/hannah-vincent/ or you can follow Hannah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hannahvincent22
View Hannah’s book, Alarm Girl at The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Alarm-Girl-Hannah-Vincent