A HAUNTED SPACE.
Now, I thought I'd share some intimate details of my writerly life, by revealing my most recent workspace, and a precious studio that I inhabited daily for nine years and ten days. A few readers have asked me to offer an insight into where I work, so, this is a good opportunity and I even took some pictures.
I am sentimental about the places in which I have lived, and particularly those spaces in which I have spent my time meaningfully, not least by advancing my horror to new levels (of productivity and madness). My former office/studio was one of the main reasons we bought the house in 2014, and it was my first dedicated workspace for writing. Prior to 2014, I wrote anywhere that was convenient - kitchen tables, dining rooms, corners of bedrooms, my lap, public transport. And often in shared housing in London. A good grounding, though, because it taught me that I could, and would have to write anywhere if I was to get anything finished. I never became precious; I couldn't afford to be. The luxury of possessing an actual room, dedicated to writing, was a pipe dream. I never coveted the idea and wrote my first six novels and first collection of stories across a plethora of places and spaces, in various countries, towns and cities. So, when it came into my possession, I never took the studio for granted. Inside that space, across nine years, I wrote the entirety of Under a Watchful Eye, The Reddening, Wyrd and Other Derelictions, Cunning Folk, The Vessel and All the Fiends of Hell. I also completed Lost Girl there and wrote the second half of the stories that are collected in Hasty for the Dark.
Added to the prose, I wrote my first four screenplays in that studio. I took hundreds of hours of meetings on film developments too. On my phone, I watched Aston Villa relegated and then come back up from the Championship. Oh the language, the despair! The euphoria. Those long steady hours of endless rewriting. And, besides the writing and my forays into the film industry, this is the space in which I created, and then ran Ritual Limited with my wife. I realised the idea and dream and figured it all out in that room, and then stored the limited edition hardbacks inside with me thereafter. The press has grown each year since its inception and become a family trade - even the little one helps out.
I took something of a sabbatical in 2016 in the studio too, to study indie publishing, and combined that training and research with what I'd learned from eleven years as an editor in trade publishing. In 2018, I took another training year to study screenwriting. So, in that office, that also stored so many of my treasures - my music, film and comics collections - I do believe that I spent my time wisely. It was a great space in which to work and think and dream. A sanctuary. I often passed through the glass doors at 5am and departed after midnight. Soundproof too; ideal if you could hear the music I listen to. Through the doors I could see my fleet of kayaks and the garden that I tended so carefully to promote wildlife. Through the skylight, I gazed at the heavens. On the patio outside the office, I sank a few beers over the years, while listening to music and catching the late afternoon and early evening sun. From the age of three to twelve, my Nipper would race round to see Daddy and smile through the window at me. I loved that studio and I am so grateful to have spent so much valuable time inside it. Leaving it behind was a wrench. Five minutes before we had to leave the premises and post the keys, my daughter and I finished dusting and mopping it for the new arrivals.
I hope they look after it and don't trigger the elaborate system of curses that I left behind ...