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Authors' books

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author's cottages

The first of what I am hoping for today is a set of contributions in which authors tell us something about where they work - the writing table where, as Marian Keyes puts it in her unique way, they do their scribing - and from which we may perhaps get a little insight into their methodologies and their ongoing work and listen to their counsel for those who aspire to a career in literature.

Adele is living in Cambridge with her esteemed graduate Norman Geras (known as the norm in the blog world) and has handed on the literature to her two darlings, the writer and writer Sophie Hannah and the editor Jenny Geras. I' m writing on an M&S desktop with a smooth finish that can be seen in the picture.

On my knee is a three compartment dresser. It is on the first level of the building and has a beautiful sight over the garden......which I do not see because I work with my back to it. So what do you usually have on your desktop? References?

Calendars (beautiful Gwen Raverat engravings, a Christmas present from Linda Newbery), a wonderful Rhian Winslade ceramics jar, two wonderful notepads, erect and not registered. You' ve said that you've turned away from the views at your desktop, so you want an empty room, or does a nice subject or picture help to bring the spirit into focus? No. You're not sure if it's a good idea.

I' ve got an empty shelf in front of me, but if I lift my eye even a little, there's a whole shelf full of them. When I wrote whole cloth-written text I wrote out the whole book and in those times I needed all the letterhead I used.

Nowadays, the draws of my three draws under my desktop are full of glamorous note books, because I still can't withstand them when I see them. My favourite pencils are those with amber, purple, blue, foliage or inks. Before JKR left college, I wrote in cafes.

That'?s where I have written most of my first series. Now, I only use my desktop or maybe the galley on my notebook if I need to be there for some at all. NEVER writing in a hotel, train or café.

I don't mind much when I'm typing. I used to scribble at nights when the little ones were very young. As they went to college, I wrote while they were at college, and for the last nearly 20 years the place has been quite serene. Which distractions you most when you need to type?

So what is currently "on the desk", i.e. your work-in-progress? Took me about 5 years to complete it to my full pleasure, although I wrote short children's literature during that one. I' m putting my research in a cardboard folder or a drop box and there is a nice practice manual with red and white rose in which I am writing various lost thoughts.

Being a very skilled author, what would you say were the best, most worthwhile facets of the writer's lives, and what are the disadvantages, if any? To be a good author is to satisfy yourself: to be your own leader. Authors I've at least known are usually very nice, and the web means that we always chat on line and we get together in groups here and there, and the whole bit has been greatly enhanced by the book blogs that have added nothing but fun to the game.

After all, I really appreciate the book my friends are sending me; I really like to meet other authors and above all I really like being on the jury. Mid-list authors are badly affected, and many great men flee into the small printing machines. This should be written on firewritings above every individual publisher's desks. After all, having spent many long periods "at the desk" over the years, you have developed a very succesful carreer - what would you advise the up-and-coming authors, or those who are already in the printing press and hope to start from there?

More and more authors need a day's work, I think, but that's not so terrible. I would like to thank Adele for giving us this beautiful view over her shoulders at her desktop.

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