Percy, my beloved fluffy little house-rabbit, had to be put to sleep recently, due to compaction of the gut. Yet how I miss him; I miss seeing him frolicking in the garden and his lovely cuddles. I especially miss him when the long hours of writing get to a stage where I NEED his cuddles or to watch him frolic. I also have a cute (often noisy) little Senegal parrot called Solly. Rabbits don’t emit noises per se whereas Solly rarely stops with her squeaks and chatter! She’s a vibrant intelligent little green and orange being and just as endearing a distraction as Percy. As a writer, you see, I do need occasional distractions, to keep things real – otherwise I’d happily disappear into the books I write and zoom off into my characters’ adventures.
My husband and I live in a large one bedroom ground-floor flat. Unfortunately, we don’t have children; I’m sure it would be a lot harder to find the time to write in a busy family household. We’re self-employed and sell bedrooms and home offices, which is useful because we’ve been able to incorporate a home office into our bedroom layout. It has stationery drawers either side for Post-its, pens, note pads, as well as suspended household files and folders. The desk is spacious and there’s a window to my right, with a camellia bush in the spring and swaying roses in the summer which I enjoy when I remember to lift my head from the computer and engage in my surroundings.
There is, in fact, beauty all around me because we live on a quiet country lane. So I force myself to get out and about daily, with walks around the lanes and reservoirs and along the edge of the sea here in Jersey, to give my brain a rest because it would be so easy to get spirited away by what I’m writing.
And being self-employed enables me to pick and choose when I want or need to write. I usually deal with my responsibilities at work and then cordon off two-week periods at a time, so I can hammer away and get all the ideas and scenarios down as quickly as possible before the more difficult, yet just as enjoyable, tasks of editing and re-editing takes over.
The Afternoon Tea Club by Jane Gilley is available now in ebook, paperback and audiobook.