My Writing Room – by Caroline Vermalle

It took me 5 years and 7 novels to finally have what I can call « my writing room ».

Before that, I was writing pretty much everywhere, from the kitchen table to my bed to the nearby café. I travelled 8 months with my family while finishing a book : I remember writing on a toilet seat on a farm of 15 000 sheep in New Zealand, in a park during a (very loud) national holiday celebration in Bali, in a car where it was so hot I was afraid my computer would melt. Usually I just need to put headphones on and the world disappears.

Now we have just finished building a contemporary house in a forest, half a mile from the beach in Vendée, France. My office is on a large mezzanine over the double-height main room – so I’m hidden from everyone yet it feels I’m right in the middle of our family home. The mezzanine overlooks very large windows filled with beautiful tall, pine trees – but visitors to my writing room are rather puzzled that I turn my back to them.

Instead, I face a floor-to-ceiling library, with all the books I use for research and inspiration, all my favourite novels and story-filled objects I brought back from my travels. It’s the kind of library I always fantasized about, it sums up what I love about the path I chose ; looking at it makes me happy. A great state to be in when one writes.

My library seems to make my black cat happy too : he sleeps in one of its niches. I’ve emptied a shelf just for him, but he prefers hiding behind books – so inevitably, they all drop on the floor.

But it’s ok. We work well together.

Caroline Vermalle

Caroline Vermalle was born in 1973 in French Picardie. After her studies in Film Studies she made a documentary for the BBC. She returned to France in 2007 and published her first novel a year later. The novel earned prizes such as the Prix Chronos de littérature 2011 and the Nouveau talent 2009.

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