I've been spending a lot of time in my kitchen recently, but you wouldn't know it from either the way it looks (a certified mess) or from the amount of home-cooked food that hits the table (little, except for what my hubby cooks). Except at Christmas, when I turn out some truly fine candies and cookies, mostly what my kitchen produces is words. See, I'm a kitchen table writer.
I have an office in another part of the house, but it's messy and kind of gloomy despite a huge picture window, and it's shared with a house-rabbit and the family computer–-which means my daughter is often out there. Have you ever tried to write a hot love scene with your teenage daughter sitting six feet away? Sorry, no. Worst of all, when I'm out there, I have no idea what's going on in the rest of the house. I'm isolated.
The kitchen, however, is wonderful. My favorite room in the house, it glows with natural light, cheers me with its buttery yellow-over-white-wainscot walls, and soothes me with a perfect combination of access to the family and few real distractions. I find myself carrying my laptop in to sit at my husband's spot more often than not–-his spot because it puts my back to a wall and lets me face out the back door, often left open so I can see the back yard and the pool. It puts me where the cats can help me write.
The kitchen is an especially fine place to work during the weekdays when everyone else is gone, but it serves fairly well even when people are home–-provided I put my headphones on. Headphones tell the family I'm not available for casual conversation but don't leave me as utterly cut off as the closed door to the office. Mostly, people just pass through (no worries about those love scenes), though if they need to talk, I'm there. Another advantage is that my favorite spot at the table is right next to the laundry room door, which helps me remember to move the clothes into the dryer so they don't have to be re-washed.
Big chunks of IMMORTAL WARRIOR were written at that kitchen table, some amid the bustle of family life and some in the blessed peace of midnight. I'm certain that the pleasure I take in that room made itself felt in the scenes between Ivar and Alaida, both the love scenes and the scenes where they were falling in love. I know Merewyn and Brand visited me there, late one night, and I think you'll be able to tell which scene took shape at my table as I sat in my husband's chair.
We all have our favorite places. I always thought it would be a room of my own, away from everything, and yes, I do need that space sometimes. Sometimes I even leave the house, looking for the antithesis of the TV bar Cheers, a place where nobody knows my name. But it turns out my very favorite place of all is the room that is the heart of my home. It's no surprise that it's also one of my favorite places to write.
Tell us about your favorite place to write or to read. What makes it special to you? Why does it make you happy? Is it the place you always dreamed of, or did it come as a complete surprise?
* * *IMMORTAL WARRIOR is available now through your favorite bookseller. Find an excerpt and more information about Lisa and her books at http://lisahendrix.com and be sure to enter the contest here at Writerspace for chance to win a reproduction Viking amulet like the one worn by Ivar.http://www.lisahendrix.com