Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Writers Write: JM Forrest

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!

Where Writers Write is a weekly series that will feature a different author every Wednesday as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is J M Forrest, author of humorous fantasy novel Orders From Above, published by Cosmic Egg Books, and a self-published collection of poetry, Reflections.

Jane achieved an Honours degree in English when she was 40, and followed that with an MA in Creative Writing ten years later. Her main interest is anything to do with the paranormal.

She lives in a small Wiltshire village with her Greek husband, George, and crossbreed dog, Darcy. You can find out more about her on her website,

Where JM Forrest Writes

I have scribbled stories and poems practically since I learned to write, so over the years I have sat on many chairs at many desks and tables. When I was younger I wrote, of course, with pencils and pens, and then, having learned to type when I started work, I progressed through manual and electric typewriters to word processors, desktops and laptop computers. Still though, I craft poems using pen and paper before putting them onto computer, crossing out and re-working as I go, until I end up with writing all over the page in different directions. Stories and novels are typed start to finish, as I feel a real connection from brain to fingers to keyboard when working on prose, and I can type just about as fast as I can think.

I've lived in my current home for nearly 6 years, a place bought as a DIY project. As we were transforming it I was too busy to write much, but when I did, it was usually at the dining table. This meant having to clear everything away so we could have our evening meal there, and putting it all back out again the next day.

Producing Reflections in 2011 meant taking over my husband's office as well as the dining table, as that's where our printer is, and formatting is so much easier on the bigger screen of his PC.

Fed up with me totally usurping his space, George offered to build me a studio in the garden. Well, I could hardly say no, now could I? And here it is, complete with beamed ceiling to match the house:

My own attempts at art hang on the walls, my favourite books and CD's are in the bookcase, and special gifts from special friends are on display. I absolutely love it. To the left as you look in, there are cupboards on the wall, and a long worktop where I can spread out my papers if I'm writing, or work on my creative hobbies of making greetings cards and stained glass Christmas tree decorations.

The writing desk started out against the back wall (not good, according to Feng Shui, as I had my back to the doors), then it was against the side wall. I recently moved it to how it is here, facing the double doors, and hence the lovely view to our garden and beyond.

This is my place. I still sometimes use the office and the dining room, but no-one is allowed into my studio without invitation. Oh, except for the dog. He's welcome everywhere!

It can take me ages to settle down to a writing session, as I am excellent at finding displacement activities: moving furniture around /defrosting the fridge /tidying my wardrobes / playing Spider Patience. But when I do get started, I'll work for many hours at a time, with just a few brief breaks to make tea, coffee, or something to eat. I get right inside the story, to the point where I think it is more real than anything else around me.

When I need to get away from the laptop to think about my characters and plotlines, I take Darcy across the beautiful fields nearby and let Nature help me to focus. I talk out loud, acting out the dialogues to ensure they sound authentic. At first, this alarmed quite a few fellow dog walkers, but I think now they are used to seeing this crazy woman strolling along, gesticulating and chattering away to herself!

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