Meanwhile, Imogen Howson is here in my electronic salon with a lovely evocation of a writer's summer in her native English countryside. You can also check out her blog, her tweets, and, above all, her books. If you're into fantasy YA with romance elements, she's the writer you're looking for.
It’s July, and I’m in the midst of an English summer. English people do a lot of complaining about our weather, but I’ve been loving our summer so far. We’ve had some gloriously sunny days—I’ve been out in sleeveless tops, which as my daughters would tell you, is pretty miraculous. We’ve had rain, too, of course, but then, that’s what keeps our land green and pleasant, so I’m not complaining about that either.
We live out in the countryside, not far from Sherwood Forest, and every morning when I take my husband to the station I drive through a world of green. When it’s been raining (which, let’s be honest, is quite a lot), even the air seems green—as if the trees and grass aren’t colourfast and the rain draws their colour out, letting it seep into the air as if it’s blotting paper.
I work at home—as well as writing, I’m an administrative assistant at Samhain Publishing—and I love sitting with my coffee listening to the rain rattling on the conservatory roof.
Working at home gets a whole lot trickier when it’s a hot day, though. When I take my younger daughter to school through a blaze of sunlight and come back home to the sun-warm scent of the honeysuckle in the front garden…well, it’s not that easy to go into the cool kitchen and spend the day in front of the much less seductive glow of the computer screen.
I’ve tried taking the laptop out into the garden, or even just the conservatory, but of course if it’s a sunny day there’s no hope of seeing the screen. At least I don’t have to use the laptop for writing, but all the same, there’s something terribly soporific about the reflection of sunlight on white paper, the heat on the back of my neck, the buzzing of our huge fat bumblebees in the lavender. It’s very tempting to shut my eyes, telling myself I need to plan out the next scene, and end up sitting, mindless, soaking up the warmth.
What I need, I’ve decided, is a gazebo, something so I’m not in the direct sunlight, but I’m not stuck inside the house all day either. And a laptop screen that morphs seamlessly from standard backlit to e-ink. And non-glare paper. And if the bees could get just a little bigger they could probably pour my coffee and bring it out to me. Ideal working environment? I think so.