This is the latest instalment in an occasional series of blogposts, in which some of our authors and illustrators share their favourite writing spots. Today Olivia Tuffin, whose debut series will launch in June with The Palomino Pony Comes Home, shows us around her family farm…
Living in a small, but perfectly formed house on my husband’s family farm, I’ve learnt to be fairly creative when it comes to where I write. I have turned a small corner of our bedroom into my writing space, where I keep an old family desk. I have a pin board next to it where I thought I could put up notes and ideas, but it seems to be just full of pictures of my ponies, and some of my favorite rosettes, as good as inspiration as anything I suppose. If I slide my chair back, and look out of the window, I can see our four horses in the paddock at the end of the garden. They like to doze under the tree that borders their field.
I love writing at my desk in the winter, with a mug of earl grey, and I equally love writing in the summer, when the sun has finally gone down, and my husband is out harvesting, late into the evening. I like the way the tractor lights whirl round the room as he passes the house at regular intervals, hauling grain. Last summer most of my writing was done at this time, when the house was quiet, and the air was still warm, only broken up by the odd trip into the farm yard with a flask of coffee. Farmers, like writers, have no set hours!
I write in other places as well. In the height of summer, I have a picnic table in the ponies’ tack/feed room which I can take my tablet out to. The tack room sounds a funny place to write but when it is full of new baled hay, it’s the best place on the farm! It’s cool and shady, and I am often joined by our Shetland who wanders in and out. I mostly write straight onto my tablet, but I carry a notepad in my bag, just in case. However I tend to keep most ideas just in my head, and think them over and over, rather than writing them down. Once I have thought a story through, I just start, and see where it takes me. So my favorite place to work is not even at a desk, it is out hacking on my Exmoor pony, Mossy. Sometimes I ride out with my husband on his big chestnut horse, but he likes to go much faster than me. So when I ride alone, wandering around Dorset, at Mossy’s preferred speed of ‘steady’ I am able to imagine stories, characters and ponies, over and over and over. Most of my ideas have come from my ‘mobile desk!’ There is no better place to be for a writer who never outgrew the pony mad stage!
You can read the first chapter of The Palomino Pony Comes Home below, or pre-order the book online here.