I have a little room at the top of the house where it’s quiet. I tried to make it a space where I would always want to be by filling it with my treasured things – pictures, mementos, all my books are up there – but then I made the mistake of putting in a ridiculously comfy giant armchair. It’s a very sunny room, always warm (to stifling) because the immersion heater is hidden in one of the cupboards. There have been many many occasions when I am supposed to be working when the call to nap just becomes too much. I love snoozing on that chair, it’s like hibernation.
Lined along the back of my desk – which looks down on the garden with all its distractions of birds at the bird tables and neighbours’ cats – and then, inevitably, trying to scare the neighbours’ cats away from the birds at the bird tables before there’s a massacre – I have copies of each of the foreign editions of all my books. I’ve been published in about 25 countries now. I love seeing how they’ve translated the titles and what choices they made for the covers. They have been anything from amazing pop art (Sweden) to a very graphic line drawing of a half-naked woman in black and white, that looked like it might be porn (Turkey). I’m immensely proud of all of them and it’s always exciting when a new one arrives in the post.
Also on my desk is a card my best friend sent me when I re-signed with Penguin after delivering my first book (Getting Rid of Matthew). It’s a photo of a woman from, I would guess, the 60s, dancing, and in the air in front of her is a Siamese cat that looks like it’s flying. On the photo, in marker pen, she had written “Jane and Ollie (my Siamese lookalike cat) celebrate her new contract’. It’s been there so long that the writing has completely faded and disappeared but it always makes me smile because it reminds me of how excited I was that I was getting the chance to have 2 more books published. I’ve just signed up for another 2 books with Penguin – which will be numbers 6 and 7. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.
The pictures on the wall are a mixture of personal (a photo of my dad and his 2 brothers taken in the 1930s, my framed letter from Blue Peter telling my 9 year old self I’d won a badge); work related (a poster showing all the books that were Richard and Judy picks the year Getting Rid of Matthew was one, a Dutch poster advertising Got You Back); and things that I just like to look at (a photo of Central Park). I pretend the Blue Peter letter is there ironically. Secretly I consider it one of my greatest achievements.
I wrote to tell them I thought my dog might be related to one of theirs because they looked alike, and they sent me a badge for that. Gotta love Blue Peter.
Skeletons by Jane Fallon is published by Penguin and costs £7.99.
The next stop on the tour is She Loves To Read – head over there tomorrow for your next Jane Fallon instalment.