Confessions of a Literary Traveller – Lorna Cook
Confessions of Lorna Cook, The Forgotten Village – Tyneham
The author of The Forgotten Village is here today to talk writing and confess why her laptop stays at home when travelling. She writes novels based on history mixing fact and fiction in a rich tapestry. So, how does she do it? What is life like for a writer who lives in such parallel worlds? Confessions of a Literary Traveller – Lorna Cook tells us more…
Describe how it feels being on the road as a writer.
I’m very luck as writing is now my full time job and I’m even luckier that I get to travel around and research all in the name of ‘work.’ There’s always something wonderful, some snippet of historical information at a National Trust property or equivalent that I make note of and file away for future use. I can’t imagine I’ll ever take this working life for granted. There’s always something joyous to be found in every working day and I don’t think that’s true of all professions.
How hard is it to write, travel, do events and still find time for family and for reading?
I’m lucky that I write at home and have an almost rigid policy of not writing while away. My husband would kill me if I corrupted our family holidays by staying glued to my laptop, I do it enough at home. I don’t even take my laptop away anymore. It lives on my desk, which defeats the object of it being portable, I suppose.
What do you do and where do you go?
I will confess to scribbling the odd note down in a notebook while I’m away. I’ve just returned from the Scottish Highlands, which is the setting for my second novel The Forbidden Promise, due out Spring 2020. There’s nothing quite like visiting a location where your book is set to annihilate any chance of inaccuracies. For example, it only truly gets dark in summer in the Highlands at 11pm and then it’s light again around 4am. There could have been some glaring issues in the novel if I’d not known that, as a lot of my scenes take place at night. It’s the sights and sounds, (absolute silence in the Highlands so it proved other than the lowing of cattle and the tonal baaing of sheep), the lack of light pollution, the mountains covered in pines—things I could only really have had an educated guess at before immersing myself in it for a week.
Where do you find it hardest to write?
I have tried to write on trains or in cafes, but people can’t resist just looking over and staring at the screen and it totally unnerves me. How I admire all those writers uploading arty Instagram shots of their coffees and laptops in the nearest bijou spot. I just can’t do it. For me, any time when I’m not at my desk or looking after my two little girls is time when I get to attack the pile of books I’ve got lining my shelves or on my Kindle. I attack with gusto. Reading time is precious and learning from other, better authors is a bit of a must when writing is your job!
Do you have a favourite writing spot?
I write from my desk in our converted attic space. It’s got wide, open windows and far reaching views of the sea. I’ve made it a really lovely little office and have even installed a Nespresso machine and a fridge for milk. Complete game changer. I am suitably caffeinated at all hours of the day while writing and don’t have to go downstairs for coffee now where I’ll undoubtedly find distraction by doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher and all the other chores I try to avoid while writing.
What a lovely picture you paint Lorna!