I am so happy to have Bonnie Vanak as my Workspace Wednesday guest today. I’ve long been a fan of Bonnie’s, and not just of her Khamsin Warriors of the Wind or her Draicon Wolves. Her work in aid of the poor in some of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere has earned my undying respect. Such work is not easy, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those people who do it. Thank you, Bonnie! And thank you for the amazing books, too!
With that introduction, I’ll turn you over to Bonnie.
BONNIE: It’s hard to write with a Shih Tzu on your lap.
As the owner of three rescue Shih Tzu dogs, I’ve learned to share my “office” while writing books. Because I work at a day job and I’m tied to a computer all day long, I prefer a laptop while writing my paranormal romance novels.
While my husband sits on the couch repairing model trains in his extensive collection or watching television, I write. But just because I have the laptop opened, it doesn’t mean the space is mine.
I’ve lost count of how many times the dogs have decided my lap is “their” space and have either walked over my computer to lick my face (Hey, pay attention to me!) or they have stubbornly climbed into my lap and refused to relinquish said space.
Prime real estate, they seem to say. We were here first. That machine must go.
Recently I was writing a steamy love scene for The Phantom Wolf, the next book in The Phoenix Force, a mini-series about Navy SEALS with paranormal powers. There I was, typing:
Kelly made a humming noise of pleasure deep in her throat and slid her hands around the thick muscles of his neck. He muttered something against her mouth and pulled her tight. She played with the fine strands of his hair, enjoying the silk slipping through her fingers… lost in the sensation of his mouth and …
Holly chose that moment to jump onto the couch, and park her butt firmly on the computer keyboard. The love scene ended up looking like this: dkfjkdjafdkajdfkdjfc.,xm vc
I have an office at home. It has a nice desk, a computer and it is organized and holds all my files. The dogs took that over, too. Every time I am in the office, they follow me and look up with pleading, big doggie eyes. So in order to work, I put them on the bed.
Not only do I work full-time, but my job also requires traveling to developing countries. After getting published in 2002, I learned to be flexible and make my office wherever they stamped my passport.
In Haiti, it was often the Hotel Montana (pictured here), where I always stayed while traveling for work. After spending a day in the field, interviewing poor people, I’d retire to the hotel and immerse myself into a world rich with Egyptian sheikhs or fierce werewolves protecting their mates.
Then came the horrific tragedy of the 2010 earthquake inHaiti, which destroyed the hotel and killed 200 guests. The months following the earthquake were spent in a frenzy of work at the day job, and trying to reconcile with the fact that the Haiti I had known was forever gone.
If not for a scheduling conflict, I would have been staying at the hotel during its collapse. That sobering realization changed my outlook on writing books when I travel to Haiti. Now I don’t open the laptop and become immersed in stories. There’s always a sense of tension that prohibits free-flowing creativity. I keep my shoes, clothing and emergency supplies like a flashlight and a bottle of water handy, just in case.
Because of the day job, the dogs and distractions, it’s nice to get out of town to focus on the book. I enjoy traveling to destinations where I can write in a mad frenzy. Just me, the laptop and my imagination.
My office becomes a kitchen table, a chair on a quiet porch overlooking the mountains, or the deck of a cabin in rural Tennessee.
Or a sofa in a ski lodge during the Christmas season (pictured here), where I wrote part of The Empath, my first paranormal romance for Harlequin. The inn became my inspiration for the lodge where Nicolas takes Maggie to join his pack.
The Covert Wolf, my new Nocturne about a Navy SEAL who is a werewolf, was partly written while renting a cabin in Colorado, immersed in how Matt and Sienna hunt for a magick orb they need to find before demons use it to destroy the world.
But no matter where in the world, I make my workspace, my primary office will always my home. It’s there where my husband is ready to support my writing, just as he did 12 years ago when he gave me a “magic wishing star” pendant to encourage me to follow my dream of becoming a published author. Home is where my heart is, where my imagination truly takes flight as my fingers fly over the keyboard to create worlds where brave Navy SEALS risk all for the women they love.
Home is my real workspace, be it the office, the couch, or the Florida room. When I travel, it’s always wonderful to return home.
And when I get there, I know the dogs will be waiting… to reclaim the lap again.
Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing your various writing spaces – and your furry “helpers” – with us!
In my introduction, I failed to mention Bonnie has one of the most amazing imaginations I have ever encountered. Try one of her Draicon wolves books and see if you don’t agree.
Now, it’s giveaway time! Bonnie is offering two signed copies of The Empath, the first book in her fascinating Draicon wolf series, for two lucky winners. All you need to do is comment on this post for a chance to win.