By Anna Campbell
After many years of writing from the corner of my Sydney bedroom, with a gorgeous view of the back of the next-door block of flats, it's been wonderful settling into my current office. A whole room! Whoopee! Big storage cupboards! Yeehaw! Filing cabinets, thanks to a thoughtful present from my brother for my birthday! Yippeeeee! Not to mention, two desks, a big bookcase and a view. I'm as happy as that infamous pig in mud!
In celebration of my beloved new environment, I thought I'd pick five things that accompany me every day as I work, and share them with you. Little things but with a big impact for me - they never fail to make me smile.
Firstly, I have my Newfoundland puffin which my good friend and fellow travel nut Lindsay gave me after she did an amazing trip to Alaska and Canada. I've only ever seen puffins once, when I did a wildlife tour from the Isle of Mull in Scotland. They're amazing birds, full of vivid personality. It was a magical day visiting the Treshnish Isles and seeing them nesting and squabbling over each other and setting up for the breeding season. And my toy puffin is graced with a Beatles badge which my critique partner's daughter gave me. Somehow Puffin and Badge belong together (and I've always been a Beatles fan so that brings some lovely associations too).
Then there's a fairly new addition to my menagerie. A lucky bamboo plant, a gift from our own Bandita Buddy Amy Andrews. So far, it's still thriving in spite of my usual toxic touch with green things inside. Long may he reign and spread his good fortune!
I have a couple of cat figurines that I've collected. I love the wonderful, elegant lines of our feline friends. Two in particular are favorites (I count these as one choice - so sue me!). The upright one is a copy of an Ancient Egyptian cat from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He always reminds me how magical I found that city during that first visit - in spite of the fact that I was as sick as a dog (not a cat!) and jetlagged beyond reason. The curled up cat is carved from Welsh slate and comes from a gift shop in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset where I set Untouched. He's so smooth and cool and he sits perfectly in the palm of my hand. And he's so realistic, you can almost hear him purr.
Next on this tour of my favorite things is a gorgeous card that Amanda, one of my oldest friends, gave me to inspire me. She's not a romance reader but she's obviously gathered that sometimes the Frog Prince is the base fairytale for my stories and the heroes need to go through a major character arc to transform into the princes that they really are. The bug-eyed frog always gives me such a giggle! And with that tongue hanging out, you know he's more than ready to fall in love with the wonderful heroine I'm going to give him!
The last of my fabulous five is a little souvenir I've had since 1986 and he's gone everywhere with me. Jonathan, a friend of mine when I lived in London, gave it to me after he went to the Domesday Book Exhibition in Winchester. This cute little guy's name is Rufus and he's the poor monk who did all the writing for the Domesday Book. For those who don't know, the Domesday Book was basically a catalogue of everything William the Conqueror owned in his new kingdom. After his hard day's writing, Rufus used to down a horn of good French wine and drop off to sleep. Know just how he feels (although my wine is generally a local product!).
So do you have anything that shares your days with you and makes you smile? Is it the object itself or the associations it brings to mind? I don't think it's accidental that most of my objects are presents from people I care about or souvenirs of places I love. Come on! Let us into your working world! Spill the beans!
And don't miss the contest fellow Bandita Christine Wells and I are currently running. Just tell us which historical romance heroine you would be and you're in the running for some great prizes including a signed hardcover copy of Untouched and an ARC of Christine's next release, The Dangerous Duke, a signed copy of Scandal's Daughter, a beautiful diary and a stack of signed coverflats. Just visit the contest page of my website for details! Good luck!