Drop by Cathy Ace’s writing room and see where the magic – and the occasional murder – happens.
Thanks for inviting me to drop by! I thought I’d take the chance to talk about my writing room, since its redecoration was such a work of passion for me, and it’s made a real difference to my writing life. Interior decorators get it: your surroundings can alter your state of mind.
My writing room isn’t small, but it’s not cavernous. When I began writing in it, rather than just using it as an office, it was in a pretty sorry state. Magnolia walls, a durable yet ugly petrol blue and gray carpet, and cream vertical blinds. I sat and wrote THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE in the room as it was, but I made sure I had lots of photos of Nice in the south of France around me—it’s where that first Cait Morgan Mystery is set. By the time I finished writing that first novel, I knew I wanted to change the whole room, but it was full of books and files and desks and chairs and . . . well, I suppose you get the idea! It was going to be a Big Job.
Luckily my Mum and sister were due to visit, so I enlisted their help to move everything out of the room. I saved up this “treat” until the end of their visit so, as soon as they’d left my home in British Columbia to return to Wales, I got going.
My writing room has dual aspect windows which look out to soaring pines and I often get to watch the bald eagles which wheel above the little mountain upon which I live. I love my rural surroundings and it’s wonderful to be able to look out at greenery all year round. But I wanted a foil against the green, so plumped for aqua. I find the color very restful. It reminds me of Caribbean seas, or swimming pools dappled with sunlight. And I am an art deco nut—so aqua was an easy choice. Aqua and black. Yes, black.
I’ve always wanted a room with black carpet but, given that I have two chocolate Labradors, I knew it wasn’t the most practical choice. However, I reasoned that I was finally going to have the writing room of my dreams, so I hunted down some black carpeting, and also invested in a new vacuum cleaner! Oddly enough, finding plain black carpet is not as easy as you might think!
And that was about it—I kept it simple. Aqua walls and ceiling, then black trim, carpet, curtains, desks, chairs, bookshelves and, eventually, an art deco inspired fireplace in black, which I actually built myself! I added some of my favorite pieces of art and some chrome venetian blinds, and there you have it. My writing room. It’s where I have written three more Cait Morgan Mysteries—THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE, set in wine country in British Columbia was published in 2013 and THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, set in Mexico, was published in April 2014. I’m also excited about THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR, which sees Cait tackling a closed room mystery in Las Vegas! It will be published in September 2014.
I look down the stairs to my writing room and see it as an aqua and black womb inviting me to come and write. I love the room. It allows me to think, invent, create and feel both calm and excited at the same time. I’ll be honest and admit that it is a bit of a pain to keep the black carpet black, as two dogs can carry quite a lot of muckiness on their eight paws, but it’s worth it. I’ll also admit that black shelves do look dusty quite quickly, but I’ve decided to turn a blind eye until it reaches a truly critical point—or someone is coming to visit—then I whip out the Swiffer and get going.
I hope you like the look of the room. The “lady” lamp on the fireplace is named Constance, and I’ve had her since 1984. She’s flanked by two Anubis heads, which I bought on my first trip to Egypt—I followed in Agatha Christie’s footsteps and cruised the Nile, even visiting the room at the hotel in Aswan where she stayed. Writing is my passion—I am so lucky to do it. I think that my protagonist, Cait Morgan, would like the room too. She likes symmetry. She likes order, or the sort of disorder which she feels she can manage. The photo shows my writing room on a “tidy” day. I admit it isn’t always this tidy . . . but I can sit, write and plan to do the filing later. Meanwhile I choose to let the room calm me, and I can be with Cait as she solves her next mystery.
Criminologist and foodie Cait Morgan was looking forward to her dream vacation in Mexico with her boyfriend Bud Anderson. She wasn’t anticipating a fresh corpse on the floor of a local florist’s shop, and she definitely wasn’t expecting Bud to become the prime suspect.
With Bud’s freedom, and maybe even his life, at stake, Cait has to fight the clock to work out which member of the small community living in the seemingly idyllic municipality of Punta de las Rocas might have killed the locally respected florist, and why. Needing to investigate under the watchful gaze of the local police, Cait has to keep her relationship with Bud a secret, and she soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. Peeling back layers of deceit to reveal even more puzzles, Cait struggles with a creeping sense of unreality, desperate to save Bud . . . and, ultimately, herself.
In the third book in the beloved Cait Morgan Mysteries, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, travel to the idyllic Mexican countryside as Cait Morgan works against the clock to clear her wrongly accused partner of murder.
About Cathy Ace:
Welsh Canadian mystery author Cathy Ace is the creator of the Cait Morgan Mysteries, which include The Corpse with the Silver Tongue, The Corpse with the Golden Nose, and The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb. Born, raised, and educated in Wales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe, before immigrating to Vancouver, Canada, where she taught on MBA and undergraduate marketing programs at various universities. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food, and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travel, which she continues whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy’s short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, as well as on BBC Radio 4. She and her husband are keen gardeners, who enjoy being helped out around their acreage by their green-pawed Labradors.
Twitter = @AceCathy