Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton was released on Feb. 1 from Sourcebooks Landmark. In this modern re-telling, Dr. Elizabeth Bennet tries to overcome her own intimacy issues, while Mr. Darcy is looking for a woman to love him and all his obsessive compulsive tendencies. Through a serious of complications and misperceptions, Benneton weaves a modern fairy tale in her modern debut that will have Austen lovers salivating.
Today, I’ve got a real treat for those of you that love a look into writers’ lives and into their writing spaces. Nina Benneton is going to share with us her “Tiger Mom Writing Spaces.”
Without further ado, please give her a warm welcome.
I’m a Tiger-mom with a pride of active children. My writing space is usually wherever my body is at the moment.
A tiny desk near a little-used front door at Chawton served as Jane Austen’s writing space two hundred years ago.
I call this Jane Austen writing space. The family refers to this as Mama’s throne, my Jane Austen writing space in one corner of the family room. On that round table there, I keep whatever reference books I need for the novel I’m working on (three novels concurrently). Six feet to the left of my chair, a piano sits, convenient for me to Tiger-mother-supervise daily piano practice while I’m writing. To the right of my chair is a large, flat-screen TV that’s rarely on, thank goodness. Diagonal from my chair is a large sectional couch where my husband sits and practices his guitar, and where my kids read or play games (and make too much noise). My favorite and best writing time is in the morning, when I wake up at 3:30 AM to get some writing done right in this chair, and the room is quiet and empty. I get the majority of my fresh writing done until 6:00 AM, when the family wakes up. On the weekends, it’s golden because they don’t get up until 9AM or later and I can actually get 6 hours in. I go to bed two hours after the children do, at 10:00PM (after I sneak in some editing or working on writing classes’ assignments).
I call this my Virginia Woolf space. My writing office is off the master bedroom, on the other side of the house, away from the family room. Because I don’t want to isolate myself physically from my family, I’m rarely in here. When I need absolute silence to concentrate, I come here. My family is very good about respecting my time in here and only bother me if they absolutely cannot find the milk on the fridge shelf right in front of their noses, or if they can’t tell if the dishwasher is dirty or clean, or if someone is calling someone a naughty name.
I call this writing space my Blue Highways space (since William Least Heat-Moon space is too much of a mouthful). I have my daughter’s old pink Princess laptop pillow in the backseat of the van. (Not enough space for my laptop behind the steering wheel). When my kids are at ballet or soccer or swimming practice, I’m in the backseat of the van in the parking lot working on my writing. I go to performances and games, but during practice times, even if it’s only fifteen or twenty minutes in the parking lot, I steal for my writing.
I do most of my pre-writing plotting, brainstorming, getting into the character’s inner rhythm etc… while I’m doing mundane things like making meals, cleaning house, errands and so forth. When I sit down to write, I already know how I want the scene to go. First draft writing is the hardest for me—as I need quiet to create. I make sure I write 1000 words a day at least when I’m doing first draft. Revisions and editing I can do anywhere, anyplace, with noise etc… I basically steal bits of time for my writing. I’m deep editing my third novel, letting my fourth rest, and writing first-draft my fifth.
Thanks, Nina, for sharing with us your writing space.
About the Author:
Nina Benneton was a scientist on her way to save the world and win a Nobel Prize in something, anything, when a rare-bird enthusiast nut whisked her off her restless feet. A flock of beautiful children and a comfy nest kept Nina contented in domestic bliss until one day, she woke up and saw that she was too obsessed with alphabetizing her spices and searching for stray Barbie shoes.