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Isla Morley’s Writing Space

Today, I have a special treat for my readers.  We’re going to get a peek inside author Isla Morley‘s writing space.  She’s the author of Come Sunday, a novel about how a mother deals with the loss of her daughter and the devastating loss it dredges up from her past in South Africa.  Married to a minister and living in Hawaii, Abbe Deighton must confront her demons and find solace.

Please give Isla a warm welcome.

Much of the writing of Come Sunday took place in the spare room closet of a 1920s parsonage.  On the rod above my computer monitor hung a few of my husband’s denim shirts.  On the top shelf were several handmade Tongan quilts we’d received as gifts while living in Hawaii, and a wildly colorful afghan crocheted by a great-granny – much loved, but too scratchy to use.

The closet suited me well, mirroring my secret activity.  Apart from my husband and a close friend, nobody knew I spent hours following the life of Abbe Deighton.  I’d go into my little closet, close my eyes and she would appear to me, every bit as compelling as the first night she materialized at my bedside.  Many times I felt I was recording her story rather than writing it, and as the words piled up, I was both exhilarated and terrified.

Last year we moved from the quaint little cottage to our own home in the hills.  It’s situated on a couple of acres, surrounded by Live Oak, Walnut and Pine trees, and it faces the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.  The house has enough room for me to claim my own office.  Requisite bookshelves line one wall, and against the other is my desk, strewn with scraps of paper and post-it notes and fairy figurines and dozens of things which belong some place else.  There’s a window seat with a view of the garden, and a picture of Kjell Sandved’s alphabet on butterfly wings behind my chair.  If that isn’t enough to inspire me, there’s a framed promise from a long-ago prophet about there being a plan for my life, a future filled with hope.

You’d think this would do it.  You’d think I’d spend the hours my daughter is at school typing furiously away at the next novel, occasionally rubbing the crystal my friend promised unleashes the imagination, trying to persuade the cat not to keeping marching back and forth across my keyboard.  But no.  It’s outside you will find me.  On the deck at the table where the view beyond the Magnolia trees stretches for miles.  The voices in my head have to compete with the mockingbird which is so desperate for a mate he has added to his repertoire the sound of the neighbor’s rap music.  I wonder if I could place an ad in the personals for the poor guy.  The koi swim in the pond behind me as Samson, our dog, scans the sky for that beastly blue heron which treats the pond as his personal buffet.  Every day, the lizard pays me a visit.  He does a few push-ups as though to remind me that I can’t spend the whole day sitting observing all creation. Come on, love, back to work! he seems to insinuate.

I take another sip of tea, then lift my pen, and turn to a fresh page in my notebook.  The bees hum, and in the far distance, cars roar along the freeway, going someplace important, no doubt.  But my soul tunes to another sound; another story is waiting to be told.

Thanks, Isla, for sharing your space with us.

Photo © 2009 Holly Hawkey

About the Author:

Isla Morley grew up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a British father and fourth-generation South African mother.  During the country’s State of Emergency, she graduated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth with a degree in English Literature.

She has lived in some of the most culturally diverse places of the world, including Johannesburg, London and Honolulu.  Now in the Los Angeles area, she shares a home with her husband, daughter, two cats, a dog and a tortoise.  Check out her Facebook page.

Giveaway details:

1 copy to a US/Canada reader

1.  Leave a comment on this post with an email

2.  Tweet, Facebook, etc. and leave a link for a second entry.

Deadline is Sept. 3, 2010 at 11:59PM EST

  • I blogged about your contest if that counts for an extra entry:
    http://jo-jolovestoread.blogspot.com/2010/09/current-giveaways.html
    Jo-Jo´s last blog post ..Current Giveaways!!!

  • Heather S
  • Heather S

    Looks and sounds like a great read, I’d la la LOVE to win!

  • Anita Yancey

    Sounds like a very interesting book. I would sure like to read it. Thanks for this chance.
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  • Kathy P

    Awesome view. Please include me in the giveaway.

  • Wow, I doubt I’d ever leave that writing space!

  • Please count me in.

  • What a view! I wouldn’t get much writing done if I were you.
    Ladytink_534´s last blog post ..BTT- Giving Up

  • JHS

    Lovely article. I would really like to read this one. Thanks!

    JHS
    Colloquium

    jhsmail at comcast dot net
    JHS´s last blog post ..Book Tour- The Devil In Pew Number Seven

  • karenk

    A lovely writing space…thanks for sharing it Isla. And thanks for the opportunity to read your fabulous novel 🙂

  • The view from that deck is lovely! What an inspiring vista to stare at and get inspired.
    Janel´s last blog post ..Hangin With Elvis

  • Audrey

    Thanks so much for the giveaway. Super interesting to see where she works.

  • Weng-Him C.

    I’d like to win a copy.

  • amandasue

    Isla I’ll be right over for that pot of tea! haha.

  • No need to enter me, I just posted this on win a book.

    http://winabook.westofmars.com/2010/08/25/come-sunday-by-isla-morley/

  • Pingback: West Of Mars — Win A Book! » Blog Archive » Come Sunday by Isla Morley()

  • Beth Hoffman

    Wow …what a great place to write!

  • Me likey her space very much!!!

    [email protected]

  • Robin

    I loved the book ‘Come Sunday’ it held me spell bound especially as I have fortunately been to Africa and Hawaii. I hope a new book is soon on the horizon you have no excuse now living in those beautiful surroundings

  • Carol

    I simply could not put COME SUNDAY down – it had me captivated until the last line!

    I really enjoyed this visit with Isla Morley and I look forward to hearing more from her.

    Thanks so much for this sneak peak, Serena.

  • Thanks to Serena for inviting me to share my space. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all meet on my deck and discuss the story over a pot of tea?

  • kaye

    With that gorgeous view, no wonder Isla likes to be outside! Please enter me in the drawing.

    Thanks!

  • I absolutely LOVE this writing space! Please enter me for the contest Serena.
    Jo-Jo´s last blog post ..Teaser Tuesday-August 24

  • What a beautiful writing space! I’d be so in awe of my surroundings, I’d never get any work done!

    I’ll add the giveaway to my sidebar, but no need to enter me, as I’m reading the book right now.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Review- A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff

  • Wow, it’s a big change to going from a cramped closet to a beautiful space like the one pictured! I think her book sounds really interesting, and I will have to check it out!!
    zibilee´s last blog post ..Mr Peanut by Adam Ross — 352 pgs

  • What a lovely space – I can see why she spends so much time out there.