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Guest Post: Author Anjali Banerjee’s Writing Space

Today, I welcome author Anjali Banerjee to the blog.  She’s the author of Haunting Jasmine, which came out February 1.  Here’s an excerpt about the book from Penguin:

“When Bengali-American beauty Jasmine’s marriage to the perfect American man falls apart, it takes a mystical bookstore populated with literary ghosts and a relationship with an enigmatic young stranger to help her rediscover her own sense of peace and happiness and the possibilities for love she holds inside of her—if she is willing to move past the hurt and embrace the promise of tomorrow.”

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it.  Stay tuned for a US/Canada giveaway.  OK, let’s check out Anjali’s writing space:

Recently, TIME magazine published a photograph of author Jonathan Franzen’s work space – a simple desk and computer in a stark room with no other furnishings. Apparently he uses an obsolete Dell computer with the wireless card removed. But according to TIME, “In spite of all these precautions, Franzen got stuck.”

Copyright Carol Ann Morris

Still, I admire him for eliminating distractions. I’m not so self-disciplined. I love to write on my laptop while lying in bed, with cats lounging around me, but generally I write at the desktop in my home office – only about 100 square feet of space, but it’s more than I need.

When my husband and I bought this house – a small rambler in the woods on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State – the room reflected the drab gray of Pacific Northwest skies in winter: colorless walls and frayed, pale blue carpet. Yuck. The only redeeming feature was the view of the forest through the window.

So last summer, I had the carpet ripped out and replaced with all-natural Forbo Marmoleum® floors. Marmoleum is known as the “new linoleum.” It’s produced from renewable materials including linseed oil, rosins, wood flour, and other “ecologically responsible” pigments. The floor is easy to clean – a plus when you have five cats running around – as well as durable and generally hypo-allergenic, anti-bacterial and anti-static. I chose a deep reddish-brown color (I think it’s called “Indian Summer”).

I had the walls painted in warm gold using eco-friendly, “no-VOC” (no Volatile Organic Compounds) indoor paint. I had a solar tube installed in the ceiling, an absolute miracle of natural light. I removed the closet doors to open up the room, and I bought an ergonomic chair with three adjustment levers.

I managed to fit book shelves, a six-piece modular oak desk, three cat beds, a cat condo, my Bose Wave radio/CD player, a full spectrum light desk lamp, and a full 88-key Casio electronic keyboard into my office. And it does not feel cluttered. I love this room. It is so… me. Gifts from family and friends sit on the desk next to my computer – photographs, trinkets, a stuffed Canadian moose and Canadian beaver – and I always keep a bottle of water and a flashlight (in case of a winter power outage) nearby.

All said, when I write, I’m oblivious to my surroundings. When I’m on a tight deadline, I sometimes leave the house to write in a café where the cats aren’t crying, nobody demands my attention, and the phone is never for me.

Copyright Carol Ann Morris

Soon, I’ll have to find a good standing workstation or treadmill desk, as all the sitting is beginning to hurt my back. Until then, I’m here, typing away on the desktop in my little gold-painted office in the woods.

Remember, each of us is different. We have different needs, different preferences. My advice is to make your work space conducive to writing, whatever that means for you. If you need a sparsely furnished room a la Jonathan Franzen, honor that need. If you prefer messiness and chaos, go with it. Create an ergonomic workstation to protect your body! I found tips here.

Thanks, Anjali, for sharing your writing space with us.

Copyright Carol Ann Morris

About the Author:

Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written five novels for youngsters and three for grownups, and she’s at work on her next novel for adults to be published by Berkley/Penguin. Her books have received accolades in many review journals and newspapers. The Philadelphia Inquirer called her young adult novel, Maya Running (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House) “beautiful and complex” and “pleasingly accessible.” The Seattle Times praised Anjali’s novel for adults, Imaginary Men (Downtown Press/Pocket Books) as “a romantic comedy equal to Bend it Like Beckham.”

Giveaway Details:

1.  Leave a comment your thoughts about ergonomics.

2.  Blog, Tweet, Facebook, etc. for a second entry.

Deadline is Feb. 14, 2011, at 11:59PM EST (US/Canada only)

  • Thanks for the great comments. Marmoleum is great flooring, easy to clean but expensive. Totally worth it, though. The skylight starts to turn blue at twilight. So cool. I can’t wait for the longer summer days.

  • That flooring sounds fantastic, especially for pet owners! I bet the sky light is a welcome addition during this time of year too. What a great space to write in.
    Janel´s last blog post ..Sweet Silence

  • Anita LaRae

    Anjali,

    Love your office space! As a former computer programmer back in the late 70’s, I know what happens when you don’t acknowledge the affects of sitting for long periods of time. Pre-ergonomics, my back and neck were damaged as a result. Thank you for sharing your experiences and solutions. Also, thank you for your wonderful books!

    Anita

  • I love how she had the opportunity to revamp her space and make it just what she wanted. I love the color scheme. Personally, erogonomics is important because as much as I love my laptop and my recliner, it doesn’t do my back any favors. I’d love to redesign my reading/blogging/writing space to be more comfortable and inspiring.

    I’d love to be entered in the giveaway and have posted this in my sidebar.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Review- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • I really enjoy the eco-friendly materials she used and I love that solar tubing is the only source of light. I think its a fantastic space.
    Serena´s last blog post ..Guest Post- Author Anjali Banerjee’s Writing Space

  • Serena,

    Thank you for the opportunity to post on your blog. Thank you for the comments, everyone. In the office picture above, notice that the solar tube is the only overhead source of light in the room. The ceiling light bulb is turned off.

    Anjali

  • Linda B

    What an interesting interview and kudos for going for environmently friends materials. I looked thru the ergonomic tips, good advice! thanks for the giveaway. I’m intrigued by the idea of a bookstore being part of the setting.

  • I love that she took an environmentally friendly approach when she remodeled her space! I think I need to try to make my space more ergonomically friendly.

  • What a great interview Serena. I love what I’ve read about this book, and hope to get a copy at some point. Thanks for the interview.
    [email protected]´s last blog post ..Mailbox Monday – February 7th