I spoke to author Dianne Blacklock when we first began this feature but because she was moving there was nothing she could put together for us. Now she has completed the move and settled into her new home, and new office area, she is ready to take us for a tour in her new creative space.
This isn’t the birthplace of The Secret Ingredient but it may just be where the next bestseller is born.
What is on your desk?
My computer of course. I’ve always used a Mac; my ex was an architect, so Macs are all I’ve ever known. But I was particularly proud to buy this one all for myself – it was the first computer in the household that was exclusively mine! I also have a wrist support for my mouse because I’ve had RSI issues in the past, in fact the whole space is strictly ergonomically set to my specifications (my sons can’t sit at the desk, it’s way too low for them!) There are other practical items like a printer and in/out trays. Against the wall is a rather bare-looking noticeboard – this will soon be filled with inspiration, notes, bits of research, a timeline, as I throw myself into my latest work-in-progress. There’s also a notebook, a little Snoopy figure working at a typewriter, and a takeaway coffee cup – I have just moved from a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Sydney to the inner west, and I’m loving that I can stroll up around the corner to get my coffee every morning.
What shouldn’t be on your desk?
I wish I didn’t have to clutter up my desk with the printer and in/out trays. They’re mostly full of household admin, and I would love to keep that totally separate from my writing work. I’ve tried to in the past, keeping bills and whatnot out in the living area and using the laptop to deal with it all. But ‘my’ laptop has been more or less commandeered by my uni-student son, and besides, it’s almost impossible to divide your life so cleanly – you’ll always end up having some file on the main computer that you have to access. So I’ve given up.
Why does this area motivate you?
I’m still getting used to it, but it does feel very private and quiet, which I think I need to focus. I’m also very pleased that I have a view. I used to look directly out to bushland from my old study, and I was worried that moving to the inner city I’d be facing a brick wall, and I wasn’t sure how I’d deal with that. I feel very lucky that I found an apartment with a terrace that has gardens beyond it. And the light is wonderful, makes it a very appealing place to work.
Are there any items of particular significance?
My eldest son gave me the Snoopy figure more than 10 years ago – as I recall, it came with a Happy Meal! I’ve changed desks and locations many times over the decade, but Snoopy has been the one constant, and I’m such a creature of habit I’ve needed that. Every time I see him there, I think of all my sons and their support, and that makes me feel good.
How often do you spend in this workspace each day?
That depends on how close my deadline is! When I’m in the early stages of a new project, I try to focus for at least an hour or two on actually writing, instead of procrastinating on the social network and all the other distractions online. However, once I get into it, and a deadline is bearing down on me, I could be here for anywhere up to 10-12 hours a day – though I do make sure I build in breaks, simply for the sake of my eyes and arms and back!
I devour books, vampires and supernatural creatures are my genre of choice but over the past couple of years, I have broadened my horizons considerably. In a nutshell – I love to write! I love interacting with a diverse range of artists to bring you interviews. Perhaps we were perfect before – I LOVE WORDS!