Author Work Space: Kate Mosse

I can write anywhere -airports, parks, hotel rooms, trains, cafes, bus stations …. But, it’s great to be home, at my own desk in Sussex (a couple of miles from where The Taxidermist’s Daughter is set on the South Coast of England!)  My study is on the ground floor and has windows on three sides. I work very early in the day –  usually, I start writing at about 4am with a pot of strong, sweet black coffee – so I get to see the sun rise through the double windows .

On the shelf are my Father’s WWII binoculars and my mother’s favourite Lladro sculpture, together with a black & white photograph of my beloved – and much missed – parents on their wedding day.  My Pa died in 2011, my Ma in 2014, so the photo is a way of keeping them with me. The books on this side of the room are ordered and orderly, all research for current works-in-progress- the next novel, an idea for a new play, histories of taxidermy. IMG_0449

But on the opposite side, it’s chaos! The books have taken over, out of control, as they wait for shelf space to become free. My desk – a long skinny expanse my husband built for me from Sussex Oak – runs the entire length of the south-facing wall, big enough to hold my computer, screen and keyboard, my old printer and capricious shredder, a couple of lamps, pens,  telephone, stamps, books laid open.

DuskAt the end of the day, at dusk, this is the view I love most of all.  I sit in my armchair, glass of wine in my hand, to watch the setting sun turn the sky red.   In the middle of the room, I’ve a huge table where I spread out my working maps – maps are a key inspiration when plotting a new book, all under the watchful, bronze eye of Connie the Crow . A beautiful sculpture, by the wonderful local Sussex artist, Willow Legge, she was a publication day gift from my grown up daughter and son. The brown leather bound notebook was also a present, from my sisters, and though you can’t see, it’s filled with early scribbles, diagrams, drawings.   Obsessive note making, the pencil and paper recording of disjointed thoughts, is how a novel takes shape.  On the wall behind, an old fashioned chalk board.  Every day, a new thought, as little by little the characters come to life.IMG_0751
Kate Mosse is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 42 languages. Her fiction includes the novels Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007), The Winter Ghosts (2009), and Citadel (2012), as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales (2013). Kate’s new novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter is out now.

Kate is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously the Orange Prize) and in June 2013, was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. She lives in Sussex.