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Bestselling author Sheila OFlanagan tells us where she creates her wonderful novels…

My Writing Room

Sheila O’ FlanaganI wrote my first novel, DREAMING OF A STRANGER, in the garage of my house in Clontarf. The conversion job on the garage, which was done by the previous owners, was very basic and the temperature never seemed to rise to more than a few degrees above zero. It was also on the gloomy side because it faced northeast and  didn’t get much sun.

When I eventually gave up the day job to become a full-time writer, I knew that I would’t be able to stick the cold garage all day. So I decided to build up over it and relocate my writing room to upstairs.


Now my desk is right beside a full-length window and it overlooks the garden, which means I can watch the birds, the squirrels and the occasional hedgehog that wanders in — along with the footballs from the boys next door! There’s another window behind me so I can see downstairs into my living room. Even though authors are supposed to work in splendid isolation, it’s good to be able to see what’s going on in the house sometimes.

My desk is big. I like having room to spread out my manuscripts and whatever reference material I might need. I also have a couple of fridge magnets with inspirational quotes on them (for the dodgy times) and some paperweights. Two of the paperweights are trophies I won at badminton; one is a glass maple leaf I brought home from a book festival in Canada and the other was a gift from a bank where I worked. I keep a container of Muji coloured pens nearby which I use for editing. I pick a different colour for each draft so I know where I am in the editing process.

If You Were MeThere are two bookcases nearby and they contain a selection of reference books as well as some non-fiction. Another cupboard holds all of my office stuff. On top of that is my printer, which I hate with a passion for two reasons — one: that I could only buy it in black and two: is that it always seems to run out of ink in the middle of printing a manuscript. There are usually more books and folders on top of that cupboard too, and I hang two Chinese good luck tassels from the handles.

Under the desk is a big box for recycling. When my cat, Djin was alive, he used to sleep in it – if he wasn’t sitting on a manuscript, eyeing it balefully. Even now, cat hairs can still end up on my desk and I know he’s sending his critical opinion from wherever he is…


Sheila’s new novel, IF YOU WERE ME, is out now in paperback and ebook.

Enjoyed this? Why not find out what books Sheila has on her bedside table.