A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf’s famous quote, that to write fiction, a woman must have ‘a room of one’s own’, is something I once believed to be true. That it was important to have the perfect space to compose my stories in.

But though I still dream of having a roll-top writing desk, and a stunning view, (as evidenced on my pinterest board) having written nine books now, I have come to realise that it’s not really necessary to have those things to be able to write. I have written the majority of my books while sitting on my bed (not the best thing for my posture, I know, no need to lecture me) or on the sofa, or in various other places, some of which had a view, some didn’t.

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Admittedly one of my favourite views, when I sat on the beach to write parts of my latest book.

I’ve also come to realise that as long as I can write on some form of computer, I don’t need special equipment to write on either. I don’t have any special tools, a writing totem or any kind of ritual at all. I do need plenty of snacks usually, and have to stay hydrated and warm, but there ends the necessities.

Part of me would love to have some bizarre writing ritual, that had to be performed before a writing session, just to add a little more eccentricity to my life. But over the last few months, I have come to realise that in fact, the only vital ingredient necessary for me to write well and enjoy myself is this:

Excitement.

If I am excited to tell the story, it doesn’t matter where I am, what I’m wearing or what view I have. All that matters is that I can let that story flow quickly through me and out into the world. And if I lose my excitement for the story, no amount of rituals or special tools are going to coax it out of me onto the page. (Well, certain snacks might do the trick, especially a good lemon meringue pie)

When I finished writing The Twin Flame Reunion, I had no intention to plunge straight into the next book, because I usually allow a bit of time in between books. But the story had already begun taking shape in my head, and as it was the season of Nanowrimo, I felt excited to get the next instalment written. So I went for it. And my excitement for the story meant that I finished the novel in the shortest time it has ever taken me to write a book.

No sooner had I finished that one, did I want to write another. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was write. And not just in my usual genre for my established collection and series, but I also had ideas for trilogies and other series of books that I felt excited about. Writing and publishing only two books a year now feels like too little. I feel like I haven’t really pushed myself enough, that I’ve been slacking too often.

So don’t be surprised if you find that by the end of this year, I have written way more than that, because that is definitely my intention – whether I have a room of my own or not.

My Favourite Recipe – Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie

I know this is not my normal kind of post, but I am currently embarking on the 30 day blogging challenge, which means blogging every day. (Blog followers, I apologise for appearing in your inbox every day, I promise I will still only post things of value!) I wanted to do some more diverse posts, rather than my usual fare, so for something completely different, I though I would share some of my favourite recipes, this is my most favourite one of all.

Because it’s not a topic I discuss on my blog, I haven’t mentioned that I am a gluten-free veggie. Because of this, I do a lot of my own baking and cooking, and have tried out lots of different recipes. I will share more through this month, I’m sure!

(Disclaimer: This recipe was not created by me, but it is a mixture of a couple of different recipes, of which I cannot find now. And I haven’t always made a perfect pie every time using this recipe, but the latest attempt was pretty amazing!)

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie

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Pastry Ingredients:

250g Plain GF Flour

100g Icing Sugar

125g Butter (cut into cubes)

Zest of one orange

1 egg yolk

splash of milk/water

Method:

Mix flour and sugar. Rub the butter in to make crumbs. Add zest, egg yolk and milk/water to combine into a ball.

Refrigerate for 30 mins. Then press into a shallow dish (sometimes you can roll it out, but the GF flour makes that a little unpredictable)

Cook for 10-15 mins with baking paper pressed on top, then remove paper and cook for further 5 to 10 mins until brown.

Filling Ingredients:

2 tbsp Cornflour/GF Plain Flour

100g Sugar

Zest of 3 Lemons

Juice of 3 Lemons

Juice of 1 Orange

50g Butter (cut into cubes)

3 Egg Yolks

Method:

Mix the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Put on the heat and stir in the lemon juice gradually, allowing time to thicken (much like when making a cheese sauce)

Add the juice of the orange to 200ml of water, and then add the mixture to the saucepan gradually. The more gradual the additions, the thicker and lovelier the mixture.

Cook until thick and smooth, then remove from the heat. Beat in the butter, then stir in the egg yolks and then return to the heat until it bubbles. Then leave to cool.

Meringue Ingredients:

4 Egg Whites

200g Sugar

Method:

Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat in half the sugar, then when smooth, thick and glossy, stir in the rest of the sugar.

Put the filling in the pastry cases, and then spoon the meringue on top. Cook for 20mins (depends on size of the dish you’ve used, and the oven type, it may need up to 30 mins) at 160 degrees celsius.

Then serve up and enjoy! (It won’t last long!)

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