Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome author Julie Flanders, whose debut novel Polar Night will be published in 2013.

You can find Julie blogging at julieflanders.blogspot.com

Welcome, Julie!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Julie Flanders


I work as an academic librarian in a small liberal arts college. I currently work at this job full-time, but my goal is to eventually be able to support myself through writing full-time and working as a librarian part-time.

I write adult fiction, and my first novel is POLAR NIGHT, a suspense story that includes paranormal elements. I’ve had a tough time figuring out just what genre it is! I’m currently working on a novel that revolves around a historical romance and includes a ghost. So I guess I would say that I love including elements of the paranormal genre in my writing.

I love animals, and one of my biggest interests in terms of non-fiction writing is writing about animals and animal-related issues. I write columns about animal news and general pets issues for the Examiner.com and make it a point to support animal rescues through my writing. As far as hobbies, I love to read and I love going for walks and exploring new walking trails with my dog. I also can’t deny that I am a television junkie.

If I have a hidden talent, I’m afraid it is still hidden from me! I don’t think I have one.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do almost all of my writing on my couch! I know I am probably in the minority, but I don’t have a desk just for writing. I love stretching out on my couch with my laptop and plenty of pillows

The only desk I have is my lap desk for my laptop.

 Julie’s workspace


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My sister gave me my lap desk as a present and I know it sounds silly, but it’s one of my favorite presents I’ve ever received.

Julie’s lap desk

When I stretch out on my couch and have my laptop on my desk in my lap, I’m totally comfortable and able to get the writing juices going. My couch is my work area!

Julie’s writing couch

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

My dog Clancy and my cat Nate are my companions while I work. They stretch out on the top of the couch or at the far end near my feet and keep me company. This helps me relax and get writing.

Julie’s dog Clancy on the couch

 4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I just love the comfort of it. I do have a shelf of writing books in my living room that I consult when needed.

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I love coffee if I am writing in the morning, but otherwise I just drink water. It’s boring I know but I actually love water!

 Julie’s cat Nate on the couch


On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I don’t have one particular favorite, but I am a huge fan of Elizabeth George, JK Rowling, and George R. R. Martin. I would say Elizabeth George helped to inspire me to write, because I love her Inspector Lynley series and when I first read them many years ago I loved making up additional stories for Lynley in my head when I was done with the books. I didn’t realize at the time that what I was doing could actually be called fan fiction! I never actually wrote the stories down, it was just something I’d do in my head when I was restless or bored, not just with George’s characters, but with other characters I loved or ones I imagined myself. It took many years before I finally started writing the stories in my head down.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Since I work full time I mostly write at night or during breaks at work, and I alternate between writing my current novel and writing my non-fiction articles. I enjoy contacting people I am interested in writing about for my articles and conversing with them, so that takes up a good bit of my time in terms of my non-fiction writing. I’m not sure if this is a quirk, but I can’t stand any noise when I am writing. I don’t like to have music or the television on when I write.

3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write every day but I’m not always successful. The hours totally vary, if I really get into a rhythm with writing I will write for 3 or more hours at a time, but if I’m stuck sometimes I’m lucky to make it 15 minutes. I think my biggest distraction is probably my phone! If people call me while I’m writing I have a terrible time getting back to what I was doing. I’m also terribly distracted by television, I have to admit. I love watching tv!


4. Why do you write?

It took me almost forty years to figure it out, but writing is the only thing I really love to do. I always thought, oh, I’m not creative, I could never do that. But the truth was I had just never tried. Once I finally gave my writing a chance, thanks to some wonderfully encouraging friends and family members, I realized it’s what I love and what makes me happy.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I think the only words of wisdom I have is to encourage anyone who wants to write to just get started and do it. My favorite writing quote, and one I always try to keep in mind, is this from Stephen King’s On Writing:

  “you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”


6. Would you like to share a favorite picture with us?

My favorite picture of myself is one I just discovered when going through some old family albums after the death of my father. The picture is of my dad and me on Martha’s Vineyard, in a place called Menemsha. My dad’s family has lived on Martha’s Vineyard for centuries, and my family visited there nearly every summer when I was a kid. I’m three years old in the photo, and holding my dad’s hand as we climbed on the rocks alongside the shore. The novel I am currently working on takes place on Martha’s Vineyard, and a pivotal scene takes place on these rocks. The photo has become very special to me.



Thanks, Julie, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.


Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.


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39 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Julie Flanders”

  1. mooderino says:

    I’m not saying cats can’t be trusted, but don’t be surprised if your cat suddenly puts out a book very similar to yours…

    Another great post.


  2. Brinda says:

    Hi Julie,
    Your sofa looks so comfy; it makes me want to nap. I agree with your writing tip and love that book, On Writing. The photo of you and your dad is great.

  3. @Nutschell, thank you so much again for having me as your guest!!

    @mooderino, LOL LOL, my cat is a little sneak, so you may very well be right LOL. Thanks!

    @Brinda, thank you! That photo is very special to me.

  4. Tonja says:

    I love the picture of your dog on the couch. He looks very comfortable.

  5. It was fun to learn more about you, Julie! My writing area is a small recliner, so I’m pretty close to writing on the couch, LOL. :)

  6. @Tonja, being comfortable is definitely his strong suit LOL. Thanks!

  7. Shelly says:

    I’m not the only one with a couch for a desk. Yay! Although, I write just about anywhere since I’ve been kicked out of my office.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  8. @Shelly, oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one without a desk either! Thanks! :)

  9. Another greater ‘Writer’s Workspace’ post Nutschell! I love the idea of a writing couch, but I don’t know how much writing I’d get done :p

  10. Cherie Reich says:

    Your couch looks comfy, and your writing companions are adorable!

  11. @Jennifer, the couch might be part of my writing block lately. Maybe I am too comfy LOL.

    @Cherie, thank you!

  12. Tyrean says:

    Awesome interview and pics! That looks like a totally relaxing place to write. I know that I usually pet both my dogs and my cat before I start my writing at home . . .however I only write at home part of the time.

    • @Janel, thank you for your comment! I’m sorry I missed it earlier. And the recliner sounds very nice. 😀

      @Tyrean, thank you! I think petting an animal is so relaxing and comforting too, they are so cuddly. <3

  13. Super interview! Thanks, ladies. Nate must be much better-behaved than my cats. If I’m working at my desk, as I am now, one of the other of them likes to stand on the desk between the monitor and my face and flip her tail, as if to say, “Look at my beautiful backside!” And when I work at the laptop, they want to SHARE my lap with the laptop. (Gets a little crowded!)

  14. @Susan, isn’t if funny how cats always think we are so interested in their backsides? LOL Nate is guilty of the same. Thank you for your comments!

  15. Johanna says:

    That was such a nice interview Julie! I write from my couch too, and my dining room table, desk, Starbucks, bed, on the floor. The only place I find I can’t do it is outside. Fresh air is too much of a distraction I guess. Also loved your words about how it took your 40 years to come to a place where you knew you wanted to write.

  16. @Johanna, I agree, I find the outdoors too distracting as well. I’m glad you liked the interview, thanks!

  17. Senator says:

    How inspiring! Thank you Julie for sharing your little slice of writing with us all! Great interview Nutschell!

  18. Samantha says:

    Cats are my favorite! They brighten up any space!

    I don’t write at a desk either! Usually it’s my bedroom.

  19. Living in Martha’s Vineyard must’ve been great.
    Your dog could NOT look any more comfortable. He’s melted into the couch!

  20. Julie says:

    @Samantha, I am a huge cat lover too!

    @Alex, LOL, that’s a great way to describe Clancy on the couch.

  21. CATachresis says:

    Lovely interview with Julie! It’s great to find out a bit more about her lol

    PS I love Inspector Lynley :) xx

  22. Julie says:

    @Carolyn, oh, it’s great to find another Lynley fan! I love him to death. 😀 I’m glad you liked the interview, thanks!

  23. tara tyler says:

    what a cozy, comfy writing spot! i’d fall asleep! and i found the love of writing late as well. but so glad i did for all the friend benefits that came with it!!

  24. @Tara, that’s so true, the friends I’ve made have been such an unexpected joy! Thanks for your comments!

  25. Love the quote from Stephen King! And I write on my couch too. It’s so comfy!

  26. @Shallee, that’s definitely one of my favorite quotes. Thanks for your comments!

  27. Nas says:

    Hello Julie & Nutshell!

    Julie your writing space reminds me of my own- yes, you guessed it! On the couch with the netbook on my lap!

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutshell – what a great guest … welcome Julie – loved reading more about you – and see that wonderful photo of you and your Dad – that’s lovely. Gosh – I have to write at a desk … but great to have Clancy and Nate comforting up next to you – you’ve done so well getting your contract, and the fact you’re always writing for animals and rescue services … however the Library work must be interesting – cheers to you both .. Hilary

  29. @Nas, I’m glad to find another couch writer, LOL. I really thought I was the only person who didn’t use a desk. Thanks for your comments!

    @Hilary, thanks so much, I really appreciate your kind words!

  30. Lisa Regan says:

    What a great interview! It was so fun learning more about you! Love the picture! Thanks for sharing. I am similar in where and when I write. On my couch whenever I have 15 minutes! LOL

  31. Thanks, Lisa! I’m so glad you liked it! :)

  32. Julie says:

    It’s so nice to be completely focused while writing on your comfy couch! I would have a tough time not running back and forth to the refrigerator or turning on the TV! The photo of you and your dad was very heartwarming.
    Nutschell, you did a great job interviewing Julie!

  33. Julie says:

    Hi Julie, thanks! I can’t deny both the refrigerator and the tv are distracting LOL. Thanks for your comments!

  34. Geoffrey says:

    Hi Julie.
    An interesting interview. Dogs, cats, geese, chickens, rabbits and ducks. 1 cat on top of the p.c., one trying to sneak onto my lap,hmm,sound familiar? Love animals but must sit at a desk to write.
    Blessings, Geoff.

  35. @Geoff, oh, I think I would love your place if you have all those animals. Thanks for your comments, it’s great to meet you. :)

  36. spacerguy says:

    Whos the boss when its time to chill out on the couch, Nate or Clancy?

  37. Julie says:

    @spacerguy, LOL, Nate is the boss most of the time. He runs this place. 😀

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