Where the magic happens for Cath Crowley

I now think that magic happens for Cath Crowley, because Cath Crowley is actually made of magic. Don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling very fur-rubbed-the-wrong-way’ish lately (maybe it’s the full moon) but after reading this, I felt calm, and stilled, and ready to work. Cath’s work space is beautiful, poetic and inspiring, just like her writing, and we’re triple lucky today because she sneaks us a peak at a couple of friends’ work spaces as well. She’s also got a beautiful new website, so check it out for further inspiration, and new work out soon – yay! Anyway, I don’t want to talk anymore. I want you to be inspired by Cath:


I started writing in a share house, on a communal computer. It was in a room off the lounge, which I loved back then. I liked writing while other people’s lives went on around me. The computer was almost always free on Saturday nights, so I wrote then.

Over the years, until this one, I became a recluse. I needed to be alone with endless time ahead of me. I didn’t answer the phone or go onto email. Sometimes I used headphones.

I still like to write in a quiet space. Sometimes I write here at my desk:

Sometimes I write here at my desk

But now I also desk hop a little. I wrote The Howling Boy in Point Lonsdale.

Point Lonsdale where I wrote The Howling Boy

I’m writing a book with Gabrielle Wang, so twice every week I write in her space.

Gabrielle Wang's workspace (where I work)

I write in cafes now, and sometimes I like to drop in on a friend’s desk. (You can see one of them here.)

A lovely desk I've dropped in on

Are you someone who has to be in the same bat place at the same bat time, or do you prefer to free range?

It doesn’t matter if it’s the same time, as long as there’s lots of it. I hate being rushed. Ideally, I like to be alone for at least a month. In an ideal world, I’d have endless solitude at the start of every novel. And I’d be near the water.

Any talismans around? Feel like explaining them to us? 

I have my dad’s dictionaries near my desk. They’re old and falling apart, but they’re his. I have his Scrabble letters around the place too.

Dad's Scrabble letters

I have lists of my favourite words. I have loved books and plays close by so I can reach them – Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, Scott Heim, Dickens, Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Tennessee Williams, Tom Stoppard. I have Nick Hornby’s Polysyllabic Spree near by too – I love the way he writes about books.

I have these three birds that a friend gave me. They’re made from the last page of my favourite books – Stardust (Neil Gaimon) and The Mouse and his Child (Russell Hoban).

My bird talismans

If you had to get the hell out of there and you couldn’t go back, what 3 things would you take?

A hardcopy of the manuscript I’m working on.

My laptop.

The birds, and at least one of my dad’s dictionaries.

What’s the policy on interruptions? Open door policy? Open door policy with cranky look on face? Door locked tight and hands on ears, shouting: ‘Can’t hear you, lah, lah, lah!’?

It was locked door. No social media. No phone calls. Now I’m a little more relaxed. Sometimes interruptions give me ideas.

What magic is happening in there right now? 

The Howling Boy is finished. It comes out in 2016, so I’m working on the edits. I’m also working on a book for younger readers with Gabrielle Wang called The Ordinary Detectives. And I’m working on a book with Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood.

Was Virginia right? Do we need a room of our own? 

I need a house of my own. But a room at least.

Ever use longhand? Or is it all clickety-clackety? 

I use long hand for character sketches and planning. I use a typewriter sometimes, and a computer at others. I like the sound of keys hitting paper. And my handwriting is appalling.

Sometimes I type here

Thank you, Cath :) xox