So, we LOVE stationery on this site and today we have top indie author Jane Owen sharing the products that help her write (and in one case, one that DOESN’T!). I LOVE the idea of the ‘Blue Peter box’, I might just get me one of these myself!
If you want to share your favourite reading and writing products, then do get in touch. Over to you, Jane!
Oh this one of my favourite topics! Stationery, I love it, me. I am unashamedly old school. I like sparkly pencils, brand new notebooks, algebra kits. Yes, you’re right, there’s not lot of call for an algebra kit when you’re writing a novel on a laptop but hey, it came in its own little case and you never know..
My absolute favourite though, is the Concord Compartment File Indexing Elasticated 450gsm 9-Part Foolscap Manilla Folder. These little beauties become my scrapbooks, each section carefully labelled using a pencil because that way when I’ve finished, I can erase it and start again. I might have two going on any one book: one for plot, characters, locations, chapters, random ideas and one where each section is an individual character. I cut out pictures of their houses, clothes, cars, pets and build a little visual portfolio for everyone.
And then there’s always my ‘Blue Peter box’. For those of you who didn’t grow up in Britain, Blue Peter is a kid’s tv show that has been around for years and once a week, they show you how to make something and this usually involves things like sticky backed plastic, PVA glue, round ended scissors, empty washing up liquid bottles, poster paints and the occasional egg box.
I don’t actually keep empty washing up liquid bottles anymore, but I do find making something extremely useful. For The Bitches of Suburbia I made a huge (two sheets of A3 paper taped together) map of Horseshoe Lane. I made little models of the houses, drew in cars, trees, the letter box. I wrote down, next to the house they lived in, the names, ages and a brief description of every resident always referring back, of course, to the visual portfolio.
Once finished, it was a very useful tool, especially when it came to continuity and remembering who lived where and with whom. Not only that, but the whole process of making it allowed my creative juices to flow, my imagination to run wild. I got to know all my characters, and how they lived, really well so much so that when I went back to the laptop it was like writing about people I actually knew.
Note To Self
My other favourite things (I’ve got a lot when it comes to stationery) are Post It Notes. What’s not to love? They come in lots of lovely bright colours, in all sorts of useful shapes and sizes and they stick to the wall for god’s sake! By the time I finish a book, the wall behind my desk is usually covered in these. They make quite a pleasing noise if I open a window and a gentle breeze makes them all flutter gently.
As for reading, well, I did own a Kindle. It was a birthday present from my husband. Fortunately for him he was away at the time but my excitement knew no bounds when it came through the post. I tore open the packaging and my face fell. I am personally of the opinion that electronic goods do not a present make. No, birthday presents should be luxury items like jewellery, perfume, designer shoes!
I charged it up anyway and then spent ten minutes swiping the screen with my finger and getting more and more annoyed when nothing happened. Turns out it wasn’t touch screen. I was as ungrateful as a six year old girl who’s just received a pencil case when she wanted a unicorn. I never really used it. I’m old school, you see, I like books. I like to go on holiday with books and then leave them on a sunbed, in a hotel room, for someone else to read and books don’t mind so much when I drop them in the pool which, ultimately, is what happened to the Kindle. Ooops. Silly me!
BIO: Jane’s first novel, Camden Girls, was published by Penguin twenty years ago and quickly became an international cult bestseller published in many languages including Japanese, Spanish,German, Hebrew, Italian and Dutch. She’d already spent many years working in the film business working alongside stars such as Christophe Lambert, Andi McDowell, Daryl Hannah and James Remar before switching to the music business and working for bands such as The Who, Robert Plant, ZZTop and many more. Eventually, even that got boring and that’s when she wrote Camden Girls.
After publication, life became interrupted by an unfortunate traffic accident and Jane moved out of London to Sussex and slowly returned to writing. Her novels don’t fit into any specific category and, frustrated by endless rejections along the lines of ‘You write beautifully but we don’t know how to sell this book’ she started self-publishing. Rave reviews gave her the confidence to keep going and believe in what she was writing.
She’s still in Sussex, sharing her life with her musician partner, three horses and a dog and divides her day between writing and riding. Find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and of course, instagram.