Dear Friends: Welcome to my home office overlooking Lake Windermere, where I AM WRITING A NEW BOOK! I’ll be spending most of my time here until the book is finished, so I’d like to share some photos with you.
Welcome to My Home Office
My home office is right next to the living room and the kitchen (which unfortunately makes it all too handy for snacking.) It’s accessed by an antique wooden door, salvaged from the Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford, a long-time provincial mental hospital.
To read more about my home: Ten Ways to Make a New House Look Old.
My home office has windows on all three sides, which makes it very bright and cheerful. I can never bear to pull the blinds and block the sunshine, so sometimes I even work with one hand shading my eyes so that I can see my computer screen.
On the shelf over the windows along the side of my office is a row of silver trays that I collected from thrift stores and used for my daughter’s wedding.
In the last few years we have acquired five grandchildren, so my office has become a working/playing area. I bought the wooden rocking horse at a second-hand store in Fort Langley, British Columbia and carried back to our hotel on my head because my arms were full! (If you follow this newsletter, you know that my husband and I are nuts about finding vintage treasures.)
On the windowsill beside my desk are photos of my adorable grandkids, three girls and two boys.
I also like to look at the cover of his children’s book, Soar Elinor! My name is spelled in an unusual way (blame my mother), so I scooped up this book about a teenaged aviator named Elinor Smith. Besides, it reminds me to Soar, every day!
At the opposite end of my home office is a dollhouse I picked up at a garage sale in Qualicum Beach, B.C. for thirty dollars and dragged home, with difficulty. It has provided hundreds of hours of fun for the grandkids.
My home office has a seating area where my husband and I chat, or my “big girls” watch their kids at play. I rarely have any other visitors in my home office. One chair is from Ikea, and I bought the other at a second-hand store in Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. I painted the woodwork white and paid a small fortune to have it recovered (the upholstery used to be green and orange).
I also use the seating area to read to my grandchildren, so there is always a basket of books beside the chair, many of which belonged to our own girls.
On the opposite side of my desk is my bookshelf. I could easily fill four or five of these bookcases, but this one is reserved for the books I want to keep forever.
Look way up — at the top of the bookcase is one of the loveliest gifts I have ever received. Book fan Bill Thompson of Invermere, B.C., made this for me five years ago when my novel Bird’s Eye View was released!
Our local library displayed it for a while, and then I brought it home. It is especially meaningful because Bill has since passed away. Isn’t it just the cutest thing?
Hanging on one of the knobs is my tiny mascot Rosie the Riveter, which I picked up at a shop called Goats on the Roof in Coombs, B.C. because of my fondness for women who worked in munitions factories in the Second World War. I wrote about them here: Bombshells and Bomb Girls.
And because I know people love to look at books, here are a couple more shots — I’m not sure if you can read the titles. Some of my favourite fiction is on the left side of the bookcase.
And on the right side, my growing collection of pioneer books, and underneath my collection of wartime books.
Also on the shelf is an old cookie tin from Germany where I keep the things I need for book signings, including business cards, bookmarks, stickers, and name tags. The Christmas one was made by my eldest granddaughter, six-year-old Nora.
On the marble-topped coffee table, which I bought at a second-hand store in North Vancouver, B.C. many years ago, I usually keep two binders. I’m so afraid that I might lose the lovely emails from my readers, that I print out each and every one and keep them here.
This is just an example of the hundreds of emails in the binder. (I blacked out the names for the sake of privacy.)
This is the binder for my pioneer novel, Wildwood.
And another great letter — I love it when people tell me about their personal connection to the book.
My mouse pad features my favourite aircraft, the Lancaster bomber. I bought this at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta. There is an original Lancaster there which I used as the model for the bomber in my wartime novel, Bird’s Eye View.
There are only a few surviving Lancasters left in the world. I wrote about them here: Love Those Lancasters.
I drink my morning coffee out of this mug, a souvenir from my very first job after I graduated from Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. I worked as a farm reporter in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for Canada’s largest agricultural newspaper, The Western Producer.
(My nickname in the newsroom was “The Western Seducer,” which was totally unfounded on fact!)
My husband brings me a rose for my desk when our rosebushes are in bloom.
I ordered this pencil holder online because I thought it was so darned cute. I have a weakness for vintage typewriters.
Since the beginning of the Covid shutdown, I have been reading one chapter each day of Harry Potter to my six-year-old granddaughter Nora on FaceTime. I think I might be enjoying it more than she is. We are on our third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Only four more books to go!
To keep myself organized, I have an online calendar, a wall calendar, a phone calendar, and an old-fashioned paper desk calendar. (And I still manage to forget appointments sometimes!)
(And to answer your question in advance: yes, my office is always this tidy. I just can’t marshall my thoughts unless my surroundings are in apple-pie order.)
Another of my wartime mascots is this little teddy bear which I purchased from the RAF Museum in Hendon, United Kingdom, when we visited the Lancaster aircraft housed there.
Underneath his furry little feet, you will see a folder titled: Homesteader Research.
That’s because my new historical novel is all about homesteading! I won’t tell you anything else yet because the book is still in the formative stages.
Friends, it will be months, if not years, before my new book sees the light of day — just because that’s how long it takes — but I wanted you to be the first to know! I’ll update you from time to time on my progress.
Happy hot, sunny, summer days — affectionately, Elinor
P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who shared my June blog post about my mother’s medically-assisted death. So far it has been viewed more than 10,000 times. I received many emails of support, and not a single criticism. Please copy and share this link if you support medically assisted death: www.elinorflorence.com/blog/medically-assisted-death.