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#LifeInLockdown – In The Room Where It Happened by Claire Allan.

I first started writing novels at the start of 2006. I was working full time as a journalist and was the mother of a very cute curly haired toddler.

Life was hectic so I made writing work how and when I could. Quite often that meant writing on my sofa, or while sitting on my bed while my son was sleeping in the evenings and weekends.

Over the course of my writing career – which in all my guises has amounted to 13 books over 14 years –  the cute toddler grew up, as did his baby sister who arrived in 2009.

I was able to move to writing full time in 2016 and even managed to set up my own dedicated writing office – in the spare room of my mother’s house.

It’s a lovely room where I have all my research books, my notebooks, admin materials, and most vital of all my cork board on which I pin plot points and character sketches for my novels. I also have a lot of motivational postcards on the wall AND a life-size Michael Buble cut out to be my muse.

It has been a very productive space for me. In fact, I’ve written four books there so far and it has been bliss to have a dedicated writing space which I can close the door on at the end of the day and make a clear distinction between work time and home time.

Cue the lock down.

Everything changed overnight.

My mother falls into the category of people who need to be shielded and has to isolate for twelve weeks. In addition, we have all been asked, where possible, to work from home to reduce the movement of people.

This means, of course, that my nice office with my nice cork-boards and index cards is now a no-go area. My perfectly designed work station, with screen riser, wireless keyboard and ergonomic office chair is something I can now only dream about.

Home is my new workspace. My bed is my new work station, and a strange construction of seven cushions achieves a makeshift ergonomic chair.

My dog, Izzy, who is almost three, is deliriously happy. She can now sit right beside, or on me, as I attempt to work.

Of course, life has also changed at home. It’s not what it was in 2006 when I first started writing.

With schools closed, I have a now 16-year-old boy at home with me, along with his eleven-year-old sister. I also have my husband working from home and using our dining room as his workspace. We are all sharing our space and trying to retain our sanity and entertained.

And – for me, It also involves trying to meet my various deadlines as if the world has not gone insane around me.

I’m finding a certain comfort in the fact that my writing life has gone full circle.

I am back to writing on my bed. I write while my children sleep (thankfully teenagers and pre-teens sleep a lot) and then in trying to cram everything else into our day.

I have no cork-board. I have no motivational post-cards. Instead I have laundry that can’t be ignored. And those children require feeding – every single day.

That said, there’s a sense of synchronicity that I’m launching my debut as Freya Kennedy – and returning to my women’s fiction roots at this time.  I’m back in the space I was when it all started. Only, thankfully, with less nappy changing.


Freya Kennedy is a writer from Derry in Northern Ireland. The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn is released on May 5 2020. Freya is a pen name for USA Today bestselling author Claire Allan. Pre-order your copy today by clicking on the cover below.

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