ASK THE ROGUES: Secrets in a Writer’s Office

by | Mar 4, 2022 | Gayle Lynds, On writing | 9 comments

by Gayle Lynds

A writer’s desk reveals secrets about the writer.

This is my office, me, GAYLE LYNDS. I’m not a messy person. Really. Our house is darn neat, but when I work, I go into another world that’s informed by past novels and those I hope to write. I let my creative side roam. On floor-to-ceiling shelves sit old cardboard boxes stuffed with ideas and clippings. The three shelves of paperbacks next to it are by other authors, and I read bits of them for inspiration. My other walls spill over with research books. A Cold War map of Europe is tacked to my bulletin board. My desk is cherrywood, built by my dad when I was in high school. Oh, the decades of writing memories it has!

Tell us, Rogues, about your offices: What do they reveal about you?


I love this space because it’s got so much room for my books, it’s quiet and removed from the rest of the house, and I can watch the cat stalking her prey beneath the spruce trees from my window. Also, my husband has a built in live edge desk in one of the nooks and we can work upstairs together.


This is my ‘office’ at home—I mounted a shelf on my lightweight, foldable treadmill so I can walk during long writing sessions, and put it out of the way for short ones. The desk was bought at a scratch and dent sale with my first book advance—it’s very big and very heavy! But truthfully, I can write anywhere when necessary, in the car, in restaurants, in front of the television (not my preference). Once I even wrote while sitting on an overturned bucket waiting for a crime scene video to download.


When we built our home here on Naples Bay many years ago, I told our architect I wanted an office all to myself with a water view (my husband has his own enclave at the other end of the house), and this is where I write my books, plan book tours, write speeches and also keep up with our Rogue activities, blogs, Rogue Reads and all the rest. Friends sometimes ask, “Don’t you get distracted just gazing out the windows all the time?” My answer, “Not really.” The thing is, watching birds flying over the patio, dolphins diving in the water, and seeing the occasional boating party glide by gives me an incentive to write. I say to myself, “Now, finish one more chapter and you can join them all outside and swim your laps.”


Here are the 5 things I must have in my work space:
✒ Laptop (of course)
✒ Place to tuck my sprouting hairball of notes away till I need them
✒ Desk and chair
✒ Ceramic tile and wooden loop my daughter and son made for me
✒ Miniature from whichever book I’m writing at the time, for example, a lobster boat when I wrote The Second Mother, set on an island in Maine
And here is the one thing I cannot write with as you can tell from the photo: clutter!!!


The best part of my writing desk are all the little knicky-knaky things all over it. You’d think my bobblehead Holstein and my two Maltese Falcons (take that Sam Spade), would distract me, but they don’t. When I’m in the zone, I see nothing but words. My bobblehead Carol, my favorite character from “The Walking Dead” is up there too. She’s holding a pie, but she’s hiding a knife behind her back. Knowing the knife’s there reminds me to add the creepy to my pages. You’ll also notice the Chicago Police Department diecast squad car. I write crime fiction set in the Windy City. The squad puts me in the right frame of mind. Some days I write like the wind at this little desk. Some days I can’t write my name without needing an eraser. Them’s the breaks. That’s the writer’s life. The view out my window looks pretty desolate in winter, but when the weather’s nice, my neighbor’s cat will sit in the middle of the lawn and stare at me … like I need the pressure from a cat.

Dear Rogue Readers … What’s in your house or workspace that means a lot to you? Leave a comment and tell us. We’d love to know!

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Tracy Clark

    So fun to see where everyone creates their stories. Jenny needs a decluttered room, Lisa can write on an overturned bucket. Fascinating. No two snowflakes are alike. Same holds for writers. We manage to get it done in all kinds of environments, at all times of the day or night, in sweatpants or evening gown and pearls. My neighbor’s cat in my backyard, though, is not joking around. He sits there watching me through the window. I stare back at him. We stare at each other for a time, then he gets bored and goes. It’s become a thing. LOL.

    • Gayle Lynds

      I think that cat wants your lap, Tracy. You have a writing buddy! 😻

  2. Karna Small Bodman

    Yes, it is fun to visit my fellow Rogue’s offices and see where they put all of their inspiration and writing talent to work. Thanks, Gayle, for putting it all together! Now, I’ll patiently wait for the release of everyone’s next great novel.

    • Gayle Lynds

      Thanks, Karna. I agree — I thought it was so interesting to see how different we are, and alike, too.

  3. Lisa Black

    Karna, I’m no stranger to bribing myself either. “You only have five hundred more words to do and you ‘ll be done for the day!” “Fifty more words–you can do this!”

    I’ve bribed myself with exercise, snacks, buying something online, and going to IMDB to look up this movie I was watching because I know I know that guy from somewhere.

  4. Alex Kava

    I love these! What great insights into the writers.

  5. john

    How does Jenny Milchman do it? All authors are duty-bound to wade through clutter to get to their desks!

  6. Deb

    I lOVE seeing all the differences. Thanks for the sharing… always makes me wonder if you “have” to get away and if you have that special place. Neat or messy, the stories you “tell” get us captivated.

  7. Pat Marinelli

    Love seeing all the ‘writer’ offices. All do different and yet so many ideas to build your own office on. Loved seeing all the bookshelf ideas, placement of desks, and hearing about how you set it up and write. The cat outside is so funny…but so true.