Writer’s Desk: RA Salvatore

Author RA Salvatore takes us on a tour of his own personal writing space.

We asked Tor author RA Salvatore to tell us a little about where he writes his novels. His latest book, The Highwayman, is out now priced at £6.99 in paperback. This is the latest in a series of articles supporting War Of The Words, the world’s greatest competition in SF literature, where you have the chance to get your own SF novel published by Tor. For more details, click here (opens in a new tab).

RA Salvatore

img_07632This is my expanded office, over the garage at my house.  I added a couple of bays (I like cars!) and more than doubled the size of the office above to satisfy my gaming needs as well.  My work area is my play area, full of bookcases and windows and with a small balcony overlooking the wooded lands behind my home.  The room is full of outlets and CAT6 jacks, with a dedicated FIOS line and 8 computer hookups so my friends can come over to play, and hopefully, so that I can use the office as a BETA site when 38 Studios gets our MMO to that point.

The painting hanging over my desk is by Keith Parkinson – the only cover he ever did for me, for my book, “Mortalis”.  There’s a sad irony to that artwork. “Mortalis” was my most personal and painful work; I wrote it while watching my brother, my best friend, wither away from pancreatic cancer.  Keith nailed the cover.  The battered monk on it, dying of the plague, resembles Gary in his last days, and the woman standing behind him bears no small resemblance to my sister-in-law.  That image haunted me after Gary died in 1999, and for a couple of years, I didn’t often view it.  I just couldn’t bring myself to, as I never read “Mortalis” after its release, even though I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and probably the best work I’ll ever do.  The pain ebbed, and I found myself looking at the painting more often.

Then Keith died of cancer a few years later, in 2005, six years almost to the day after Gary.  But I haven’t shied from that painting, even moving it to my office at 38 Studios before bringing it home to hang it in my personal office.  Because now when I look at that beautiful artwork, I am reminded of two dear friends.  I’m past the pain now, mostly, though the hole remains, but in Keith’s work, both he and Gary live on in my thoughts.

The bookcases nearest my desk contain my works, mostly – since I’m writing various series of books, I have to refer back often, so this is my working reference library.  There’s also my favourite informational work: the Time-Life “Enchanted World” series.  Tolkien’s works are there, of course, since he was the one who reminded me, during a great blizzard where I was trapped at age 19 in my parents’ home for a week, that escapism is not a bad word, and that my imagination is one of my favourite places.  A quarter of the shelves on these twin bookcases are dominated by my earliest inspiration: “Peanuts”.  When I was a kid, I very often buried myself in the comic musings of Charles Schultz, and the older I get, the more I realize that “Sparky” Schultz was on target on just about everything.  “Peanuts” was my earliest escape.  I’d fly with Snoopy after the Red Baron, crash land in the farmlands of France and bellycrawl behind enemy lines.

Under a full moon, of course.

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