In Bed With Roald Dahl


It was freezing in Tasmania last week. Determined to be warm not cold, I channelled Roadl Dahl and took to my bed with the electric blanket set on ‘toast’ and my work balanced on a tray before me. Ah, the writing life.

The rest of the house is normally warm but this was a manufacturing week for our farm and food business, meaning my Other Half was making sausages downstairs in the kitchen, and he prefers the temperature frigid for this.

Roald Dahl famously kept himself warm, inspired and solitary in a shed in his garden, seated as you see with a tray at the perfect height for writing, a nylon sleeping bag for toastiness and an electric heater bristling with static potential right next to it, presumably because he liked living on the edge.

Roald Dahl and Fiona Stocker

I often write in bed. Our bedroom is a sanctuary, pleasantly decorated, with good linen, low lighting, and an absence of children. Apart from one armchair upon which clothing is dumped, it is tidy. My mind responds well to these conditions. Sometimes there’s a bit of laundry sitting about but with any luck it’s clean.

Dahl had a selection of inspiring objects alongside him in his shed. His pencils were sharpened in the electric pencil sharpener every morning, and he kept his hip bone on the desk after having it replaced.

My laptop could definitely do with sharpening but there the similarities end. I haven’t had my hip bone replaced yet and reckon I’ve done more yoga than Roald so hope not to. Maybe I could just have one of my old pairs of specs on the desk instead. I’m not bald either, but the yoga isn’t going to help with that so give it time.

Fiona Stocker at her writing desk
Portrait of the Artist Without Hair Straighteners at Her Desk

Mainly the thing the Roald and I both gain from our sanctuaries is peace and quiet, and a place conducive to the stringing together of sentences. Bliss!

It was invaluable last week, in my first week of crowdfunding. Thank you, to all you who have pledged! It has been a humbling and exhilarating experience watching the pledged percentage rise, and oh so encouraging.

Every pledge helps, as each one gets my campaign trending on the Unbound website and brings it closer to the front page. Some supporters in Australia have noticed the postage is somewhat steep. The solution used by a couple has been to pledge for the digital copy now which supports the campaign and means the book is published – giving you the chance to buy copies in paperback when it’s out. And get them signed by me!

Perhaps rashly, I offered to autograph anatomical parts of my supporters’ choosing, and will gladly follow through on this. I’ll sign anything you like. Husbands, football shirts, hip bones. Bring it on. Roald Dahl once very graciously autographed a book for me at a signing in Harrods and I’m keen to pay it forward.

Over the weekend I made it out of bed. But to ready myself for life as a bona fide published author, I’m launching a series of photographs similar to this one, replicating the writing conditions and household habits of authors I’ve admired.

Coming soon, In the Bath With Sean Connery (not a writer but more appealing than Dalton Trumbo), Saving our Print Press with Benedict Cumberbatch (also not a writer but oh so smart), Around the House with Simone de Bouvoir, and Out and About with Sartre. (My Other Half will stand in for the little Frenchman, and is much more amenable in his choice of extra marital female company, by all accounts, mine and Simone’s.)

If you haven’t already done so, please consider selecting a reward you’re comfortable with. Every one helps. You’re basically pre-ordering a copy of the book and making sure it gets published.

You can visit my campaign page here – – hint: be sure to watch the video!

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