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My office is in an upstairs room in our house that overlooks the front yard and lots of trees. It’s filled with things I love—books that inspire me, family photos, art by some favorite children’s book illustrators—and, usually, lots of dog hair.
This is Sammy, the family comfort object and source of half the dog hair. She and Stella (who provides the other half) often hang out in my office. My dogs have inspired a few stories over the years, and dogs, in general, show up frequently in my books. If they don’t, I sometimes ask if the illustrator might add one—in my opinion, dogs make everything better.
There are three Lisbeth Zwerger prints above the couch. We bought them at a children’s illustration gallery in Los Angeles for my son’s room when he was a baby. At some point his decorative tastes shifted toward sports-related themes, so I got to hang them in my office. I usually have stacks of books on the coffee table—either because I’m doing research for a new project or am working on a blog post for PictureBookBuilders, a group blog I contribute to.
I like working in different places, especially when I’m starting something new and need a creativity boost. Sometimes I’ll go to a coffee shop, or—if the weather’s nice—work on our screened porch, or just move to another room in the house. I took this photo a few days ago when I was reviewing illustrator Sara Sanchez’s sketches for Ella Who?, a book that’s coming out with Sterling next year. The dining room works best when I need space to spread things out. Plus it’s close to the kitchen, and coffee—another creativity essential.
Since moving to North Carolina a few years ago, I’ve become somewhat bird-nutty. After many years of city living—during which the avian population seemed to be dominated by pigeons—it thrills me to see hawks in the woods, hear the owls at night, and watch the many visitors to our feeders and birdbaths. I like having birds in my office too. This one came from a little shop in France we visited on a family trip a few years ago.
I also have a thing for nests and eggs, which, to me, represent potential, hope, and possibility—little bits of encouragement in a compact, elegant package.
MORE BY LINDA
Linda Ashman is the author of more than thirty picture books and The Nuts & Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books. Her books have earned many honors and starred reviews and have been included on the “best of the year” lists of The New York Times, Parenting and Child magazines, The New York Public Library and more. She has three new books coming out in early 2016: Rock-a-Bye Romp, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Nancy Paulsen Books), Henry Wants More!, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes (Random House), and All We Know, illustrated by Jane Dyer (HarperCollins). Linda lives with her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Visit her at lindaashman.com.