Writers' Rooms: C.C. (Chris) Humphreys

C.C. (Chris) Humphreys

‘Writer’s Rooms’ for me. My outdoor ‘office’ is only in use during the summer. The uncomfortable looking garden chair is actually not, and I enjoy sitting in my ‘orchard’ in Kitsilano, Vancouver, under the pear tree, the apple tree behind. You can see one of the French-made notebooks I like to use, and my Lamy ballpoint pen. I read here, research, sketch ideas and sometimes blast out scenes when my poor typing skills cannot keep up with my racing brain!

The other photo shows my main office, in the basement of my house. It is pleasantly cool in the summer—you can see the open garden door—and bloody cold the rest of the time! This is where I do most of my writing. When I descend (usually in the dark about 7 AM), I bear a vat of coffee, put on an electric-oil radiator and huddle in a blanket. I have not quite resorted to fingerless gloves a la Bob Cratchit but I can see the day coming. My chair is relatively ergonomic and the box the computer is raised upon to eye level is filled with proofs, bits of press, reviews – a box of relics. My feet rest on a chess set from Damascus.

It has been nice, after all the wandering, to gather the paraphernalia from a life spent travelling, acting and writing – touchstones to run to when inspiration fails, or words have become too treacherous. The poster of my YA book The Fetch covers up the fuse box. The jar on the table is for assorted sweets – a vital indulgence! There are photos of my wife and family, a friend’s pencil sketch of my favourite place to write – a 300 year old cottage in Shropshire. Books everywhere, of course, some my own (to remind myself that I can do it!), mostly research. There’s a bric-a-brac shelf with treasured items, amongst them: a perfect shell from teenage snorkelling in Spain, a slingshot from my action-hero days, a sliver of brick from Dracula’s remote castle. There are sticks and swords – often in use when envisioning a fight. The shepherd’s crook is the one thing I would grab in a fire. I will hammer out the odd tune on the guitar when blocked. I have theatre posters from plays I wrote or acted in. And a wall of ancestors: my acting/writing family, grandparents and parents, staring down, willing me on.

As C.C. Humphreys, Chris has written five historical fiction novels, all of which have been published in the UK, Canada, the US and translated into Russian, Italian, German, Greek and Czech. His latest: Vlad: The Last Confession—the true history of Dracula—is published in Canada September 1. As Chris Humphreys, he has written a trilogy for Young Adults ‘The Runestone Saga.' A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series The Fetch was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, Vendetta in August 2007, and the conclusion, Possession, was released this month. They are also published in Russia, Greece and Indonesia.

Chris lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife and young son.