Andrea Mara: Home Is … Where The Dark Is - The Gloss Magazine

Andrea Mara: Home Is … Where The Dark Is

The Book of the Homeless, edited by Edith Wharton in 1916, was a fundraising effort to help refugees and children in Europe during the First World War. It was Wharton’s idea to ask artists, writers and poets to contribute an original piece. At this time Wharton had already written nine novels and would go on to become the first female Pulitzer Prize winner, in 1921. Her literary success and influence allowed her to approach her good friend Henry James as well as Walter Gay, John Singer Sargent, Rupert Brooke, Thomas Hardy, Igor Stravinsky, WB Yeats, and 50 other writers and artists. In the same spirit, and inspired by a new book published by Rizzoli: Home: A Celebration, Notable Voices Reflect on the Meaning of Home, we asked contributors to share their interpretation of home, its meaning and importance. This week, author Andrea Mara …

Home is where the dark is … not literally, but it’s where my mind runs riot, especially lying in bed at night, planning the best hiding places in our house, should we come under attack. This isn’t as macabre as it sounds – it’s a defence mechanism of sorts, and an inspiration for plot ideas. My home is a normal, suburban house in a quiet, mature neighbourhood – exactly the kind of place most of my books are set. Because if everything seems calm and sedate on the surface, that’s when you can let your imagination run riot; conjuring up what might be going on behind closed doors.

The house was built in the 1960s and has its quirks – upside-down light-switches and haphazard shelving and a mysterious lean-to that someone added at some point. When I’m feeling fancy, I call it a “mid-century” house and dream of doing it up accordingly, but in reality, and with very little budget left after moving in, we bought most of what we needed from Ikea. And perfectly fine it is too.

In our old house, I wrote three books at the kitchen table and used to clear my notebooks into a box when it was time to collect the kids. Now, I have a home office and a desk, and two years on, the desk (from Ikea) is still a novelty. In my desk drawers, I have dozens of notebooks filled with detailed notes on All Her Fault, because I plot each chapter by hand before I type it up. Beside my desk is a huge floor-to-ceiling window which is perfect for watching the world go by, for imagining what might be going on behind the scenes, and of course, for staring into space when I should be writing.

All Her Fault by Andrea Mara is out now.

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