Where I Work: Ruta Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy

Photo 1: View of the table where I wrote both Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy.

Like most authors, I write anywhere and everywhere. But when I’m home, this is where I prefer to write. Ten years ago, I left Los Angeles and moved to Tennessee in search of peace and quiet. I found it. I settled in Nashville and through an unbelievable twist of fate, acquired a little log cabin to use as a creative retreat. The cabin is a short drive from my house and sits on a ridge overlooking a lake. But it’s not just a lake, it’s a sunken city.

In 1948, the US Army Corps of Engineers launched a flood control project and purchased sixty-four miles of Tennessee valley to create a deep-water lake. Houses, schools and other buildings were purchased and evacuated and are now underwater along with cemeteries, roads, bridges, and other structures.

Photo 2: The valley before it was “sunk.”

Photo 3: View of the sunken valley from my writing perch.

Two hundred feet below me in the water is a schoolhouse and a tiny library. The ghosts of drowned books visit me (and others) at the cabin regularly. Others, you ask? Yes! Of course my author friends, artists, songwriters and wacky creative spirits join me at the cabin. It’s a literary salon in the sticks, sans Proust. In fact, I think you might recognize
some hit songs and fabulous YA novels that have been written by others at the cabin. But for now, we’ll keep that a secret. Let’s just say I have many novel outlines for this sunken city!

Photo 4: My favorite shallow walking path where I construct plot.

Nature is my greatest inspiration.

Photos 5 & 6: My favorite local antidote for writer’s block.

Yes, the Tennessee landscape is stunning. 

Photo 7: The end of a good workday.

A twelve hour bender of writing, followed by reading printed pages with a delicious beverage…and waiting for hubby or friends to float up with a fresh catch. I took this picture the day I finished writing the last page of
Out of the Easy!

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    This is probably my ideal home/writing spot. Equal parts creepy and gorgeous.
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