Erin Swan

Erin Swan

Who are you, and what did you write?

I am Erin Swan and I wrote the speculative novel Walk the Vanished Earth, which is a family saga that begins in Kansas in 1873 and ends on Mars 200 years later.

What hardware and software do you write with?

I usually just use Microsoft Word, saving my files as I go, although I do periodically upload them to my Google Drive to keep them extra safe. My handwriting is atrocious, so I type most of my writing from the beginning. Plus, my thoughts seem to flow better that way. I prefer working with a MacBook Pro, as it feels more streamlined than other laptops. If I am taking notes for research or while attending panels and classes, however, I will write by hand. For this, I love a spiral-bound Muji lined notebook and one of Muji’s black pens, although the skinnier Moleskine notebooks are pretty good too. While working on my novel, I also used sticky notes pasted to walls in order to map out different timelines and points of view. I dream of having enough space someday to have a giant bulletin board where I can add all the sticky notes I want.

When and where do you write?

I have found that I write best in the mornings, so that’s when I usually sit down to work. I live in a small Brooklyn apartment, so when writing at home, I use a folding desk that I set up in my bedroom, but most often I write on the third floor of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch, which has wonderfully big tables and lots of silence. I also have a cabin in Pennsylvania and a perfect little desk there with a view of trees and a painting of a bison on the wall beside it. My job as a high school English teacher is fairly demanding, so I only really have time to write on weekend mornings and on school breaks, which are thankfully very plentiful! There’s nothing like having two months free in the summer to write about all the weird stuff that comes into my head.

What's your dream writing setup?

Like most writers, I would love more time to write. If I could have a career that offered me open time in the mornings, that would be ideal. That said, I have found I thrive on conflict and tight schedules, so I think I would need to keep working at a job, preferably teaching, to remain creatively productive. But yes, having mornings free would be amazing. I also love a big table for a desk, with nothing on it except my laptop and maybe a book or two for research. A view would be great, whether it’s of trees, the desert, the ocean, or a sprawling cityscape. And silence. Lots of silence.