Fiction writer Christine Sneed ("Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry," "Little Known Facts") writes in a home office right off her kitchen in Evanston, which is highly conducive to snacking. "In my former apartment, the kitchen was on the other end, so I wasn't snacking nearly as much as I do now," she says guiltily. Still, her working space is her sanctum and refuge. "I don't know how people write in cafes," she says. "I'm much more focused when I'm not being distracted by movement or music or other people's conversations." Best of all is that when she's writing at home, she has a number of special objects in sight: family photos, a book made of marble and a small gargoyle named Bertrand the Bookmonster, a gift from her father years ago. "He fell off the shelf once and broke his ear," Sneed says. "I just taped it right back on." Kevin Nance is a Chicago-based freelance writer whose work appears in the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Poets & Writers Magazine and elsewhere.
Andrew A. Nelles, Chicago Tribune