Nikki Sheehan is a former convent school girl who studied linguistics at university before becoming a subtitler on the Simpsons and then a journalist.
Nikki now lives in Brighton with her husband and three children, and works as an author, poet, journalist and story facilitator for creative writing charity, Little Green Pig. She loves dogs, adores reading, and is never happier than when she is talking to kids about stories.
1. Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, but I also wanted to do other things, like being a vet and an archeologist. Writing is a pretty flexible job, and loads of people manage to fit it around other jobs.
2. How do you get your ideas?
It varies. A book is one big idea followed by hundreds of smaller ones. The big idea usually brews inside me for months or even longer, and is often sparked by something that has happened to my children or one of their friends. But the smaller ideas might come as I sit down and try to write, or appear while I'm doing something completely different, walking my dogs, cooking dinner, or even the middle of the night, which is annoying because then I have to wake up and write them down!
3. Who influenced you when you were a child?
My favourite teacher when I was seven, Mrs Chaimberlain, who did three brilliant things. 1. She had a lovely cocker spaniel which she brought to school and let us walk around the playing fields at lunchtime. 2. She told me I was good at writing. And 3, she sent a poem I had written off to a magazine and it was published.
4. How long does it take to write a book?
To write the whole story out for the first time (this is known as the first draft) it takes a few months. But then there is all the rewriting to make the story work as hard as it can, and the editing to get rid of mistakes and inconsistences, which takes much longer. Unfortunately.
5. Are you rich?
6. What's your favourite book?
I have lots of favourites, but one from my childhood which I have reread as an adult and still absolutely adore is Tom's Midnight Garden. I just love stories where normal, boring life is twisted and neither the character nor the reader knows what's really going on, but you don't mind, you just enjoy the ride.