Today at OneFour KidLit we’re talking to Nikki Sheehan, author of WHO FRAMED KLARIS CLIFF? One author, four questions. Here we go!
Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?
I always thought I’d be a writer, but I’m also very lazy, so didn’t actually do much about it, apart from a few unfinished adult novels, until I was in my late 30s. When I finally joined a writer’s group, and started to write stories with actual endings, it was a huge surprise to me that the clearest voice in my head was that of an early teen. I would still probably never have considered taking fiction seriously, but a good friend persuaded me to go and see the amazing Julia Churchill from Greenhouse give a talk on getting published. She us advised not to contact agents unless the book was completely finished (it wasn’t), so I sent off my first chapter the next day, then flew into a panic as a few days later she asked for the rest. I managed to write the ending and, fortunately for me she loved the book and, although it went through a bit of, ahem, restructuring, that was basically it. It’s actually been very straightforward so far (touches wood, crosses fingers etc).
What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?
My debut book is about a 13 year old boy who is being hounded by an imaginary friend belonging to the little kid next door. I’ve slightly altered the world, in that I’ve made imaginary people real. They get in when kids play make-believe games, and they live in their brains. Mostly, however, they’re harmless company for a lonely child. But occasionally they turn rogue, cause trouble, invade other people’s heads, and worse. And then they have to be removed.
My cool fact is that my older brother, myself, and my daughter have all shared a spookily similar imaginary friend. She’s always been a very bossy older girl whose name begins with Al. Strange, eh?
What are you most excited about in the debut process?
I’m still at the stage where I find it weird that other people (eg my agent and editor) know stuff about my book. It feels a bit like having someone eavesdrop on your dream. So to have even more people read it, and hopefully like it will be amazing, in a very odd way. Also, I’m really looking forward to doing school visits, and spending time working with kids the same age as my main character who I’m not actually related to.
Do you have any writing quirks–places you need to write or things you need to have with you?
Nope, I’m fine with just a chaise longue, a glass of champers, and someone to transcribe for me. If only. I actually find it really hard to get into the zone and write at home with three kids around, so I rely on being able to sneak away to the library, coffee shop or anywhere where no one asks me to make them a sandwich or find their football shorts. In fact, at this very moment I’m away at the wonderful writer’s retreat in Devon where I knocked KLARIS into shape, working on book two. No chaise longue though, I’ll have to have a word.
|Nikki Sheehan is a reformed journalist who lives by the sea in Brighton, England. Her debut WHO FRAMED KLARIS CLIFF? (OUP, spring 2014) is a story about imaginary people, difficult families, biscuits and a very sinister operation. You can follow Nikki on Twitter: @nicoletteshhh|