Sheena Wilkinson's new book Street Song is released today, so to celebrate, she has tells us a little bit more about the woman behind the books. 

Sheena Wilkinson

Sheena Wilkinson

I learned to play guitar because the main character in my new novel does.

I’ve always loved singing, and have sung in lots of pubs and on stages and at music sessions, but I never learned to play guitar. I set myself the challenge of learning it while writing Street Song. And it was HARD. But I practise every day, just like I write every day, and it’s getting easier. And I love it. I think learning new things is brilliant.

I sneak an animal into every book.

My first three novels centred on horses, and since then, even though animals haven’t been a big focus, I’ve sneaked at least one into each story. In Street Song it’s a cat called Billy. He doesn’t have a starring role, but he’s in there. I used to have horses and cats, and I love dogs, but I travel a lot now, so I don’t have real animals any more.

I have seventeen bookcases in my house, all full.

What can I say? I write; I read; I love books. I am ruthless against clutter but books – they’re not clutter; they’re friends!

I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was six.

It was three pages long, with a few words on each page. I was always writing and drawing when I was a child, and I always told people I wanted to be an author. It took a while to build up from three pages to a real book, though.

I walk in the forest every day.

I live near a big forest and I walk there after my writing every day. Sometimes in writing, you can’t see the wood of your story for the trees of detail, and being in a real forest definitely helps me see things more clearly.

I’m really squeamish.

Though you mightn’t think it from my books, I hate anything gross or medical in real life or even on TV.

I work very hard.

It might not sound glamorous, but writing is about getting down to it, every day if possible. I see lots of people on social media posting lovely pictures of their work-in-progress, or sharing their playlist for a book, or otherwise talking about writing. The year I finished my first published novel, Taking Flight, I was working fulltime, looking after a horse, and my father was dying. But I had promised myself I’d finish my book, and I did.

I’m an expert on girls’ school stories.

It was actually my PhD subject. I’ve never written a novel set in a boarding school. Yet.

I do a brilliant impression of a guinea pig squeaking.

Sadly this is not a very useful accomplishment.

I like baking.

This is. I’ve baked themed cupcakes for all my book launch parties. For the Street Song launch, they’re going to have musical notes on top.