I am rubbish at maths. Even though my protagonist, Dr Maria Martinez is a natural genius at maths and coding, I, however, am most definitely not. I haven’t quite revealed this flaw to my kids yet. Guess it’s out of the bag now…

NIkki Owen

NIkki Owen

I love coffee. I mean I loooove coffee. And in every book, somehow, I manage to get a mention about coffee in there, the characters drinking it and all that. There’s something about coffee, especially first thing in the morning that I love. Slipping your hands around the mug, the smell, the hot steam. I have a special little grey mug I got from Denmark that I use each morning, without fail, same one. It has no handles and so you have to hug it. This is making me want a coffee!

I write longhand every morning. With the coffee, obviously, I write when I wake up, traditional pen on paper. Not necessarily anything to do with books or plots, just whatever’s in my head on to the page, a stream of consciousness. I guess it’s like my own little therapy bubble. Sets me up for the day.

I compete in triathlons, and my days, I love it, but also hate it, but mainly love it. I love the focus of the sport, of having to link the three disciplines – swim, cycle then run – all together. You don’t get time during a race to think of anything else. Or, to put it another way, you spend the entire race in such sheer panic mode, there’s no time to contemplate any other issue!

I am fascinated by Asperger’s. My protagonist of The Girl who Ran, Maria Martinez, is on the autistic spectrum, and so I had to do extensive research to make sure I understood exactly what it was like to be her. I know friends who are also on the spectrum, which helped, and it was also a total honour and humbling privilege to get to know people in the Asperger’s community. To me, Asperger’s and being on the spectrum are another aspect of what makes us human. We are all different, all of us, and that is a beautiful thing. Our difference should be celebrated. What a dull world it would be if we were all the same.

I can bend my nose right across my face. It’s my party trick. Seriously, it’s like plastercine, my nose. I can squash it right down so it’s almost across my cheek. You’re welcome.

I can’t write on lined paper. I can’t. It makes my mind feel like it’s in a cage and it stops me from creating stuff. Crikey, that sound proper ‘get-me’ but honestly, it has to be clear, unlined paper for me when I write any book thoughts down. And on that subject…

I write with the same cheap little pen. It has to be a black, micro Uniball. I buy them in bulk because I’m a demon for losing them left and right, pens, but it has to be the same pen. My days, what am I like?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I was five years old and rewrote Thumbelina in primary school. I’ve taken various career routes along the way, of course  - I was a copywriter at an advertising agency, a University teaching fellow, a marketing consultant – but I’ve always written, always entered competitions, scribbled down ideas. Writing is my passion, the one thing that truly makes me feel and be myself, despite everything, no matter what life is dishing out to me at the time (right now? A lot!). I consider myself very lucky to know what I truly love to do.

And, finally…I can burp my ABCs. I can. I mean, I need to drink a fizzy drink first, but I can. It’s ace. And my eldest teenage daughter can, too, and what’s even better is that she looks like this delicate little ballerina, like butter wouldn’t melt, and then she goes and belches out loud as life, like no one’s business. It’s awesome! Again, you are very welcome J