A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

No, thank you for the music. Usually

Have you ever listened to a perfect piece of music and thought – I want to write a book just like that song.

200-5.gifIf so, you’re on my team.

However, if you’re one of those people who can then actually sit down and write while someone else’s words are floating around the room playing fast and loose with your sentences, then you’d better go right over there with the other weirdos.

Don’t get me wrong, having a playlist sounds great. What could be better than listening to really cool music as you write?

But how the hell do you actually do it?200-1
It makes patting your head and rubbing your tummy simultaneously sound easy.

I’m one of those people who find walking and chewing gum a challenge, and I recently hit myself in the face with a banana. So writing while lyrics are being pumped into my ears is definitely out.

I’m not the only one that thinks this. A friend, who shall remain anonymous, admitted that she had to make up a play list for one of her books just to appease a US blogger who was demanding to know what she wrote to because she was too embarrassed to tell the truth: Radio Silence.

However, (you knew it was coming, didn’t you?) recently there has been an exception to my old-skool librarian-style silence-at-the-back regime.

Music sans words.

Screenshot 2016-02-26 15.56.29I’m not talking pan pipes. What do you think this is? Reiki?

No, I mean classical music.

Before I go any further I have to admit that I know almost nothing about classical music apart from that it doesn’t have words and it gets me in that kinda half-dream state which is so conducive to a first draft.

And, for my new book, Swan Boy, it was essential.

I needed Tchaikovsky, and lots of it, because my maScreenshot 2016-02-26 15.55.13in character has to play the lead in a school production of Swan Lake.

When I started the book I didn’t really think too much about the music (I was too busy obsessing over feathers) but when I wrote the dances it became essential to have the soundtrack.

Not only did it plunge me right into the scene, but it carried me along and I would look up and realise that I had filled a page without crying or throwing anything. Mostly.

So, yeah, I do finally get the magic of music for a writer.

But will I be penning my next book to Beyoncé or Bublé?


Not unless it’s the Karaoke version. Then might give it a go.



NS2aNikki Sheehan

Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist and went to a convent school in Cambridge where she was taught by real nuns in habits. Her writing was first published when she was seven and her teacher sent a poem she had written into a magazine. She always knew she wanted to be a writer, but, for some reason she can’t remember she did a degree in linguistics followed by psychology. Nikki’s first job was subtitling the Simpsons. She then retrained as a journalist and wrote features about child psychology for parenting magazines and the national press. Continue reading…


“. . . a wonderful, magical tale that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.” — Rachel Hamilton, author of The Case of the Exploding Loo for Who Framed Klaris Cliff?


This entry was posted on March 2, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , , .

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