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Interview with Sheena Wilkinson

I’ve always used a Parker fountain pen, since I was a child, and I absolutely love them. When I sold my first book, I decided to buy a really posh fountain pen but nothing I tried felt as right as a Parker, so I have a matte black Parker Sonnet. I am very attached to it, and hate to be without it. I use Pilot pens for planning, making editing notes, etc., but for anything else it’s the Parker all the way. I wrote several first drafts in it, though I now go straight to the laptop.


I have different notebook buying criteria for different jobs. For research, I like a big A4 book in sections, so I can keep track of what I’ve got. For novel and story planning, I prefer A5, hard or soft back but not spiral bound. It has to have good-quality paper to take a fountain pen. I don’t mind about things like line width but I would never buy a book whose lines were very obvious. I once had an American notebook with sections in different colours – it was wonderful in some ways, but every colour had a slightly different quality/absorbency  of paper, which meant the ink didn’t look uniform, and I am sorry to say that that disturbed me!


I have never had that worry about using a notebook because it’s ‘too good’ — but having said that, I do love a plain Muji soft-bound exercise book. For things like Arvon courses I find them perfect.

I love all kinds of stationery, and any excuse to buy more. I used to be a teacher, and the dread of going back in September was always mitigated by the need to go and buy new stationery! I like to edit on hard copy, always having the MS spiral bound and making a lot of notes on the LH pages. I’ll use different coloured pens, with highlighters and postits too. Basically, any excuse to visit a stationery shop! I once bought my granny a notebook for her birthday (I was nine) because I thought it was the nicest thing anyone could desire, and she said she didn’t write. (I ended up with the notebook!)

star by starI write mostly YA, though my current work in progress is adult. My most recent book is the Irish Book Award-shortlisted Star By Star, a teen historical novel about a young woman in 1918 who’s determined to fulfil her dead suffragette mother’s legacy. It’s my seventh novel, and the one I feel I was always waiting to write. I love that period of history. Also this year, I published Street Song, about a young talent show winner who hits rock bottom and rediscovers himself through rediscovering music. It’s been a busy year, with two very different books. I live in rural Northern Ireland and spend a lot of time walking in the forest, buying stationery, singing and writing.

Follow me on:

Twitter @sheenawriter

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