Shamini Flint is a Singapore-based children’s and adult author, a Malaysian national, educated at Cambridge. She has self-published many of her books via the company she established, SunBear Publishing and now has deals with Little Brown UK and Allen & Unwin. She was a corporate lawyer and is now a proud stay-at-home soccer mum. She was a hit at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Fest where I had the good fortune to meet her. Here she takes us into her writing space which she describes as ‘a pile of rubbish on the carpet while the house is being painted’. But writers work in all conditions…
Where did you write your latest book?
I have a very nice room in my house in Singapore – high ceilings, windows with shutters and lots and lots of pictures and books and that’s where I do most of my writing. I also keep a notebook next to my bed. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I get a few ideas but if I don’t write them down I’ve forgotten by the morning!
How important to you is the space that you write in?
It’s not the space that matters so much to me but the peace and quiet – so I can only write when the kids are at school. If they’re home they interrupt me every five minutes. Even if I lock myself in they bang on the doors and promise that they have ‘just one more thing’ to ask me or tell me – but it never is just one more thing!
Do you transform your space in any way for each book?
Not really. Sometimes the room is messy, sometimes it’s tidy, sometimes it’s somewhere in between. Today there are bits of paper and colour pencils everywhere because the kids were working on an art project last night and didn’t tidy up. And my computer mouse is sticky which is not so great.
Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
I don’t dress up or anything weird like that but when I’m writing dialogue, I sort of think that I’m that person in the book so that I ‘sound’ like them. I get a lot of my children’s characters from my own kids so sometimes I just imagine how they’d behave in a particular situation rather than try and squeeze my forty year-old self into a child’s space.
Do you keep regular writing hours?
In the morning when the kids are at school and at night when they’re in bed if I’m not too tired. Sometimes I drift off when I’m putting them to bed.
Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
Coffee, coffee and more coffee with lots of milk and sugar. Writing makes me fat!