Monday, 24 February 2014

Debut Spotlight: Sarah Hilary

One of the things I've loved since setting up my blog is discovering new authors, especially debut authors, and it looks like 2014 is going to be a bumper year for debut authors.   

One such author is Sarah Hilary whose debut book Someone Else's Skin is published this Thursday, 27th Feburary.

Sarah Hilary lives in Bath, where she writes quirky copy for a well-loved travel publisher. She's also worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut novel, Someone Else's Skin, will be published in February 2014 by Headline in the UK and Penguin in the US. A second book in the series will be published a year later. Set in London, both books feature DI Marnie Rome, a woman with a tragic past and a unique insight into domestic violence.

Some secrets keep you safe, others will destroy you...

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome. Dependable; fierce; brilliant at her job; a rising star in the ranks. Everyone knows how Marnie fought to come back from the murder of her parents, but very few know what is going on below the surface. Because Marnie has secrets she won't share with anyone.

But then so does everyone. Certainly those in the women's shelter Marnie and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit on that fateful day. The day when they arrive to interview a resident, only to find one of the women's husbands, who shouldn't have been there, lying stabbed on the floor.

As Marnie and Noah investigate the crime further, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. Everyone is keeping secrets, some for survival and some, they suspect, to disguise who they really are under their skin.

Now, if Marnie is going to find the truth she will have to face her own demons head on. Because the time has come for secrets to be revealed...

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut book Someone Else’s Skin?
It’s a story about secrets. Everyone is hiding something, even our heroes, and the price they will pay for those secrets is what drives the book. DI Marnie Rome and her DS Noah Jake begin by investigating a stabbing at a women’s refuge but it quickly escalates into something more sinister and complex. The ground keeps moving under our detectives – and under the reader, too.

Where did the inspiration come to create your central character DI Marnie Rome?
Marnie arrived on the page ready-made, almost. One of those characters who demands to be written about, partly because it’s only through the writing that I find out what she’s hiding. The nearest I have to inspiration is a character called George Blake in a TV series called The State Within. The actress who played George is called Marnie. And I love the Winston Graham book that Hitchcock made into the film, “Marnie”. 

How much research did you have to do to write this book? 
I read a lot of first person accounts and checked my facts as I went, because I wanted to write with accuracy about the issues at stake. But it’s a work of fiction; I always concentrate my efforts on the story and its characters.

Are you currently working on the next book in the series? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it?
I’ve just sent the first draft of the second book to my editor. It’s a different sort of “dark” to the first book, very sad in fact and packed with surprises about Marnie and her past. I really enjoyed writing it.

Have you always been interested in writing crime fiction or are you tempted to try writing in a different genre at some stage?
I’ve written short stories, and thought for a long time that I wasn’t equipped to write crime because “I couldn’t plot”, but I surprised myself with Someone Else’s Skin and now I’m hooked on writing crime so I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

How long did it take to get a publishing deal?
Years! Actually, that’s not quite true; years to get signed by my dream agent (Jane Gregory) because, quite rightly, she wouldn’t sign me until I’d written a book she could sell. Once I’d achieved that, it all happened quite quickly. Or so it seems in retrospect.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I sit down and write. I’ve tried other ways around the problem (!) but nothing else really works.

Are there any writers that have influenced you as a writer?
Dozens. Helen Dunmore. Jenefer Shute. Thomas Harris. Patricia Highsmith. To name just four.

If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
I’ve no idea, but I would have been unhappy: a frustrated writer.

Have you got anything exciting planned for publication date? 
A launch party at Foyle’s in Bristol (where I worked, before I got the book deal). Friends and family – so many people who’ve put up with my misanthropy as I struggled to get this far – a chance to thank everyone and to celebrate.

Are you going to treat yourself to anything as a reward for publishing your first book? 
Now there’s a thought…! I might have to, now. Watch this space.

Thanks, Shaz, for inviting me over here. I really enjoyed that.

1 comment:

  1. Fab interview ladies. I have Someone Else's Skin on my TBR. Can't wait!