Tuesday, 4 August 2015


I am delighted that Sarah Hilary is joining me on my blog today. Sarah's second book in the Marnie Rome series - No Other Darkness - was published in paperback on 30 July 2015. 

What inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Reading. I found all my best friends in books, and so it was where I wanted to hang out. Now, lots of my best friends are writers.

Why did you choose to write crime fiction?
Because the possibilities are endless, and my mind is a very dark place. I can go where the story takes me without worrying that readers won’t want to be there too.

Why do you think crime fiction as a genre is so popular? Why do people like to read about gruesome crimes?
Not just gruesome crimes—human courage and frailty, the best and worst of the world. I think it’s popular for the same reason that the Greek myths were popular. It speaks to our fears, offers up heroes, and helps us hope.

Describe your writing style in 10 words or less?
Visceral, unsettling, emotional.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
I only rarely switch off the WiFi when I’m writing. I like white noise and a degree of distraction (Twitter is perfect) because it syphons off stray thoughts that get in the way of my story.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you plot out the whole book before you start or just start writing and see where it leads you?
Pantser. (Or panther; spell-check insists I’m a panther.) I want to be surprised when I’m writing. It’s scarier, but it makes for a much better book.

How do you go about researching difficult subjects, such as domestic violence and women's refuges?
From first-person accounts. If there’s a true account I will always read that before I look for textbooks or dry data.

How easy is it for you to write disturbing or gruesome scenes?
Too easy. See above: my dark mind.

Congratulations on winning this year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award for Someone Else's Skin? What was the first thought that went through your head when your name was announced as the winner?
‘What? Wait. There’s been a mistake.’

Who are your favourite authors?
Helen Dunmore, Alex Marwood, Belinda Bauer. Thomas Harris, Saki.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
‘Fell on a stapler.’ (One for the Spooks fans.)

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read widely and critically. Write instinctively, edit ruthlessly. Never give up.

And lastly, why should people read No Other Darkness, the sequel to Someone Else's Skin? And can it be read as a standalone novel?
To be scared. To be moved. To feel what it’s like to slip into a dark place (from the safety of your sofa). To cheer for Marnie and Noah. Yes it can be read as a standalone as the crime is quite separate, but of course I hope you’ll read Someone Else’s Skin, too.

About Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut novel, Someone Else's Skin, won the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015. It was the Observer's Book of the Month ("superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series is out now. The Marnie Rome series is being developed for television. 

Find Sarah Hilary on Twitter - @sarah_hilary

No Other Darkness
By Sarah Hilary
Published by Headline (23rd April 2015)
ISBN: 978-1472207722

Two young boys.
Trapped underground in a bunker.
Unable to understand why they are there.
Desperate for someone to find them.
Slowly realising that no-one will…

Five years later, the boys' bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome's career begins.
Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.
For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this...

Read my review here.

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