Each year North Lanarkshire, #CultureNL Ltd hold a fantastic event called #NorthLanarkshireEncounters when a whole host of events take place including visits from some of our top authors. (Wishing our local Leisure Trust would take a leaf out of their book!) Anyway this year, I was delighted to hear that one of my favourite authors, Sarah Hilary, was coming along to Coatbridge Library to be interviewed by the one and only Mr Douglas Skelton. It might be a dark and dreich October night but who could resist the lure of those two top names in crime fiction!
I’ve been to a few panel events with Sarah Hilary appearing and I have to say she is an amazingly fascinating woman (as well as being an incredibly talented writer!). Sarah was there to talk about her latest book in the Marnie Rome series, #QuieterThanKilling but she also talked about her journey as a writer and the very strong impact that childhood stories from her mother about her grandparents time as Japanese Prisoners of War in Borneo in the second world war, had on her as a writer.
Sarah loves to write about the darker themes in life and admitted that she actually found those easier to write than the more procedural elements of her novels. When writing about a character experiencing a trauma or distressing event, she very much lives the process with the character as she writes and is able to make full use of her imagination to get inside their head and experience it as they would with no need to break the flow to go and check if she has got the latest policing procedure correct in her book. Douglas asked her if she ever worried about herself, given some of the dark themes she covers in the series; Sarah admitted that her mum tended to get quite embarrassed in case the neighbours thought that Sarah was writing from personal experience!
She is very much a pantser as opposed to a plotter and never knows quite where she is going until the characters let HER know. Although she did advise aspiring writers that there is no point on going on holiday for two weeks and leaving your characters to write their own books as they just are not going to do it for you!
Sarah did talk about her plans for Marnie, will she ever achieve closure over the brutal murder of her parents by foster brother, Stephen? Will he eventually reveal all and just what will the future hold for her then? Of course, Sarah gave us no answers but she did give us the promise that book five is now complete and due to be published next year!
If you haven’t read any of the Marnie Rome series, then why the hell not! You are missing out on a superb and breathtaking series that will mess with your head and leave you pondering long after you turn the last page. And if you ever get the chance to go and hear Sarah talk, then please do, her mind is as fascinating as the books that she writes and you could honestly pencil in a whole day panel with her and never get bored!
To find out about North Lanarkshire Encounters click here
And for my review of Quieter than Killing then click on here