Sarah Hilary lives just down the road from me, is also a wife and mother, but has recently become a published author with rave reviews in the national press. I love to see a writer succeed. Her debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin, is available from Headline in the UK and Penguin in America. It is the first in a series and at least three other books featuring the protagonist, DI Marnie Rome, will follow.
It has taken Sarah nearly thirty years to get to this point. Despite many rejections along the way she continued writing, listening to feedback, improving and not giving up. The result is an impressive crime thriller that I and many others have very much enjoyed. She deserves the long awaited accolades that are now coming her way.
So many people have a story inside, but few have the patience and skill to craft these into a book that others will want to read. If you are looking for a crime thriller with power, depth and a compelling plot then you will enjoy this author’s work.
Please welcome to neverimitate, Sarah Hilary.
Where do you typically write?
For preference? In cafés. I’m a big fan of white noise. I’m trying to get better at working at my desk at home, so if anyone has any suggestions for neat shelving or pin-boards to make my writing space exciting, please let me know!
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m not a great plotter, as I get bored easily; one of the reasons I write is to find out what happens, and to be surprised by the characters. I found a really good (fun) list of different ways to plot on Chuck Wendig’s blog, so I’m going to take a crack at a couple of his methods to see what gives. Usually, I start with a rough idea and write around 4,000 words to see if it excites me. Then I start jotting down questions, and twists. The story grows out of those. After that, it’s a matter of sitting down and writing a couple of thousand words every day until the first draft is done. Usually a lean draft that needs layers, but I’m much happier when I have the whole story down, as that’s my map for rewrites.
Tell us about your publishing experience.
It took me a long time to get good enough to be signed by the agent of my dreams (Jane Gregory) but after that it happened quite quickly. Someone Else’s Skin and the follow-up, No Other Darkness, sold after an auction in the UK, and I have publishing deals in seven other countries, which is beyond a dream come true. I have a terrific editor at Headline (Vicki Mellor), and a great publicity team who launched Someone Else’s Skin with fanfare earlier this year. Since then it’s been pretty much non-stop, as I’ve been finishing No Other Darkness at the same time as travelling to events around the UK to promote Someone Else’s Skin. And now I’ve started the third book in the series; my head’s still spinning a little, and I feel I’ve learned a heck of a lot, very quickly, about the publishing process.
In what ways do you promote your work?
With the help of my publicists here and in the US, I’ve done a lot of blogs and interviews, and a couple of live Twitter chats (it really helped that I’d been active in social media for some time before I got a book deal, as I had a head-start). I’ve also done events at independent bookshops, some first person features for newspapers and magazines, and radio interviews.
What are some of your current projects?
I’ve just started the third book in the Marnie Rome series, and I’m making notes for the fourth book, so that the long-term character arcs are in place.
Where can my readers find you?
On Twitter: Sarah Hilary (@sarah_hilary)
Someone Else’s Skin is available from the publisher, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Sarah Hilary lives in Bath with her husband and daughter, where she writes quirky copy for a well-loved travel publisher. She’s also worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. An award-winning short story writer, Sarah won the Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2012.
Someone Else’s Skin is her first novel, published by Headline in the UK, Penguin in the US, and in six other countries worldwide. A second book in the series will be published in 2015. Set in London, the books feature Detective Inspector Marnie Rome, a woman with a tragic past and a unique insight into domestic violence.
The Observer chose Someone Else’s Skin as its Thriller of the Month in March 2014, describing the book as ‘Superbly disturbing… an extraordinarily good debut.’