I am absolutely thrilled to be hosting a guest post by Sarah Hilary for her fabulous novel ‘No Other Darkness’.
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy.
Her debut novel, ‘Someone Else’s Skin‘, the first of the Marnie Rome series, won the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015. It was the Observer’s Book of the Month (described as ‘superbly disturbing’), a Richard and 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.
In this guest post, Sarah tells us what it is like to be a crime writer and we find that crime writers have a devious sense of humour!
The Secret Life of a Crime Writer
by Sarah Hilary
How do you like your crime writers? Hardboiled with our collars turned up against a brickwall, or scowling into shot glasses in the dark corners of a dodgy bar? Hunched over typewriters maybe, with our shadows leaning in across our shoulders… We’re a moody, brooding bunch—right? Our minds full of nightmares and bloody thoughts.
Well, maybe there’s something in that last bit. But really? We’re some of the nicest, most normal people you’ll meet. Well-adjusted, even. When we hang out in bars we do so in groups and you’ll hardly ever catch us scowling, except when we have a deadline or an onset of edits. And then we usually end up having an online chinwag with other crime writers, swapping stories about deadlines and edits or funny stuff our kids did, or the strange looks we got when we said out loud the things we should’ve kept inside our heads (or our books).
Since I’ve become a crime writer, I’ve made some amazing friends. I’ve been supported, cheered and consoled by other writers whose generosity has humbled me and whose sick sense of humour makes me feel a million times better about my own.
(Q. What’s red and green and silver? A. A zombie with forks in its eyes.)
I’m often asked if I read crime books for pleasure or only for work, and whether I avoid reading crime when I’m writing. I couldn’t avoid reading crime if you paid me. I love it too much. Love the shape and strangeness and the comfort of it. Of being immersed in a genre which so poetically and completely captures what it means to be human in this odd, mad, scary world we inhabit.
Crime fiction, at its best, is more honest and more subversive than any other form of fiction. I bloody love writing it, and I love reading it. I love the people who’re writing it—they’re my dear odd, mad, scary friends.
Readers of crime fiction are smart and inquisitive and won’t ever let you off a hook. All writing is a collaboration between writer and reader — a delicious dance or a hunt, perhaps — and crime fiction tops the lot. We may lay the scent and lure the reader in, but the real magic takes place in our reader’s head. That’s where the shadows become a hot spill of blood and the light scalps men into monsters.
I love the inside of a crime reader’s head. I wouldn’t trust Marnie and Noah to anyone else’s safe keeping.
If I’ve shattered any illusions about the secret life of a crime writer, just remember that the other thing we’re really, really good at is lying.
Right now I might be scowling into a shot glass in a neon-lit bar with a brickwall at my back and a dead body buried back home.
You’re the reader—you get to choose.
You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @Sarah_Hilary
Sarah’s blog can be found here: http://sarah-crawl-space.blogspot.co.uk/
You can also find Sarah on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Sarah.Hilary.Author?fref=ts