Staying in with Sharon Bairden

Back in 2018 I was delighted to share my views on I Am… a book arising out of a creative writing group in which lovely Sharon Bairden was involved. You’ll find that post here. As I’m not really taking on new blog material at the moment, I somehow missed being involved in the launch of Sharon’s debut novel Sins of the Father. I know what a wonderful writer Sharon is so I simply had to invite here onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me a bit more about Sins of the Father and luckily she agreed to be here!

Staying in with Sharon Bairden

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Sharon. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, (as if I didn’t know!) which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Hi Linda, thank you for inviting me along to a night in with you! It’s great to be in your company tonight! I’ve brought along Sins of the Father with me tonight. This is my debut novel and it was published by Red Dog Press on 27th November 2020. So this is all very new and exciting for me!

Congratulations Sharon. How exciting. Tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with Sins of the Father?

Sins of the Father is probably not going to be a warm and fluffy night in I’m afraid but it is perfect for those who like a walk on the darker side of life. It is a contemporary psychological suspense novel based in Glasgow and it explores the impact of trauma from childhood through to adulthood.

I think it sounds brilliant Sharon and I know it has been very well received. Readers are raving about Sins of the Father.

Author, SE Lynes, described it as “Authentic and raw, gritty and gripping. The depiction of unrelenting abuse is all the more powerful for happening mainly in the reader’s mind; the portrait of severe mental illness as the only viable response is both harrowing and heart shattering. I yearned for this villain, for this wee soul, to find peace.”

That’s fantastic. 

My main character, Rebecca, is not always the most likeable of characters and writing a character like this is something I really wanted to do, as I love to read an unlikeable and unreliable protagonist.

Oh I agree. It’s fascinating to see how characters are created. Will readers eventually feel positively towards Rebecca?

I hope that anyone who reads it comes away with some empathy and understanding for Rebecca and that it offers some thought around systems that can adversely affect vulnerable individuals.

Sins of the Father sounds very thought provoking and reminds me of some of the youngsters I have taught in the past.

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

If I’d been coming along in person tonight, I’d have probably brought some gin along with me, as I think some alcohol to calm the nerves might be in order! Readers have told me that the prologue was one of the darkest they had read. The prologue was actually taken from an episode of sleep paralysis, something I’ve lived with for a number of years. One night after a particularly vivid episode, I wrote it all down and from that Rebecca was born.

Oh! Sleep paralysis sounds awful. Let’s have that gin and share the prologue with readers Sharon:

Prologue Rebecca, Kirkintilloch 2018

It began the same way as always—a sense that something was lurking in the room, a black shape casting its malevolent shadow over her; the feeling of dark beady eyes feasting on her, sharp fingers pinching gently at first then becoming faster, more furious until their claws were digging into her skin, tearing at her muscles until she was sure that they would be ripped apart. In a bid to escape, she bit down hard on the unknown creatures, feeling their small bones crunch against her teeth but her bites didn’t register; they didn’t stop the relentless grabbing, crawling over her, touching her body, making her squirm, crawling up onto her chest until her breath almost left her. Struggling against them, she fought with every nerve in her body to break free, pushing until she felt herself being propelled forward, faster, more furious, the wind sounding a mighty roar, escalating to hurricane force, its violence pulling the skin back from her face as she tried desperately to soar to freedom; the 3 vibrations pounding in her head, increasing until the point she felt that every bone in her face would shatter but still the creatures chased, grabbing at their prize and unwilling to let go. Her heart pounded in her chest so hard that it felt as though it were about to break free, she was sure she was going to have a heart attack or a stroke right here, right now, such was the intensity, until finally she forced herself to stretch out her index finger, pushing it forward, screaming to break free and whoosh it was gone. Just like that. The storm had ended and as she watched the small black hands still grabbing, they slowly faded away; dimmed in their ferocity and it was quiet again. Still. Forcing her eyes to open fully, taking deep breaths, her heartbeat slowing down, she reached out and grabbed the torch lying next to her bed. Turning it on, she slumped back on her pillows as she checked her hands and face for the tell-tale marks of the teeth and claws, although she knew there would be none. In the safety of the light, her breathing slowed as she gradually became aware of the familiar surroundings, the weight lifted from her shoulders and the demons retreated to wherever they came from. 4 She could feel something warm brush up against her, rough fur as a wet nose burrowed into her palm. It was the dog. She gave a start as the memories filled her head. She turned. The cold, stiff body of the man was lying next to her, curled up on his side, his dead eyes never leaving her. She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out as the dog lay down and howled.

Goodness me. That’s so atmospheric. My heart is thumping. I can’t wait to read the rest of Sins of the Father Sharon. I’d love to hear you read that at a festival.

As I’ve been missing all the book festivals this year with Covid, I’d probably bring along a few of my book tribe (I hope you have enough space!) I have really missed meeting up with fellow bloggers, readers and authors over the year. These weekend festivals are my holiday each year and they leave me feeling revitalised and inspired to write. So this year I’ve been feeling a bit like a flat battery without my festival fixes!

They are all very welcome! Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about Sins of the Father and happy Christmas Sharon!

Sins of the Father

Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him.
When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity… and her life.
With her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.
But someone must pay for the sins of the father…

A chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.

Published by Red Dog Books, Sins of the Father is available in all the usual places including directly from the publisher here.

About Sharon Bairden

By day Sharon Bairden is the Services Manager in a small local independent advocacy service and has a passion for human rights; by night she has a passion for all things criminal. She blogs over at Chapterinmylife and is delighted to be crossing over to the other side of the fence to become a writer.

Sharon’s debut novel, Sins of the Father, was released in November 2020 and is published by Red Dog Press

Sharon lives on the outskirts of Glasgow, has two grown up children, a grandson, a Golden Labrador and a cat. She spends most of her spare time doing all things bookish, from reading to attending as many book festivals and launches as she can. She has been known to step out of her comfort zone on the odd occasion and has walked over burning coals and broken glass – but not at the same time!

Follow Sharon on Twitter @sbairden.

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