When I find a new author whose writing I really like, I tend to become a hugely obsessive fan, and my most recent discovery is Sharon Bolton, as you know if you’ve read my reviews of her books.
You’ll imagine, then, how thrilled I was to get the opportunity to ask Sharon a few questions about her work to support the release of ‘Like This, For Ever‘ in paperback.
Which fellow crime writers have inspired you the most?
I didn’t read a lot of crime as I was growing up, which is probably why I don’t write crime in the traditional sense now. Instead, I’d say I was influenced by, on the one hand, the classic Gothic novels of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and the Bronte sisters and, on the other, by people such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz; writers whose imaginations soar on black wings.
If you had to describe Lacey Flint in one sentence to a new reader, what would you say?
A beautiful enigma guarding a dark and terrible secret.
The thing I like most about the Lacey books is that they all seem to have a huge plot twist in them. Is that something you plan carefully before writing, or does it surprise you as much as the reader as you go along?
If the start of a book is the spring, bubbling up from the ground, and the end is the wide-open estuary, then I have a pretty good idea in which direction the river will flow. What I don’t know at the outset, is how it will meander along the way and the moods it will absorb on its journey to the sea. Most novels, I imagine, are a mixture of meticulous planning and explosive surprises. Mine certainly are.
Your earlier novels were ‘standalone’ novels, but you are now three (soon to be four) books in to the Lacey Flint series. Was it a conscious decision to write a series, or was there just too much to say about Lacey in a single book?
When I finished Now You See Me (the first in the series) I felt I’d only begun to scratch the surface of Lacey Flint. For me, at least, there were so many unanswered questions. Would the world ever find out who she really is? What would be the ongoing relationship between her and the character who is about to be charged with murder? Would she and Joesbury ever get it together? There was no way I could have walked away from Lacey at that point. Four and a half books later, her story still isn’t told, although she and I will probably part company for a while now.
Lacey and Mark Joesbury have a somewhat unique relationship and it’s sometimes heartbreaking to read. Is it as heartbreaking to write?
Lacey has built a suit of armour around herself that is as solid and impenetrable as steel, and yet Joesbury just has to blow for it to evaporates like mist. He terrifies her. He is the one person who sees her for what she really is. He is her nemesis. And yet she loves him with all her heart. He loves her too, and can’t understand why she keeps pushing him away. Yes, it’s heartbreaking.
Huge thanks to Sharon for answering my questions. If you’d like to read more about her, Sharon has a blog. Of her recent posts, ‘I’m Coming Out‘ has been the most interesting for me, where she talks about publishing her books under her name rather than as she had been, under S. J. Bolton. If you are an author and a woman it’s definitely worth a read!
Like This, For Ever was released in paperback on 7th November and the new Lacey Flint novel is due in 2014.