Someone Else’s Skin

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Author Interview – Sarah Hilary on her new crime novel No Other Darkness (Marnie Rome #2)

Published July 7, 2015 by bibliobeth



Sarah Hilary lives in Bath with her 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. Her debut novel SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, featuring the tenacious Marnie Rome, was selected by Richard & Judy for their Book Club in Autumn 2014.

Somone else's skin_b_pb.indd

Interview with Sarah Hilary

I’d like to welcome Sarah to bibliobeth today and thank her for her time in giving this interview!

1. How did it feel to have your debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin picked for the Richard and Judy Book Club?

It was pretty amazing! For me, WHSmith is still the place I bought my summer specials and new pencil cases at the end of the holidays. The smell of the place hasn’t changed—reminds me of those Malory Towers books I bought with my pocket money when I was eight. Now my book’s in there and it’s just… Wow.

2. No Other Darkness is your second novel featuring the fabulous DI Marnie Rome. Do you have her entire past history mapped out already or may there still be surprises to come?

With Marnie, it’s all surprises. I write to be surprised, so I’m happy to let Marnie keep her secrets until she’s ready to share. As long as the reader sees a little more of her with each book, I think that’s a good principle—to hold back on the juicy stuff.

3. You touch on some quite difficult subjects in your books including domestic violence and child abduction. Do you find this process quite harrowing or do you manage to switch off in some way?

While I’m writing each book, I’m generally so bound up in the story that I don’t think about switching off. The story’s always in my head during this time and the characters are whispering to me, which is great because that’s what makes the books feel real and immediate. It’s only after I’ve finished a complete manuscript that I feel as if someone’s walloped the back of my head with a wet sandbag.

(bibliobeth: “Ouch!”)

4. Is it true that your books have been picked for a television series? If so, how involved will you be with this process and do you have a clear picture in your head of what your characters should look like?

Yes, the series has been optioned for television which is very exciting. The process is quite collaborative and I’ve met with the scriptwriter, who has some terrific ideas about bringing Marnie and co to the screen. I don’t have a very clear picture in my head while I’m writing, with one or two exceptions—for instance, I always saw Tim Woodward as Marnie’s boss, Welland. And I’d love Jason Watkins to play Douglas Cole from No Other Darkness. For Marnie, I’d want Natasha O’Keeffe, with Bill Milner to play her foster brother, Stephen. So, yes, I have spent some time dream-casting!

5. Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us anything about it?

I’ve just sent book three, TASTES LIKE FEAR, to my editor. It’s a very different kind of case for Marnie and Noah, dark and scary and super-twisty. And I’m about to start book four, which doesn’t have a title yet.

(bibliobeth: “I’m so excited!”)

And now for some quick fire questions!

E-book or real book?

Real book, with real book smell.

Series or stand-alone?

Love both, but an addictive series is my favourite thing.

Fiction or nonfiction?

I read both, love both.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Trawling, always trawling.

Bookmarking or dog-earing?

Bookmarks, all the way.

(bibliobeth: “My kind of reader!”)


Once again, a big thank you to Sarah and to Elizabeth Masters, Headline PR Manager for their efforts in making this interview possible. I can’t wait for book three!

No Other Darkness was published on April 23rd 2015 by Headline Books and is available from all good book retailers NOW. Sarah Hilary’s debut novel in the series, Someone Else’s Skin is also available and I highly recommend starting with this one.

Someone Else’s Skin – Sarah Hilary

Published November 27, 2014 by bibliobeth

Someone Else's Skin

What’s it all about?:

Some secrets keep you safe, others will destroy you…

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome. Dependable; fierce; brilliant at her job; a rising star in the ranks. Everyone knows how Marnie fought to come back from the murder of her parents, but very few know what is going on below the surface. Because Marnie has secrets she won’t share with anyone.

But then so does everyone. Certainly those in the women’s shelter Marnie and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit on that fateful day. The day when they arrive to interview a resident, only to find one of the women’s husbands, who shouldn’t have been there, lying stabbed on the floor.

As Marnie and Noah investigate the crime further, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. Everyone is keeping secrets, some for survival and some, they suspect, to disguise who they really are under their skin.

Now, if Marnie is going to find the truth she will have to face her own demons head on. Because the time has come for secrets to be revealed…

What did I think?:

I first came across this book on the Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club list and as I’m a religious follower of the novels they pick, I was looking forward to giving it a go. What I wasn’t expecting was exactly how much I enjoyed it. Our main character is Detective Inspector Marnie Rome who may be excelling in her day-to-day work but underneath is suffering from a great personal tragedy, the murder of her parents. She is, as many of us attempt to do, trying to keep her personal life separate from her work life and is succeeding for the most part, yet still waters run deep and Marnie is dealing with her grief in quite a unique manner. From time to time, she visits the murderer of her parents in prison believing that eventually she will be able to get some answers as to why this person so brutally took the life of her parents.

Throwing herself into work, Marnie and her colleague Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit a woman’s refuge as they are attempting to persuade a young woman to give evidence against her brothers for a savage attack they perpetuated on her. Unfortunately, things don’t quite go to plan as when they arrive at the refuge, all hell has broken loose. A man lies on the floor, halfway between life and death, stabbed by his wife, who had been staying at the refuge at the time. This is just the beginning of an intriguing and baffling case for the officers involved with a plot which is overflowing with suspense and excitement. There are also a lot of sub-plots going on involving multiple characters which I loved as it held my interest and curiosity. I’m not going to say too much more about the plot as I really don’t want to spoil things for those who haven’t read the book, but believe me you are not going to want to put this book down.

The characterisation in this novel was fantastic. I have to admit, Marnie was a character that kind of grew on me throughout the book, but by the end I loved her. Noah Jake is also another ball of surprises. His sexuality leads to him suffering from discrimination and prejudice (sadly, from his own colleagues) but his partnership with Marnie is a match made in heaven and they bounce off each other perfectly. And as for the plot? What can I say? Intricate, thrilling, compelling, with multiple twists and turns that both tease and delight. For a debut novel, it’s such an accomplishment and has Sarah Hilary sitting up the top with the best of the crime/thriller fiction writers. I’m so excited to hear that there will be more DI Marnie books and I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the next one!

For another perspective on Someone Else’s Skin, please see Cleopatra Loves Books fabulous review HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):