Someone Else’s Skin is your first novel. What prompted the move from short stories to a full-blown book?I was always working on a novel of one kind or another while I was writing short stories. I’ve had some success with short stories, but never felt I had the talent to write the really dazzling kind that I love to read. I’m better suited to writing long fiction, I think, and I finally cracked it with Someone Else’s Skin.
Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?Read — widely, curiously and critically. And write. Every day if you can.
Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
Everywhere. The radio, newspapers, magazines, books. When I’m writing I seem to develop an extra sense that draws stories in my direction. That sounds a bit strange, I know, but many writers say the same thing.
What are you working on next?
I’m writing the third book in the Marnie Rome series. I’m right at the beginning of the process, which is my favourite part. Lots of note-making, and daydreaming, and hoping the cast will come and whisper in my ear while I’m going about my day.
If, heaven forbid, there was a fire, what possession would you grab first to save?
Assuming my loved ones were all safe, my Macbook Air. I’ve only had it a few months, but I’d be lost without it; all my words are on there.
What five people, living or dead, would you choose to invite to a dinner party?
Oscar Wilde, Katherine Hepburn, Benedict Cumberbatch, Oliver Sacks and Patricia Highsmith.
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.’
The Independent said, ‘A tense, deep and dramatic tale of domestic violence,’ while The Times praised the ‘appealing creation’ of Marnie Rome and the way in which Sarah ‘handles unflinchingly with force and passion’ the central themes of the book.
SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club in autumn 2014.