Sarah Hilary is the author of half a dozen books in the Marnie Rome series. The most recent being Never Be Broken. She has been nominated for a Macavity Award, a Barry Award and a Silver Falchion.Her debut, Someone Else's Skin, won the 2015 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award and a number of her books have also been chosen as the Observer’s Thriller of the Month.
Between 2012 and 2017 Sarah Hilary was the organiser of the CrimeFest Flashbang short story competition where an original crime story had to be written in 150 words.
I am re-reading Capote’s In Cold Blood. I’d forgotten about the feral cats who patrol the street, dining on road-kill plucked from the grills of parked cars. It reminded me of the cat who haunts Slough House in Mick Herron’s brilliant books. I love the way reading (and re-reading) throws up echoes like that.
Right at this minute, I’m returning to the Ripliad (cramming for St Hilda’s, of course) and I do love Ripley’s Gamefor that rare glimpse of Tom through another’s eyes. That jolt Highsmith serves up, when we’re reminded that we’re rooting for a murderer.
Which two characters would you invite to dinner and why?
Well now. Tom Ripley, because it would be rude not to invite him. And perhaps Roderick Spode, since I feel certain Tom would know exactly how to handle him.
How do you relax?
Reading, preferably in the bath. Walking by water. The occasional spa day (as long as no one touches my feet, as I have a horror of people touching my feet).
What book do you wish you had written and why?
Penny Hancock wrote a book called Tideline, the theme of which reminded me of John Fowles’s The Collector, but with a dazzling difference (read it, and find out). That’s the idea I wish I’d had. I’d have written a very different book, but how I envy Penny, her idea.
What would you say to your younger self if you were just starting out as a writer.
I wouldn’t waste time telling myself to Never Give Up, as I was blessed with the gift of obstinacy. I would perhaps tell myself to read even more — and more widely — than I did.
How would you describe your series character?
DI Marnie Rome is courageous and complicated. In Never Be Broken(the sixth in the series) she’s right on the cusp of a life-changing event. Which is where I like to write her.
Never be Broken by Sarah Hilary (Published by Headline May 2019
Children are dying on London's streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London's lost. Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She's thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she's white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice. DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela's case and Frankie's too. But he's facing his own turmoil, and it's becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it's too late.
Information about 2019 St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend and how to book tickets can be found here.
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