Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hearing Voices {+ Giveaway}

No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary - Thoughts in ProgressIt’s a thrill to welcome UK based author Sarah Hilary to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about her recently released mystery, NO OTHER DARKNESS.

A haunting new mystery in Sarah’s exceptional Detective Inspector Marnie Rome series, NO OTHER DARKNESS, was released by Penguin Original last month. Sarah’s debut SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, where readers were first introduced to the “impressive new cop-heroine” (The Times, London), recently won the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and garnered praise from well-known mystery thriller writers such as Edgar Award-winner Alex Marwood, and bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming. 

Although it is the second book of a new series, NO OTHER DARKNESS can be read as a stand-alone. To celebrate the release, Sarah joins us today to talk about ‘Hearing Voices’ and to offer a giveaway where one lucky visitor to Thoughts in Progress can win both SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN and NO OTHER DARKNESS.

Publishers Weekly gave NO OTHER DARKNESS a starred reviewed, “Both victims and villain abound in Hilary’s searing, intricately plotted police procedural”. Sharply written and insidiously gritty, Sarah offers readers a refreshing diversity to the crime genre in Marnie Rome and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake. DI Rome a complex female detective who understands too well the sinister secrets families can hide, and DS Jake who must deal with the obstacles within his own unit as a black, gay sergeant.

Here’s a brief synopsis of NO OTHER DARKNESS:

        DI Marnie Rome and her partner Detective Sergeant Noah Jake are investigating the recent discovery of two dead boys in a bunker beneath a London garden. Why has no one claimed the bodies? And who keeps leaving little gifts where the bodies were discovered?
        Terry and Beth, under whose garden the bodies were discovered, have two children of their own, and are also fostering a difficult withdrawn fourteen-year-old boy named Clancy, and Marnie can’t help seeing the shadow of Stephen in Clancy. His fascination with the gruesome discovery in the garden seems unhealthy, to say the least. Then a discovery in Terry and Beth’s house makes Marnie look afresh at the relationships before her.
        Is Marnie’s past blinding her to the truth? Only one thing is certain: when Terry and Beth’s biological children vanish, Marnie can’t waste a moment finding them.  

Please join me in giving Sarah a warm welcome as she talks about ‘Hearing Voices.’ Welcome, Sarah.

Like many mystery writers, I’m often asked how it feels to write about difficult topics such as domestic violence or child abduction—and how do I switch off when I’m not writing? 

The honest answer is that I never switch off. One part of my brain is always tuned into stories and characters, listening out for chatter in cafes and bars, and from radios and televisions. This is true, I’m sure, for all writers. I suspect it’s especially true for mystery writers, as we draw so much of our inspiration from real life. 

I can never quite turn off the whispers in my head, nor would I want to. My detectives, Marnie and Noah, began as whispers. All my characters begin this way. And I’ve learnt to listen out for new voices—nice and nasty, honest and untrustworthy. 

When I was planning my cast of characters for Someone Else’s Skin (my debut) I worried about how to choose the right mix of women trapped in the refuge at the heart of the story. I needn’t have worried—they chose me. There’s Ayana, the young girl blinded by her brothers. Mab, the elderly magpie with an eye for treasure. Shelley, who thinks she’s tougher than the rest of them put together. And Hope, who stabs her husband in desperation right at the start of the story.

NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in my Marnie Rome series, opens with two small boys trapped in an underground bunker. I still hear those boys’ voices, and readers have told me they do too. It’s important to me that I keep faith with my fictional cast, bringing them to life on the page and keeping them alive long after the books are finished. Marnie and Noah’s investigation takes them into dark territory but I give them downtime. Noah gets to party with his boyfriend Dan, and Marnie is getting closer to Ed Belloc, her steady point in spinning world.

As for me, I like to walk and watch TV and drink great coffee in busy cafes where the white noise might just be hiding my next big idea.

Sarah, thanks for joining us and sharing this insight into the voices you hear. I especially enjoy books where the characters stay with me long after I’ve finished their story.

Now for a bit of background on Sarah.

Author Sarah Hiliary - Thoughts in Progress
Author Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary lives in Bath in the UK, 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, won the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and has been published worldwide. The Marnie Rome series is being developed for television. 

You can connect with Sarah on Twitter.


Thanks to Sarah and the lovely Meredith at Penguin, this giveaway is for a copy of both SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN and NO OTHER DARKNESS. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and the deadline to enter is 12 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. Winners will be contacted by email and will have 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected.

Thanks so much for stopping by during Sarah’s visit. I'll be posting my thoughts on this tantalizing mystery later this month. Do you enjoy characters that stay with you long after you’ve finished a book?

*This post contains affiliate links.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for this introduction to a fascinating author - and her work.
    While not a writer I am a chronic eavesdropper. And don't plan on giving up anytime soon.

  2. If people still hear those boys' voices, you did it right. Congratulations on book number two, Sarah!

  3. I would love to read these books—thanks for the chance to win them!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  4. Thanks, Pamela, for the opportunity to chat on your blog. And thank you, Alex, for the kind congratulations!

    1. Sarah, thank you for visiting Thoughts. It's always fun to learn more about an author and their characters. Wishing you much success.

      Hi, all. Thanks for stopping by. Best of luck to those entering the giveaway.

  5. They both sound terrific. Can't wait. grammyd01@comcast.net

  6. Thanks so much, both. I know just what you mean about not ever turning your mind off. I'm the same way about crime fiction, whether I'm writing it or reading it...

  7. Without memorable characters who remain etched in my experiential memory after I've immersed myself in a story, a novel just isn't a novel! Thanks for your informative analysis and the giveaway. Cheers, Kara S

  8. These novels sound enthralling. What a talented author. Thanks for this great feature and wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. Both novels sound wonderful and would hold my attention. Thanks for the chance to read them

  10. This series sounds almost cinematic in scope, I need to check them out.

  11. Those voices, they just won't stop! Sometimes makes me wonder if there's only a tiny, tiny line between being a writer and being that person who thinks the voices are aliens controlling his mind and actions. :D

  12. Wow. How creepy is that cover? I may have nightmares because of it!

  13. I haven't read the first in the series either...I like when books are written that can be read as stand-alones too. And i love mysteries!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.