Anyone who follows my blog will know that I am a massive crime fiction fan (and I seem to be on a one-woman crime (fic) wave at the moment! ) A couple of months ago I discovered S J Bolton and she has now been added to my list of favourite authors after devouring three of her four books in just a few months (the final one is almost top of my TBR pile too). I was thrilled when Sharon (Bolton) agreed to be interviewed on my blog.
Check out more about this fabulous author on her website here.
Meet the author:
Boof – Firstly, congratulations on your third book, Blood Harvest, being
longlisted for the Theakstons Crime Awards. How do you feel?
Sharon – Hugely flattered, but not desperately hopeful. The next stage is decided by public vote. I mean, Lee Child is on the longlist too and he has a few more readers
than I. About four million!
Boof – Your latest book, Now You See Me, is out now. In this book the murders of women in London are being investigated and they have all the hallmarks of Jack the Ripper (a case that was never solved back in the 18th century). What is your fascination with Jack the Ripper and what sort of research did you do for the book?
Sharon – Millions of us are fascinated by the killer who was unspeakably brutal, totally merciless and, ultimately, completely untouchable. (Secretly, we all want to be one who finally solves the mystery.) I don’t pretend to do that but I hope I’ve given the story a new and original twist. My main character in Now You See Me, DC Lacey Flint, is something of a Ripper expert so I felt I had to be too. I’ve done a huge amount of reading over the past couple of years and could almost lead a Ripper tour myself now.
Boof – There were (and still are) several theories about who Jack the Ripper was, and you use one of them in your book. Without giving anything away (as this is a big part of the book) is this your opinion of how Jack managed to get away scott free each time?
Sharon – I don’t know who Jack the Ripper was and I probably never will. I have my own pet theory (which isn’t shared by Lacey, by the way) but it will only ever be that.
What we have to take away from the Ripper story is that a clever and lucky killer once managed to evade all efforts to catch him. I don’t doubt it could happen again and in Now You See Me, it does.
Boof – What process do you use to write your books: do you have a plot all mapped out from the beginning or do you see where the plot and characters take you? Have you ever been surprised how a book has turned out?
Sharon – I’m in awe of writers who start out with a basic idea and then see where it
takes them. (Straight to the drink’s cabinet is where it would take me!) I have a basic idea and then do a whole pile of research. This can take several months in the first instance and all the time I’m reading and learning, I’m thinking and making notes. The story starts to shape itself. If the research period has gone well, I’ll have an outline plot by the time I start work on the first draft. I then plan each chapter and even each scene. Walking the dog and driving to school are great thought-provokers. I am continually surprised though, by how stories form themselves and how characters make their own decisions. This is one of the great joys of writing fiction.
Boof – Were books a big part of your life growing up? Which books were your favourites as a child?
Sharon – If we weren’t allowed books at the breakfast table, my sisters and I fought to
read the cornflakes packet. We all read constantly in those days. Now, one of my big fears for my son is that, with so many other distractions and amusements at his call, he cannot possibly grow up sharing my passion for books.
Boof – Who are your literary heros now?
Sharon – Stephen King, JK Rowling and Joanne Harris are the three writers who, for me, combine a formidable gift for prose with powerful, quirky and sometimes very dark imaginations. I read many other authors for pleasure but those three have assumed mythical status for me. I met Joanne not too long ago and was so star-struck I simply could not string a sentence together. [Boof – I met Joanne Harris (also one of my very favourite authors) at a book signing years ago too and I had the exact same reaction!]
Boof – Have you ever read a book and thought “damn! I wish I had written that!”?
Sharon – Many times, and usually because of the power and originality of the underlying plot. PD James’ The Children of Men was one such, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History another. [Boof – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Secret History!]
Boof – You’re stranded on a desert island for a year. Which 3 books do you take with you and why?
Sharon – The Lord of the Rings, because I’m a huge Tolkien fan and that would give me three massive books in one. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for exactly the same reasons, although I do admit I’m cheating now. And Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, because it is the only true Bronte masterpiece and the best thriller ever written. [Boof – Jane Eyre! *squeal*]
Boof – You can time travel to any period in history for a day: where and when would you go and why?
Sharon – May 19th, 1536, to rescue Anne Boleyn from the scaffold. Of all the women who were ever manipulated, used and then discarded, by men who claimed to love them but who, ultimately, destroyed them, she is the one who stands out.
Boof – Do you have any famous fans?
Sharon – Lee Child has read both Sacrifice and Now You See Me and gave me a very
complimentary endorsement quote for the latter. I can’t though, in all seriousness, claim he is a fan. Can I? Oh, all right then, he’s nice enough to let me get away with it. (I hope!)
Boof – Are you working on any more books right now and if so can you give us any sneek previews?
Sharon – I’m in the process of finishing off my fifth, the second in the Lacey Flint/Mark Joesbury series, set in Cambridge and featuring an undercover police
investigation into bizarre student deaths.
Boof – Is there a question you wish I had asked and if so what is it?
Sharon – It would be nice if you’d asked me how I feel about being number one on the
Bestseller List, but I do completely understand why you didn’t!
Boof – Quick fire round:
Favourite colour: Green, possibly yellow, maybe a greeny-yellow. Or a yellowy-green?
Favourite animal: My lurcher, Lupe.
Favourite food: Cold sausages (also
Favourite song: Fallen, by Lauren
Favourite film: The Thomas Crown
Favourite holiday destination:Dartmouth
Favourite childhood memory: Big
family Christmases at Grandma’s.
Thank you to Sharon for taking the time to answer these questions so that we can find out a little bit more about her. Have you read any of her books yet? Do you think you will?