June 27, 2014

Author Guest Post + Giveaway: Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary

Hey everyone! Today I'm doing a spotlight feature on a new thriller by Sarah Hilary - and she was kind enough to write a guest post for me! Read on for more info on the book and for Sarah's post about her leading lady - Marnie Rome.

Someone Else's Skin: Introducing Detective Inspector Marnie Rome
Author: Sarah Hilary
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Penguin


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...

Meet Marnie Rome

Sherlock Holmes, Tom Ripley and Clarice Starling all played a part in how I write Detective Inspector Marnie Rome, the chief protagonist in Someone Else’s Skin. Sherlock got in first, whispering in my ear when I was ten, about the appeal of a hero with hidden depths. Tom Ripley convinced me that a good character could be bad. But it wasn’t until I read The Silence of the Lambs and witnessed Clarice Starling’s unique brand of courage, full of very human cracks, that inspiration really took hold. 

Looking back, it all seems terribly logical; all roads led to Marnie Rome. But there was a time when I didn’t know she existed, and a time when I thought she was a straight-die detective without secrets of any kind. Perhaps there was a clue in the way she arrived (in a story that came before Someone Else’s Skin): biker-booted, hiding behind contact lenses. It took a bit of digging to scratch beneath her surface. Marnie doesn’t give up her secrets easily and she has a talent for surprising me, which I hope means she surprises readers, too. 

I don’t believe in characters who ‘write themselves’, in case you were imagining something of that sort. Sooner or later you have to sit down and write them yourself. But Marnie has a habit of standing at my shoulder as I write, and shaking her head when I get stuff wrong (like the time I was about to give her a third cup of coffee and she pointed out that what she actually wanted was a Peroni). Conan Doyle ended up hating Sherlock Holmes, which doesn’t usually happen unless your character has taken on a life of his or her own.

When the book came out in the UK, someone asked me how hard it was to balance Marnie’s character traits, “She’s psychologically damaged, yet incredibly strong.” Well, I associate strong characters with survival – Marnie’s trauma made her the woman she is; not just strong but compassionate, too. My grandmother, who survived a Japanese PoW camp as a young mother, always said that the trauma she suffered made her a stronger (and better) person. So I think in my mind, the two go hand in hand. 

I’m excited and a little nervous about introducing Marnie to a new world of readers in the US. There will be people who don’t like her, of course. She can be prickly, single-minded; even cagey. But for those who take the time to get to know her, I hope there is a treat in store: a heroine who’s human and unique. Flawed, yes, but in all the right ways. I like to think she and Clarice Starling would get on a storm. 
Sarah Hilary lives in Bath, England, 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, she won the Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2012. SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN is her first novel. 

Visit her at https://www.facebook.com/Sarah.Hilary.Author

  Giveaway: The wonderful people at Penguin are allowing me to give away (1) finished copy of Someone Else's Skin to a lucky reader! Open to US only!


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