2016 Author Interviews Blog Tours Constable Sara Sheridan
Blog Tour: Operation Goodwood - Author Interview with Sara Sheridan
I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for Sara Sheridan's latest book, Operation Goodwood. It is the fifth installment of her successfull Mirabelle Bevan Series and to celebrate its publication, Sara has stopped by to talk about her books and her writing with us.
1) Hi Sara and welcome to Alba in Bookland. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your latest work?
I’ve been writing for ages - about 20 years or so! I started with contemporary commercial fiction but it wasn’t long before I got fascinated by history and I started to write adventure/epic novels set in the early 1800s and this series of 1950s murder mysteries. I’m hooked now!
2) Operation Goodwood is the 5th installment in your Mirabelle Bevan Series. For readers who are new to this series, how would you describe her?
She has been described as Miss Marple with an edge and I think that just about sums her up. Though she’s younger than Miss Marple.
3) Why did you choose the 50s? What makes that decade special for you?
It was a connection with my father. He grewup in the 1950s and met my mother late in the decade. He occasionally told me stories about London and Brighton at that time - he lived in London and his grandmother lived down in Brighton, you see. I thought I’d write him a short story for his birthday set in Brighton in 1951. The 1950s for me meant Grease - that was pretty much it. So off I went. I am a bit of a swot, so I did some research and just got sucked in.
4) How do you research your settings?
It can be anything that gives detail - old newsreels, magazines, newspapers, photographs even items in vintage shops. Sometimes I luck out and I meet someone who lived in Brighton in the 1950s and I pump them for information.
5) Are you a plot planner or do you prefer to just write and see what happens?
I plan very little. Agatha Christie said that if she knew who did it, the writing would be too obvious. I wouldn’t dream of disagreeing with her so I write the books like people read them - not know exactly what’s going to happen next.
6) You also write historical novels set in the nineteenth century. How do they differ to your crime series?
It’s a very different process. There are different materials - no video obviously and not many photographs prior to about 1840. I spend a lot of time in the archive for those. I find myself fascinated by the lives of explorers and adventurers of that period. They were immensely brave. I rarely set out without a google map in hand. They had no idea where they were going! But they went anyway. Extraordinary.
7) What are the authors that you admire the most or have inspired you the most?
T C Boyle. I love his book Water Music - it inspired me to want to write historical fiction. His narrative voice is absolutely immediate. You’re there (in the case of Water Music, you’re there in 1799 on Mungo Park’s doomed trip up the Niger)
8) If you had a time machine, which era would you like to visit?
Can I go forward? I’m curious about the history we’re making today. I want to know what happens next.
9) And which personality would you like to meet?
My great great grandchildren, I suppose.
10) Finally, can we expect more Mirabelle Bevan books?
Heavens, YES. I have a not-very-evil masterplan to write 11 in the series. One a year from 1951 to 1961. It’s a fascinating decade and I want to cover it. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do Mirabelle’s last case - in a Poirot-like flourish.
Thank you so much to Sara Sherida for answering all my questions. I always find it fascinating to learn how authors write and research their books. Operation Goodwood will be a great addition to this series. Read all about it here:
Title: Operation Goodwood (Mirabelle Becan #5)
Author: Sara Sheridan
Published: April 7th 2015 by Constable
Blurb: 1955. When Mirabelle Bevan is rescued from a fire at her home on the Brighton seafront she's lucky to escape unharmed - but the blaze takes the life of her neighbour, Dougie Beaumont, a dashing and successful racing driver living in the flat above. It soon becomes clear that this was arson, raising questions about the young man's death that Mirabelle can't resist investigating further. With her curiosity piqued and on the trail of a potential killer she finds herself taking on the mysterious world of Fleet Street with its long lunches and dodgy deals as well as the glamorous motor racing world at Goodwood.
It gradually becomes clear to Mirabelle that Dougie Beaumont's life was not as above-board as it first seemed and that this talented man had many secrets, hidden when he was alive by his international lifestyle where he was constantly on the move. Then, when a second shocking murder takes place, Mirabelle's pursuit is frustrated first by Dougie's well-connected and suspicious family and then by the official investigation - led by her would-be lover Superintendent McGregor. With the help of her colleague at McGuigan & McGuigan Debt Recovery, Vesta, and some of her ex-intelligence service connections, Mirabelle discovers the dark secrets of the glamorous racing driver have ramifications far beyond the English coastline.