London Calling

London Calling

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The second book in the Mirabelle Bevan Mystery series, set in 1952 - it was really scary writing the second, actually. So many readers had warmed to Brighton Belle (the first) and I knew they had expectations. It was also exciting though. The Mirabelles are my first series and there are going to be 11 of them so being able to develop the characters over such a huge spectrum was fascinating for me - from a technical point of view and fun too because such a lot has to happen. So, the story: when 17 year old debutante Rose Bellamy Gore goes missing in a seedy Soho jazz club the prime suspect is black saxophone player, Lindon Claremont, the last person to be seen talking to her. Under suspicion, Lindon heads straight for Brighton and his childhood friend, Vesta Churchill who works with ex-Secret Service office girl Mirabelle Bevan, now in charge of the McGuigan and McGuigan Debt Collection Agency. When Lindon is taken into custody the two women dive into London's underworld of smoky night clubs, smart cars and lethal cocktails to establish the truth. Researching this book I got to hang out with elderly jazz musicians and chat about all the (very naughty) things they got up to in the 1950s!

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More About Me

My next project

More Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries and also more historical novels. It's busy round here.

My favourite authors

T C Boyle - love his Water Music. Joseph O'Connor for Star of the Sea. And flawed though it is I love Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I love Georgette Heyer and Marian Keyes and Bill Bryson and Patrick Hamilton...

My desert island book

It'd have to be Water Music by T C Boyle. It sparkles and the language is complex enough to let you enjoy reading it again and again.

My big break

Recently there were Mirabelle Bevan posters up in my local train station. I realised that I've been hoping for that for ages. It felt like a big break - something new. We'll see...

My advice to would-be writers

Keep writing and get lucky is the traditional one. I also think fledgling writers these days need to hone their wider career skills - public speaking, online and in the traditional media.

How I got published

It's ridiculous! I wrote a novel (Truth or Dare - my first) and looked up in the library that there were 96 publishers of fiction in the UK. I made 96 copies and posted them off. In three weeks I had my first offer. It's sickening. I know.

My favourite place to write

In bed.

How I get myself in the mood for writing

I just wake up and I'm ready to go...

Sara Sheridan

I was born in Edinburgh in 1968 and went to an all-girl school with little to recommend it except great English and History teachers. In this I was jammy because these subjects come so much easier when you have people who are enthused by them as your guides. I went on to read English at Trinity College Dublin and had a succession of necessarily commercial jobs (other writers seem routinely to work at endearing and quirky professions before publication) which I chucked in to write Truth or Dare in 1996. It was an impulsive decision. I now sit on the Society of Authors Committee for Scotland which is one of my more energetic activities - and on the Board of the writers' collective '26'. I love radio and have appeared on Women's Hour and From Our Own Correspondent. I also write 2 sets of historical novels: the Mirabelle Bevan mysteries which is like an edgy Miss Marple (set in the 1950s) and a set of books about Victorian and Georgian adventurers.

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Questions to Sara

Q: Hello, Sara, I was curious as to why you have such a keen interest in the fifties?

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Rob Roughley, 16/10/2013 21:39

A: It started when my Dad told me a story about a woman he'd seen in Brighton in the 1950s (when he was a kid). I decided to write a short story based on it but I'm a swot so I had to look into the period. And that got me started! It soon became clear it wasn't going to be a short story - it was going to be a series of novels. There.

Sara Sheridan, 17/10/2013 09:21

Q: Hi! I was curious: Do you find writing in a historical time period easier than writing something set in the present, or more difficult? Is it harder "getting into the head" of a person from a different time period?

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Brandon Luffman, 02/06/2013 05:48

A: That's a good question. Well, really, historical writing is more difficult in that it takes a huge amount of research. But I'm a bit of a swot so I like the research element. I find it compelling!

Sara Sheridan, 04/06/2013 20:01

Other Books by Sara Sheridan:

  • England Expects
  • The Secret of the Sands
  • The Secret Mandarin
  • Brighton Belle