Sara Sheridan - Author

About the Author

Sara Sheridan is an historical novelist who writes two different kinds of books. One is a series of cosy crime noir mysteries set in Brighton in the 1950s – Brighton Belle - and the other is a set of novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers and adventurers (1820 - 1845) – The Secret Mandarin and Secret of the Sands. Tipped in Company and GQ magazines, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She received a Scottish Library Award for Truth or Dare, her first novel, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize. An occasional journalist and blogger, Sara appears on BBC Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent and blogs for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. She is a twitter evangelist and a self-confessed swot. Sara sits on the Committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland where she lives and also on the board of the UK-wide writers' collective '26' and took part in the acclaimed 26 Treasures project in 2010 at the V&A, in 2011 at National Museum of Scotland and in 2012 at the Children's Museum, Bethnal Green. She is a member of the Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers Association. Sara also mentors for the Scottish Book Trust. More information can be found at www.sarasheridan.com and she can be found on Twitter at @sarasheridan. She lives in Edinburgh with her family.

 

Author photo © Martin Melecis

 

Below is a Q&A with this author

 

1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I never intended to be a writer though as it turns out I think I'd been gearing myself towards writing for years. It wasn't until I had to find something that I could work from at home that I thought I might try to write a book and lo, I had an English degree and was inspired by history and had all these stories that just flowed out of me. My parents were a huge inspiration and my History and English teachers from school too.

 

2. What keeps you motivated as a writer?

I love story – it's word-heroin. It's the same thing, really, that keeps me motivated as a reader. That feeling of being caught up in the middle of a narrative and nothing outside of that fiction existing. You can multiply that by ten if you're writing rather than reading it.

 

3. Do you have a routine when you’re writing (i.e. silence, a particular genre of music, only working in the morning, only working in your underpants?)

I often work in bed but that is more about just getting on with it as soon as I open my eyes! These days I write wherever I am and that might be at a book festival or on a plane or in a library – I switch my brain into the story and I just go. I also like the café up the road – coffee on tap is a great resource for a writer!

 

4. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer?

Eyes down, specs on, sleeves up and Go!

 

5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while writing a book?

When I dream about it. I don't write magical realism but that's what all my stories become when I dream about them. It's like being a stick of rock – the words go all the way through.

 

6. Where would you like to be right now, anywhere in the world?

Well as I am writing this in bed I can't say In Bed Writing, so I suppose I'll say somewhere sunny, reading (which is my other love).

 

7. If you could swop lives with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?

That's difficult because most characters don't have happy lives and that's what makes them interesting. I wouldn't want to be my heartbroken 1950s detective, Mirabelle Bevan or one of the slave girls, Farida and Zena from Secret of the Sands but if I could be a bloke (why not?) I'd love to be John Murray (who is a real-life character – a pre-eminent Scottish publisher from the early 1800s) because he ran an amazing literary salon. Strangely I'd also like to be one of my recent crime victims – Rose Bellamy Gore. She goes missing in London Calling in the most fantastic frock!

 

8. If you weren't a writer, what would your 'dream' occupation be?

I'd probably be an antiques dealer. I'm obsessed by history and I love objects – I always research part of a period through its artefacts whether they're in a museum or a car boot sale. I'd love to do that for a living or maybe (if I was indulging my swotty side) I'd work in a museum – which is almost the same thing.

 

9. If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character?

I always hoped Hermione Norris would want to be Mirabelle if there was a TV adaptation of the Mysteries (fingers crossed)

 

10.   Which authors do you particularly admire?

I have wide-ranging admirations. Agatha Christie for her sense of drama, the American writer TC Boyle whose historical descriptions are so vivid you can taste the era off the pages, Bill Bryson for his narrative voice, Susannah Clarke for her sense of magic, Joseph O'Connor for his ability to communicate story, William Goldman because he's quirky and yet accessible. Gosh, I'm getting quite excited just making this list.

Featured books by Sara Sheridan

Other books by Sara Sheridan

The Ice Maiden

The Ice Maiden

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/07/2018

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/07/2018

Brighton 1956 When Mirabelle's on-off boyfriend, Superintendent Alan McGregor, is taken off a gruesome murder case because the key suspect is an old school friend, Mirabelle steps in to unravel the tangle of poisoned gin, call girls and high stakes gambling that surrounds the death. It isn't long before McGregor's integrity is called into question and Mirabelle finds herself doubting him. So when a wartime hero's body turns up on the Sussex Downs, she is glad that McGregor is caught up in a mystery of his own as Brighton's establishment closes ranks. Mirabelle is in a dangerous situation though and she doesn't have McGregor watching her back on this one. And when the dead man on the Downs turns out to have been a member of a deadly thrillseekers club, related to the earlier murder, Mirabelle is determined to uncover the truth and free the innocent people who are bearing the brunt of the cover up. As her relationship with McGregor reaches breaking point, she has to draw on all her wartime experience to stand up for what she believes in - even if it means their relationship may not survive.

Secret Mandarin

Secret Mandarin

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: eBook Release Date: 23/11/2017

A disgraced woman. A faraway land. A forbidden love... An unforgettable tale set in Victorian London and 1840s China from a shining, young historical talent.Desperate to shield her from scandal, Mary's brother-in-law, the ambitious botanist Robert Fortune, forces her to accompany him on a mission to China to steal tea plants for the East India Company. But Robert conceals his secret motives - to spy for the British forces, newly victorious in the recent Opium War. His task is both difficult and dangerous - the British are still regarded as enemies by the Chinese and exporting tea bushes carries the death sentence. In these harsh conditions Mary grieves for her London life and the baby she has been forced to leave behind, while her fury at Robert intensifies. As their quest becomes increasingly treacherous, Robert and Mary disguise themselves as a mandarin and man-servant. Thousands of miles from everything familiar, Mary revels in her new freedom and the Chinese way of life - and when danger strikes, finds unexpected reserves of courage. The Secret Mandarin is an unforgettable story of love, fortitude and recklessness - of a strong woman determined to make it in a man's world and a man who will stop at nothing to fulfil his desires.

Operation Goodwood

Operation Goodwood

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/07/2017

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.

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/07/2017

'With sharp blows delivered for gender and racial equality, Sheridan's story builds to a chilling climax' Daily Mail Brighton 1956 When Mirabelle's on-off boyfriend, Superintendent Alan McGregor, is taken off a gruesome murder case because the key suspect is an old school friend, Mirabelle steps in to unravel the tangle of poisoned gin, call girls and high stakes gambling that surrounds the death. It isn't long before McGregor's integrity is called into question and Mirabelle finds herself doubting him. So when a wartime hero's body turns up on the Sussex Downs, she is glad that McGregor is caught up in a mystery of his own as Brighton's establishment closes ranks. Mirabelle is in a dangerous situation though and she doesn't have McGregor watching her back on this one. And when the dead man on the Downs turns out to have been a member of a deadly thrillseekers club, related to the earlier murder, Mirabelle is determined to uncover the truth and free the innocent people who are bearing the brunt of the cover up. As her relationship with McGregor reaches breaking point, she has to draw on all her wartime experience to stand up for what she believes in - even if it means their relationship may not survive.

On Starlit Seas

On Starlit Seas

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/07/2016

Chocolate. Smuggling. Secrets and Lies. Brazil and London 1824. Charged with a mission by the Empress of Brazil, celebrated writer and the toast of Georgian London, Maria Graham sets off for England with the Brazilian civil war at its height. Newly widowed and a woman travelling alone, the stakes are high and when she accepts roguish smuggler Captain James Henderson's offer of passage on his ship, she gets more than she bargains for...Henderson is on a journey of his own, back to his childhood home in Covent Garden. Onboard Maria discovers both a dangerous secret concealed in a chocolate bar and an irresistible attraction to the mysterious captain. But falling in love with a smuggler is almost unthinkable for a woman of Maria's social standing. Though Henderson tries his utmost to abandon his life of crime and forge a new identity as a London gentleman, he is caught in a dangerous tangle with a deadly aristocratic smuggling ring. The only chance he has to save himself and prove worthy of Maria is to unmask the gang and break free from their clutches, but will it be enough?On Starlit Seas is a breathless tale of adventure, love and chocolate set at the height of the British Empire.

Brighton Belle

Brighton Belle

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2016

'Feisty, intelligent and charming' James Runcie, author of the The Grantchester Mysteries 1951, Brighton. With the war over and the Nazis brought to justice at Nuremberg, Mirabelle Bevan (retired Whitehall secretary) thinks her skills are no longer required. After her lover's death she retires to the seaside to put the past behind her and takes a job at a debt collection agency run by the charismatic Big Ben McGuigan. But when the case of Romana Laszlo - a pregnant Hungarian refugee - comes in, Mirabelle soon discovers that her specialist knowledge is vital. With enthusiastic assistance from insurance clerk Vesta Churchill, they follow a mysterious trail of gold sovereigns and corpses that only they can unravel. 'Beneath that prim exterior lies a fearless, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of gal. One part Nancy Drew, two parts Jessica Fletcher, Mirabelle has a dogged tenacity to rival Poirot' Sunday Herald

Mirabelle Bevan Mystery Collection

Mirabelle Bevan Mystery Collection

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: eBook Release Date: 01/03/2015

Mirabelle has a dogged tenacity to rival Poirot' - Sunday Herald 'I was gripped from start to finish' - Newbooks magazine 'Unfailingly stylish, undeniably smart' - Daily Record 'A crime force to be reckoned with' - Good Reads 'Plenty of colour and action, will engage the reader from the first page to the last. Highly recommended' - Bookbag The first three Mirabelle Bevan thrillers in one omnibus edition, plus a teaser sample for British Bulldog, the fourth book in the series. BRIGHTON BELLE 1951. Brighton. With the excitement of the war over and the Nazis brought to justice at Nuremberg, Mirabelle Bevan (retired Secret Service) thinks her skills are no longer required. After the death of her lover she moves to the seaside to put the past behind her and takes a job as a secretary at a debt collection agency run by the charismatic Big Ben McGuigan. But when confronted by the case of Romana Laszlo, a pregnant Hungarian refugee, Mirabelle discovers that her specialist knowledge is vital. With enthusiastic assistance from the pretty insurance clerk down the corridor, Vesta Churchill, Mirabelle follows a mysterious trail of gold sovereigns, betting scams and corpses to a dark corner of Austerity Britain where the forces of evil remain alive and well. ENGLAND EXPECTS Set during the summer heatwave of 1953, England Expects finds Mirabelle and Vesta investigating the seemingly unrelated murders of a racing journalist and a cleaning woman. Their searches lead them through Brighton Pavilion's crumbling passageways to the quad of a Cambridge college and finally into the shady underworld of Brighton freemasonry. And, while not on the murder trail, Vesta has to make some difficult decisions about her personal life. LONDON CALLING 1952, Brighton and London. 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. BRITISH BULLDOG - TEASER CHAPTERS British Bulldog sees Mirabelle on the trail of an RAF pilot who went missing during the war and mysteriously never came home. Her search takes her to Paris where she discovers an espionage operation smuggling secrets out of Russia. Her investigations also uncover some unwelcome truths about her wartime lover Jack and the true nature of his intelligence work in France.

I'm Me

I'm Me

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/03/2011

I'm not a princess, a pirate or a witch! I'M ME! Grown ups. Lovely Aunt Sara can pretend all she wants but Imogen doesn't want to be a princess, a pirate or a witch. Not today. She wants to go to the park with her aunt and play with a ball, swing higher than a tree and eat ice-cream. And why not? This book is perfect for children who know their own minds -and grown-ups who think they don't.

I'm Me

I'm Me

Author: Sara Sheridan Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/03/2011

I'm not a princess, a pirate or a witch! I'M ME! Grown ups. Lovely Aunt Sara can pretend all she wants but Imogen doesn't want to be a princess, a pirate or a witch. Not today. She wants to go to the park with her aunt and play with a ball, swing higher than a tree and eat ice-cream. And why not? This book is perfect for children who know their own minds -and grown-ups who think they don't.

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