The Craftsman is the haunting new crime and Thriller novel to be released by Sharon Bolton. Ahead of the release of this amazing new book, we sent Sharon some questions on behalf of our Reader Review Panel Members who were lucky enough to read the book before it was published.
Where did you get the idea for this book? - Adrienne Kinsella
I grew up in Lancashire, very close to the Pendle forest, and have always been interested in the story of the Lancashire witches. I’ve been waiting for years to write a novel inspired by them, and particularly wanted to explore the theme of how women become witches.
Was there a lot of research involved in the writing of this book? - Adrienne Kinsella
I already knew the historical detail surrounding the witch trials, so most of my research involved life and policing in the 1960s. I was around in the 1960s, albeit as a very young child, and can remember quite a lot about what life was life back then, especially in a small northern town.
Have you got a favourite author, and which book has inspired you the most? - Alexandra Williams
I don’t have one favourite author, nor one favourite book. I don’t imagine many writers have. Works that have always and continue to inspire me include the works of the Brontes, Charles Dickens, and Wilkie Collins. Basically, the Gothic movement, which of course continues to this day. A particular influence in writing this book, though, was Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate.
There are so many elements at play in the book; being a WPC in the 1960s, undertaking and funeral, witchcraft and the Pendle trials - What sources did you use when writing these elements? - Nicola Kingswell
My research begins with the internet, and then I read around my subject matter as much as possible. Television documentaries and dramas and personal recollections – both my own and other peoples’ can also be very useful.
Is there anything about the finished edit you would change if you could? - Nicola Kingswell
No. Books that are traditionally published by the large commercial publishing houses run through a formidable gauntlet of agents, editors, sub editors and proof readers. On top of that a book will probably have been through several drafts before anyone sees it but the author. By the time my books are published, they are as good as I, and the team who support me, can get them.
Would you like to go for a Babycham with Florence? - Nicola Kingswell
I’d love a Babycham (with Florence!)
What inspired the setting of The Craftsman? The timing, the inclusion of witchcraft and setting the story in Pendle all seems very specific. - Nikki McMath
My own upbringing in Lancashire and my lifelong fascination with the Pendle witches was the original inspiration. After that, the timing was dictated by my need to set the bulk of the novel in a time when life was very difficult for young female police officers.
What inspired you to become a writer?
My love of stories.
What have we got to look forward to next?
The sequel, currently titled The Cunning Wife.
Thanks to the members of our Reader Review Panel for submitting their questions. If you would like to find out more about The Craftsman head to the book page on the LoveReading site.