After an unplanned and unwanted pause I’m back, this time moreover with an exciting interview with Sarah Painter, the author of ‘contemporary fiction with a touch of magic’. I loved her latest released book In The Light of What We See (I wrote a review here) and luckily she agreed on a small interview about this novel and more.
Sarah, in your books there is always some paranormal element. Are you interested in paranormal activity also as a person, not only as an author?
Great question! I have always been drawn to the supernatural and I adore books (and films and television shows) which have a touch of the paranormal. In everyday life, I like to think of myself as a rational being, but I am fascinated by the stuff which is at the edge of our current understanding.
What do you say about the fact that In The Light of What We See hit number three in the Kindle chart in such a short time after being released?
Meep! Sorry, that’s my habitual sound of extreme excitement (and anxiety). It perfectly sums up the wonderful, overwhelming and scary feeling of having a book published. I am absolutely delighted that In The Light of What We See has done so well, though – I keep pinching myself!
Why have you decided to set up the storyline in Brightons’ Royal Sussex County Hospital? Do you have any kind of relationship to that place?
I chose the hospital in Brighton as I knew I wanted to set that strand of the narrative on the south east coast of England, as that is where my gran trained and worked as a nurse before and during WWII. A lot of In The Light of What We See was inspired by the stories she used to tell me about her nursing days. I also needed a hospital which had also been open during the 1930s (using the same buildings) and that narrowed the field considerably. Plus, when I found The Royal Sussex and looked at an arial black and white picture of it, I just knew it was the one.
I really like the portrayal of both main women characters as strong individuals – both of them overcome their unenviable situations. Did you have an inspiration in someone particular?
Thank you so much! Both Mina and Grace turned up in my head pretty-much fully-formed, so I don’t feel I can take much credit. I was rooting for them both to overcome their situations, though, and that required them to display a certain amount of grit.
An integral part of the story is a toxic relationship. What was the main reason why you have decided to write about it?
This is not going to be a very satisying answer, I’m afraid, as I’m not sure where that impulse came from. I am a very intuitive writer (I don’t plan and often have absolutely no idea where a story is going) but I do find manipulative people interesting to write about. You’re never quite sure how far they will go…
Do you have already an idea for the next book?
Yes. I’m almost always in the middle of a project as I’m happiest when I’m writing. I have a few book ideas queued up and have just sent a first draft of one of them to my agent. It is set in Scotland in Arisaig and Edinburgh, which makes research a bit easier (I live near Edinburgh).
Thank you Sarah for speaking with me, it was a pleasure.