Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for Thrillers & More! For those who have been living underneath a rock somewhere and have no idea: who is Sharon Bolton? How would your best friend describe you?

Well, first I’d have to choose a best friend. I have several very close friends and I suspect they’d each describe me slightly differently. What I hope my (fictional) best friend would say is that I try to be kind, am a reasonable cook, a devoted if slightly over indulgent mother, am  passionate about wild swimming, sailing and Halloween and that I tell a half decent story. She might also say I sometimes drink too much white wine.

Is writing something you have always wanted to do? Why do you write?

For the longest time it never occured to me that I could write fiction, so I can’t claim it was a lifelong dream. Looking back, I feel a bit silly, because all the ingredients were there: I have always read a lot, I wrote every day as part of my job, and I’ve always had a very active imagination. Really, I should have started long before I did. Now, I write because I’m good at it, and its immensely satisfying to do something we are good at. And also, because its a very nice way of making a living.

Was writing crime an easy choice for you? What is the appeal of writing crime novels?

We have to write the sort of stories we love to read, and I’ve always loved dark, unsettling stories of human evil and its consequences. If that story has a rich Gothic vein running through it, so much the better.

It has been a bit quiet for Lacey Flint. Was there a particular reason as to why it has taken a while for you to wite a new book about her?

The story has to be right for the character and, for the longest time, the stories I wanted to write weren’t suitable for Lacey and her friends to tell. Once I had the idea of a group of incels committing terror attacks on women in London, I knew instantly it was a Lacey story.

Can you tell us some more about how Lacey Flint came to life? Is she based on anyone you know? Or perhaps a few people combined? When did she first pop up in your head?

The first Lacey novel, Now You See Me (in the UK) was built around the concept of the unreliable narrator. I wanted a character who, even though she was telling the story, the reader couldn’t trust. (I toyed with the idea of making her the murderer for a long time!) Whilst I didn’t quite manage that, the essence of Lacey is that she could, in the right circumstances, be very dangerous indeed.

The dark

How do you come up with the ideas for the cases Lacey Flint worked on? Where do you get your inspiration from?

Usually real life events that strike me as being worthy of investigation. The rise of the incel movement (the story behind The Dark) is something I’ve found deeply unsettling for a long time.

Lacey Flint has quite a connection to the Thames; do you have that same connection as well? Why?

I do. I love all water: sea, lakes and rivers. I swim in the Thames regularly which, for me, is close to a spiritual experience. I find it fascinating, beautiful and, in London, rather frightening. I may, one day, ask that my ashes be thrown onto the Thames.

Do you already know how many books there will be in this series or do you play it by ear?

I’m afraid I have no idea when the next Lacey book will be.

When you write, do you plot everything in advance or do you write by the seat of your pants and let your characters lead the way?

I try to plan as much as possible, but I can never quite see my way through an entire story. Inevitably I reach the point where I simply have to have faith that the story will work and that the characters will steer me through.

Do you do a lot of research?

Of course. Research puts the flesh on the bones of the idea, and can throw up lots of new story lines, even characters. A book with no research to back it up would feel very empty to me. A little like a meal with no nutritional value, just empty calories.

When it comes to writing, are you very structured? Can you write anytime and anywhere? Does it have to be absolutely quiet or…?

I’m fairly structured. I sit at my desk most mornings around nine o’clock and write till I’m done for the day. I prefer quiet. Music is too distracting.

Once you have finished a book, do you have to take some time to distance yourself from the story before you can start another one?

Definitely. The process of leaving a book is something akin to grieving for me. It takes time. Quite often, I write extra scenes in my head, imagining how the characters adjust back to their ordinary worlds once the main thrust of the story is resolved.

Do you ever get stuck in a story and if so, what do you do to get un-stuck?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. There are lots of techniques that writers can use to kick start a story but the most reliable way, I’ve found, is to go back to first principles with the characters. Remind yourself who these people are, what is driving them, what do they want? What would they do in this new situation you’ve placed them in? I’ve never known that approach fail.

Is there anything you would not write about?


Your next book, The Dark, is the latest release in the Netherlands. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Women all over the UK are being attacked; simply because they are women. The perpetrators are incels: young, discontented men who are unable to form meaningful relationships with the opposite sex. These men view women as their birthright, and a loving sexual relationship as something they are entitled to. Off duty police officer, Lacey Flint, successfully foils the first such attack, making herself the incels’ target number one. Especially when their leader realizes that he and she know each other of old.

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your books? Do you ever read reviews?

A young woman in Sweden once told me that reading one of my books distracted her from a planned suicide attempt. I’m still trying to get my head around something that huge, to be honest, but I can’t imagine a better compliment. And I read sensible reviews, not silly ones.

What is the last book you’ve read? Has your taste in books changed in the last ten years?

I read The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley on the recommendation of a former publicist. I don’t think my taste has changed that much, but I have become much less patient with poor writing.

The secret history

Is there a book that made you think ‘…I wish I wrote that’?

Many, but I keep coming back to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

Who is your favorite author?

Another tricky one, as I have several. Kate Atkinson, though, is someone whose books I never miss.

Would you ever consider writing a book with another author? If yes, who would that be?
I’m struggling to see how I could make that work. All writers I know are very particular about their work.

If you could sit down, have a coffee and a chat with someone you admire (dead or alive), who would that be and why?

Ann Boleyn has always fascinated me. So ambitious, clever, brave, determined but ultimately tragic. I’d love a first hand account of her life.

Any guilty pleasures?

Many. White wine, (previously mentioned,) certain reality TV shows, chocolate. Also a few I’m not prepared to admit publicly.

One Comment to: About: Lacey Flint, dark, unsettling stories, the Theems and white wine – Sharon Bolton

  1. Mary Richards

    maart 11th, 2024

    Love your books especially your Lacy Flint novels, ca’nt wait for the next stage in their lives, thank you Sharon for all your news letters to.


Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)