Author Interview: Sharon Thompson author of The Abandoned is grilled on The Crime Warp today

Sharon Thompson's debut novel The Abandoned was released in January 2018 and it is with great pleasure that I welcome her to The Crime Warp today.  Sharon's lucky because I've been to the shops and we've got Tunnock's tea cakes to munch on whilst we chat! (Check out The Crime Warp's review of The Abandoned here)

Liz: So Sharon, have a tea cake and tell us a bit about The
Available here GB
available here UM
Sharon: My debut novel ‘The Abandoned’ was released on 25th Jan with the leading digital publishers Bloodhound Books UK.
‘The Abandoned’ is about Peggy Bowden who is a backstreet abortionist and brothel owner in 1950s Dublin. It is historical, crime fiction with a powerful woman at the helm. Despite it being a gritty read I’m told it has dark humour in it. I’m glad of that. 
Liz:  Where did the inspiration for The Abandoned come from?
Sharon: In researching 1950s women with criminal records, Peggy evolved from many of the life-stories I read. Peggy just appeared in the words and she lead me through how I thought these many women might have lived. She evolved from an initial idea of - what if an unmarried woman wanted to make a living and life for herself? In those days, women had to give up their jobs if they married in Ireland, so I wondered what profession they might have and how the more fiesta of them might have tried to hold onto their independence. Peggy of course, took on the church and society’s norms, so I wanted to explore her life. Initial reviews of the book are very positive and people are asking for more of my work - so I am delighted.

Liz: Is there a subsidiary character you have created and are particularly fond of and why?

Sharon: Molly McCarthy, is a character that won’t leave me. I’m fond of her for many reasons. She is the glue at the start of ‘The Abandoned’ and her presence is integral to Peggy’s story and the plot. In the story itself, Molly is described by other characters as their ‘favourite’ and so I feel she is possibly my favourite too. There are so many threads in Molly and her character highlights many of the plights women face. Molly waves madly at me sometimes to tell her story in more detail. It will be good to hear how people feel about my Molly.

Lough Foyle
Liz: So, Sharon, where is your favourite place to write and why?

Sharon: I have an old writing desk in our front room and it looks out onto our Donegal garden and Lough Foyle. I can see the weather and the world …. and yet not be in it. Cosy and content, my desk can be cluttered all day with coffee cups and slips of paper, but it’s my creative space and I love it.
Liz: Any tips for would-be writers seeking publication?

Sharon: I’ve started a blog about writing and seeking further publication. It’s on and contains a few short extracts on what I wish I knew  starting out. I will continue to give free tips to budding writers. People can sign up to get my newsletter on my website. 
Also I co-founded a trending tweet chat with Dr Liam Farrell, called #WritersWise. This gives fortnightly/monthly hour long chats with successful writing guest-hosts around writing topics. It’s a great free resource for all would-be writers, as they can communicate with agents, publishers, scouts, published authors and each other. There’s also our first virtual book launch on the 25th Jan for my novel #The Abandoned. We will discuss launching books. has all the details and past chats. Would-be writers can join us using the hashtag #WritersWise at 9-10 pm on Thursdays. Follow the website and #WritersWise for further details. All are welcome and it’s a great net-working space and an excuse to be on social media.  

Liz: So, what about you Sharon? What is it about Crime fiction as a genre that turns you on?

Sharon: As a child, I read Enid Blyton The Famous Five over
and over and in my teens I turned to Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple etc. In school, I adored Lord of The Flies by William Golding, to the point of obsession! People are complex and are not always sweetness and light, so crime gives me the space to explore the darkness that lurks within us all! Evil laugh*

Liz: Reading tastes? Which author are you cosying up with tonight? 

Sharon: I’m trying to read many genres. Hazel Gaynor’s The Cottingley Secret is my stable read at the minute. I snuggle into bed with it but I’m not giving it the head space that this lovely book deserves, so it’s not loved properly on my bedside table. My TBR pile is huge, with mountains of fabulous Bloodhound publications in my kindle too. My last crime reads were Sinead Crowley’s book One Bad Turn and Tony Forder’s Degrees of DarknessThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman is on my desk as I loved the title and cover and I’ve no idea what genre it even is yet. I could have a few books on the go - oh and Kelly Creighton’s short stories gets dipped into every now and again too.  

Liz: If you were to host a “Come Dine With Me” party, who would you invite from the Crime Fiction fraternity? 

Sharon: How many are at Come Dine with me party? Four? Crime fiction folks eh? It could be a dangerous lot in one
location with my terrible cooking!
1. Hercule Poirot (or perhaps David Suchet who plays him so well that I feel they are one and the same person). Hercule would have to come! I think he’d be a gentlemanly presence and I’d love to see him curl his nose up at my cauliflower soup. 
2. Liz Nugent, would have to come. She’s one of the accomplished queens of Irish crime writing. Last time I met her I hadn’t read her books and felt like a complete arse. But now I’m an ardent fan and call myself her ‘friendly stalker’. She’s kind but confident and her books Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait are …. just fecking brilliant. Skin Deep is on the way and I can’t wait! I also imagine she’d drink lots of wine with me and my next guest - 
3. Louise Phillips. Louise is another great Irish crime writing
queen whose books launches I attend regularly! Red Ribbons, The Doll’s House and The Last Kiss are all superb. I feel she’d be a fun guest with lots of writing and life experience to share. 
4. To balance the table, we’d need a man wouldn’t we? I’m picking one of my own characters for this - Ernest Tilby. He’s from my short story ‘The Tilby Twins’ which was recently published by The Drunk Monkeys online magazine.
I would love to meet him in person but I’d also be a bit worried what he might do.

Liz: You know, I live just along from Cottingley. It's in Bradford would you believe?  About five minutes from my house. Could you describe the book you are working on at the moment using only 5 words? 

Sharon: “Devina” - Female who ‘gets-off’ on killing.

Liz: Oooh - interesting! Do you have competing ideas for future projects and have you ever worked on more than one at the same time? 

Sharon: Yes, I’ve too many ideas knocking about. As well as editing the above project, I’m working on another historical crime fiction novel. Sinful Roses, is about the darkest secrets of a 1950s Irish village! 
Now everyone where I live is worried. Evil laugh*

Liz: Sharon,. it's been a pleasure to meet you.  Please have another tea cake before you go.  Hope to see you again soon.