Sarah Hilary introduces NO OTHER DARKNESS

As part of a Q & A with Barry Forshaw, Sarah Hilary introduces the second novel in the Marnie Rome series, NO OTHER DARKNESS.

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Author Q&A


Barry Forshaw: ‘It’s the second appearance of Marnie Rome and it involves the case of two boys locked in a bunker and left to die. Once again there’s a canny juggling of Rome’s own personal vulnerabilities and elements of social commitment. So can we, without giving anything away, discuss what the theme is?’


Sarah Hilary: I suppose, in the broadest sense, it’s about families and what happens when family life breaks down. In one sense it’s also about mental health, and what happens to us when we lose our own identity, our personality and ourselves to mental illness and how we can ever come back from that. It’s about the idea, which haunts me even now, of what we do when we are that other person, when we are lost to mental illness. Then with the ‘cure’, with the recovery of our sanity, we feel the pain of the things that we did when we were so ill. By becoming better you’re actually, for the first time, becoming acutely aware of the pain you’ve caused and feeling those feelings for the first time; so grief, remorse, horribly powerful feelings which are held at bay when you’re ill. Now, when ‘healthy’, you are subjected to great waves of that sort of emotion.


In a way, it’s also about the nuclear family; it’s about a family that have fostered a boy who is a very angry 14-year-old boy as is, of course, Marnie’s foster brother. At the age of 14 he murdered her parents, so she has every reason to be afraid of 14-year-old teenage boys, especially angry 14-year-old teenage boys. It’s about the ways in which a family try to stay together and try to stay safe and the boundary between safety and freedom. I became quite fascinated and horrified by these people who call themselves ‘preppers’, they are in the UK but they’re mainly in America. There’s this idea that after the world as we know it has come to an end, in this post-apocalyptic scenario, we can carry on if we go to our bunkers, or we shoot our neighbours in case they come and get our food. We have taught our children to shoot our neighbours so we shall survive at all costs and I found that absolutely terrifying. So there was an element of that in it as well.

No Other Darkness


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