Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Sara Bailey to my blog. I have a copy of  Dark Water on my to-be-read list, from the lovely people at Nightingale Editions. I’ve seen lots of glowing reviews of this book already so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

In the meantime I have a lovely Q&A with the lady herself. Enjoy!


  1. For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I live in Orkney. I grew up here till I was 16 and then returned about a year and a half ago. I’d come back to say goodbye to the island and to organize a memorial bench for my Dad who had died the previous year. I met up with an old boyfriend and everything went from there. I moved back and we got married last year.

I’d written Dark Water as part of my Ph.D and put it away once I’d got my doctorate thinking that it wasn’t really publishable. My husband thought it was insane to do all that work and not publish. So I did some rewrites and sent it out. After several rejections, I sent it to Blackbird – Digital. They decided it wasn’t for them, but emailed to say they were starting a new imprint – Nightingale Editions and would I like to be their debut author. I jumped at the opportunity.

  1. Where did/do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. This book came out of an exercise I did for my MA on memory and place. I wrote about Orkney and the book just sort of spiraled out from there.

  1. Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

No, not really. Characters are an amalgamation of different characteristics from different sources, so while there are elements from people I know, no one person made up one character. I’d say there is an emotional truth in some of them, but that’s all.

  1. How do you pick your characters names?

Names will naturally emerge usually. I tried to resist the name Anastasia for a variety of reasons. But then I heard some people talking one day about someone they knew, ‘She calls herself Anastasia now, what’s wrong with Stacey I’d like to know,’ and I thought, they could have been talking about the character I was writing, so it stuck.

  1. Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

I try to find as many things to do as possible to avoid sitting down and writing. I know it’s getting bad when I start doing ironing or baking bread. However, once I get going on a project I’m usually pretty good at getting into a routine. Walk the dog, grab a coffee and get to the computer.

  1. Do you have a favourite author?

Yes, several – Joanne Harris is one, I follow her on Twitter and I love her tweet stories. Helen Dunmore is another, she’s brilliant with language and has a lovely poetic style. I love Michele Roberts for her spikiness and wit.

  1. If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I met Fay Weldon when I was in my 20’s and asked her to adopt me. I was such a fangirl.

  1. Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes. I read everything. We had a big bookcase on the stairway at our house and I worked my way through it. I always had my nose in a book. I love audio books as well physical books, because I can read in the car without feeling sick or listen while I’m driving.

  1. When did you start to write?

I wrote all the time as a child. We were all encouraged to be creative in our family and while my siblings were all quite good artists, I was hopeless at drawing (I still struggle with stick men!) so I wrote poems and short stories instead.

  1. If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

I wouldn’t dream of interfering with another writer’s work. I know how hard it is to get a satisfying ending, so I think I’d have to respect that.

  1. What are you working on right now?

My next book. Also set in Orkney but more about the Orcadians this time round rather than outsiders coming in. They have a thing they do here called ‘telling the kin’, which is basically locating a person through who they are related to – so if we were speaking about ‘Joe Bloggs’ for instance, there would be a whole backstory related about Joe, his dad, possibly his grandfather and uncles as well as his brothers, who they married and their children.

  1. When can we look forward to a new release?

I’m writing as fast as I can. So as soon as I can get it finished.

  1. How can readers keep in touch with you?

They can contact me via Twitter @baileysara or my blog and, of course, through Nightingale Editions

Many thanks to Sara for answering my questions and joining me on my blog today 🙂

Watch this space for my review!

Publisher: Nightingale Editions (3rd October 2016)

Friendship doesn’t die, it waits…

“I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this book. It uses the Orkney setting beautifully, and the islands are intertwined with the story of a woman facing the past she’d evaded for years: both in the clarity of the light and the roughness of the sea. It uses suspense and structure with skill …The final scene was brilliantly described. Suspense, sex and selkie girls: irresistible!” – Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun, Winner of the Wainwright Prize 2016

A haunting and lyrical novel, ‘Dark Water’ is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession, set in the beautiful Orkney Islands.

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from.

Still haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident – Helena must navigate her way though the prisms of memory and encounter not only her ghosts but also her first love, Dylan, the only one who can help her unravel the past and find her way back to the truth of what really happened that night.

“Like a selkie through the cold North Sea, the story of Helena’s past ploughs inexorably towards its dark conclusion, every line haunted by the ghost of her enigmatic former best friend, Anastasia. With the island of Orkney as the most dynamic of backdrops, author Sara Bailey lures you into a story of intense teenage friendship, first love, and family ties, keeping you spellbound until the very last word.” – S.E. Lynes, author of ‘Valentina’

Sara Bailey’s startling debut from Nightingale, an imprint of Blackbird Digital Books

Buy your copy of Dark Water HERE


2 thoughts on “Q&A with author, Sara Bailey @baileysara @nightingale_eds

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