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John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series page reading order and synopsis; 160x480
John Sandford's Virgil Flowers series page reading order and synopsis; 160x480

Zoe Sharp

answers the Usual Questions

Writer Zoe Sharp, photograph courtesy the author; 220x330

Zoe Sharp

Zoe Sharp wrote her first novel when she was fifteen. Since 1988 she has been writing for a living, starting as a freelance motoring writer and photographer. Her work has taken her to locations in the United States, Japan, Europe, Ireland and the UK.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Yes, hugely. I love meeting readers and getting their feedback on my books. I've also put a number of character names up for auction in aid of various literary charities at the Bouchercon mystery convention or Left Coast Crime. It's always been a delight as well as a challenge to include not just the winning bidder's name, but also some little character asides only they would recognise. And all for excellent causes.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

Quite often in these charity auctions someone will offer 'have breakfast/lunch with the author'. I decided to go a little further and once put 'have breakfast ... and go to the gun range with the author'. And then the lady who made the winning bid had been blind since birth. She went to Radio Shack and bought some cheap transistor radios which we could hang over the target to give her something to aim for, and she did so well with a handgun that the people at the range brought out an MP5 submachine gun for her to try. Afterwards we packaged up the bits and suggested she took them back to the store to see if they would give her a refund. The most interesting thing about this, from my point of view, was the attitude of other people. They expected that I would either refuse to take her shooting, or that it would not be feasible for her to hit the target but she proved them wrong. I've always played with preconceptions in my work. It was great to be able to do it in real life too.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Many! I still love the Robert B Parker books-not just the Spenser series, but also his other series and standalone novels. He had a very distinctive pared-down style that is a master class in saying as much as possible in very few words. And Lee Child is one author I will drop everything to read as soon as his latest Reacher novel comes out. Lately I've discovered the novels of John Lawton - particularly his Inspector Troy series - which are superb examples of absorbing time and place into story.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

A lift engineer or a spaceship pilot, preferably! Failing that, a group of my favourite authors. They're always entertaining company and hey, why should I suffer alone?

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Anyone with claustrophobia or pteromerhanophobia, I suppose. I don't know - a grammar Nazi?

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

I try never to travel without my neck-top computer, which is interfaced by a piece of paper and a pencil. I also always take with me a rubber door stop. Kick it under a hotel room door and it makes it that little bit harder for someone who stayed last week and neglected to hand in their key to get into your room in the middle of the night. Oh, and I always take a supply of extra-strong mints with me as well.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Respect. And a reasonable rate of return.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Hearing that my work has affected somebody, touched them, entertained them, made them cry or cost them a night's sleep. That and the fact that a writer was all I wanted to be for as long as I can remember. I know I'm incredibly lucky not only to have been published multiple times, but to be able to do this full time. Despite the well-publicised successes, the majority of novelists are compelled to have an alternative source of income if they want the luxuries in life-like food, and a roof over their head. I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world.

submitted by Zoë Sharp

8 October 2013

See also: Zoe Sharp's Charlie Fox series page
For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Nottinghamshire, May 2nd. Not polite to ask which year.

Resides: currently peripatetic

Bibliography/Awards: nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Barry (twice), Benjamin Franklin, and Macavity Awards in the United States, as well as twice for the CWA Short Story Dagger. Always the bridesmaid ...

Web site: Zoë Sharp blogs regularly on her own website,, and is a new recruit to the acclaimed group blog, MurderIsEverywhere, as well as making occasional contributions to The Hardboiled Collective. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools around on Facebook, mainly posting silly jokes and forgetting to plug her own work.


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