This is special edition of the Thursday Throng as this time we are meeting another of the winners of the Hysteria Writing Competition, Sarah Hegarty. One lucky winner will also receive a paperback copy of Hysteria 2, the anthology that Sarah story appears in. To be in with a chance of winning just leave your name, email address and comment at the end of this interview.

Now, over to Sarah.

The Sarah Hegarty Interview

Sarah HegartyWhat is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

When I was nine, I won a story competition run by the kids’ TV programme ‘Magpie’ and my story was published – in a hardback book! Those were the days. Oh – and I’d like to be a bus driver.

What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?

I was really pleased that the judges of the Bridge House prize thought my short story ‘Something Hidden’ showed ‘ rich but subtle story-telling’.

Are the names of your characters important to you?

Vital. I try not to think about names too much: they usually arrive with the character, and feel right. Later I realise that the name expresses an aspect of the character’s personality. I never change a character’s name – it would feel too controlling. I know many writers would argue that it’s the author’s job to control her characters. But to paraphrase Frederick Busch, one of my favourite writers: Just get out of the way, and let the characters get on with it.

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

Hmm… loss of perspective on real life! Living in a parallel universe and having to be dragged out of it – trying to adjust to the highs of success; and the depths of gloom when nothing seems to be working. The craving for company: the longing for isolation and time to write. Not to mention excessive caffeine consumption.

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?

I couldn’t think of anything worse – but Dara O’Briain is really making me laugh at the moment. I’m sure he’d be creative about it.

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

I don’t think you can beat, ‘Read, read, read; write, write, write.’

How do you remain sane while working?

I’m not sure I do. My family would probably say I don’t!

What is the best excuse you have ever come up with for missing a deadline?

I have to say I’ve never missed one. It must be my journalist’s training…

Where do you find your inspiration?

Not usually at the keyboard! Often when I’m doing something mindless, like washing, cleaning, gardening. A character will wander into my head. Then I have to know what they’re up to.

What was the most important thing you learned at school?

That good friends are the key to a happy life. The friends I made then are still my support today.

What is the book that you wish you had written?

So many! ‘Eight Months on Ghazza Street’ by Hilary Mantel is fantastic. The story of an ex-pat wife in Saudi Arabia, it’s subtle and disturbing. ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow’ by Peter Hoeg gets more intriguing each time I read it. And if I could choose a short story, it would have to be ‘Ralph the Duck’ by Frederick Busch. If you read only one short story in your life, make it that one!

If you could commit the perfect murder where would you hide the body?

Assuming that all the transport and handling could be taken care of…  in a busy funeral home, in a mislabelled coffin. I reckon that would do it.


Where can you find out more about Sarah

You can meet Sarah on her website and on Twitter at @SarahHegarty1


Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?

These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here:


  1. Great interview! It’s made me want to go and get the books that Sarah wished she had written and read them right now… Off to the bookshop I go!

  2. Hi Linda! Thanks for inviting me to the Thursday Throng – it’s been a pleasure to talk to you. It’s great to discuss writing with other writers – although you seem to have coaxed my dark secrets from me. (Now I’m just waiting for the call from Dara O’Briain…..!) All the best, Sarah

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