I’m American!

I live in Nashville, Tennessee, which is the cradle of country and Americana music recording…and so, obviously, I decided to become a classical pianist for two decades before becoming the writer of THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES. I live on the same street I grew up on, along with most of my relatives, and I can trace almost every line of my family back to the early colonies, particularly 1620s Virginia. Which probably means I come from criminals. I’m okay with that.

The Light in Hidden Places

The Light in Hidden Places

BBC over Hollywood. Every time.

I’m way more into the BBC and ITV than anything from Hollywood. Period costume dramas? Hooray! Murder, mayhem, and bleak Scandie-Noir murder mysteries? Yes, please. Recent notable exception: Little Women. That was brilliant. Thanks for that one, Hollywood.

The three people in the world I’d most like to have a cup of tea with.

Lucy Worsley. Stephen Fry, and Phil Harding, the West Country archeologist from Time Team who wore the manky hat. Phil would tell me stories about digging up ancient artifacts and probably nap some flint. Lucy would confide the locations of all the secret passages in all the castles everywhere, and do so while in costume. And Stephen. Oh, I’m certain Stephen Fry would be my best friend if he ever happened to meet me.

I’ve probably just assured that Phil Harding, Lucy Worsley, and Stephen Fry will make a snappy exit if we ever find ouselves in the same room.

I am a student of history.

Not presidents, kings, and queens. I am interested in the vast collection of human experience that has come together to make the world we have today. History is the reality that has been. The ultimate story. And we can’t write fiction without it.

I believe in sparks.

As a writer, I’ve discovered that when I find that burning enthusiasm for the things I love, that spark of passion, and if I let it all that passion out onto the page, it’s like striking a mystical match. Somehow, the reader of my words feels it, too. Flame to flame, it’s a process that’s been going on since the beginning of books. A never-ending cycle that I’ve participated in since the first day I could read. I’ve never relied on this process more than when I wrote THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES.

I believe in heroes.

As soon as I heard the story of 16-year-old Stefania Podgorska and her six-year-old sister Helena hiding thirteen Jews in an attic while four Nazis slept in a bedroom directly below, the sisters became my heroes. And not just because they did heroic things during World War II, which they did. But because their choices challenge me every day. They challenge all of us. The Podgorska sisters chose humanity over hate. What can I do, today, right now, to choose the same thing?

I believe story can change the world.

Human beings learn through story. Story makes us feel. Facts fade away, but when we feel, we will not forget. It becomes real. It becomes a part of us. It becomes our truth. Fiction helps us find our truth. The truth I found when writing THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES was about choices, but the choices didn’t begin with the decision to hide one Jew. The choice was made long before, when Stefania concluded that her skin was just skin, no different than anyone else’s. And it was that small choice that led to the bigger one. Stefania chose, and thirteen lives were forever changed. The small choice mattered. It changed the world. And don’t my own choices have the same potential as hers?

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron is published by Ebury Press (£7.99).