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Our bookseller Sydne got the chance to ask one of her favorite authors five questions. Of course she couldn't stop at just five...
Karin Slaughter is the bestselling author of over a dozen thrillers, most recently Pretty Girls.
Pretty GirlsKarin Slaughter
Cop TownKarin Slaughter
CriminalKarin Slaughter
UnseenKarin Slaughter
FallenKarin Slaughter
UndoneKarin Slaughter
BrokenKarin Slaughter
FracturedKarin Slaughter
TriptychKarin Slaughter
Beyond ReachKarin Slaughter
FaithlessKarin Slaughter
IndelibleKarin Slaughter
A Faint Cold FearKarin Slaughter
KisscutKarin Slaughter
BlindsightedKarin Slaughter

1. Conventional wisdom says “write what you know”. What is it that draws you to dark situations with peril and violence?

I think it’s the same thing that draws the majority of crime readers (which, actually, is the majority of readers because crime is by far the most popular genre). I want to know why people do bad things. I suppose this comes from growing up just outside of Atlanta during the time of the Atlanta Child Murders. I was certainly not the demographic of the victims, but I remember quite clearly having this epiphany that children could be hurt. That had never occurred to me before because I basically lived in Mayberry. This revelation was something that informed my reading as well as my writing.

2. There have been so many adaptations of good mysteries made into movies or tv series recently (Rizzoli & Isles, Bosch, Reacher ), what are the prospects for a Will Trent  series? And who would play Will Trent and Sara Linton – please don’t say Tom Cruise!

Aw, come on. Let’s be honest—there’s no actor alive who looks like Reacher, so why not go with somebody who’s the biggest movie star on the planet? The Will Trent series has been optioned for TV, and they’re working on the script now. For Will, I like Armie Hammer or Michael Fassbender, because they are sexy guys, but it’s not all about being sexy for them. I don’t know about Sara. Maybe Rachel McAdams? Though she’s not a red-head, but I’ve always loved Sandra Bullock.

3. How do you determine whether to write a stand-alone piece like Pretty Girls  or to continue the series?

I took a break from Will Trent because I was at the point where I wasn’t excited about the next story. Excitement is actually the most important thing a writer brings to a project, and I owe it to my readers to give them interesting stories that I am passionate about writing. So, I took a break with Cop Town, and I wasn’t sure whether or not to go back to Will Trent when the idea for Pretty Girls struck. It’s hard to explain, but it’s kind of like the idea tells you where to go next. I liked the challenge of writing a story that’s told from the perspective of the family of the victim. I liked the idea of not writing from a cop’s point of view. These were really big challenges for me, and meeting those challenges helped me get back to Will Trent with a renewed excitement (The Kept Woman, with Will and Sara, will be out next year).

4. When you start a novel, do you know how it will end or does it unfold as you write?

I always know the why, as in why the bad person (or persons) did the bad thing. For me, it’s important to know that before I start a novel because the entire structure of the novel leads to that reveal. If I don’t have a certainty about where I’m going, I tend to meander, which wastes a lot of time. So basically, when I start writing a book, I already know in my head who did it, why and for the most part how my narrators are going to figure it out. As a reader, I hate when you get to the end and think, “oh, the writer didn’t know who did it so they just picked someone.” You have to play fair with the reader. The end should be an “aha” not a “wtf?”

5. You have fans all over the world and yet your characters have stayed pretty close to the Atlanta area, with Grant County being just a short drive away. Can you talk a little about the South as a character in your books and how it affects the plot and informs your writing?

The south is always a character in my stories. It’s who I am. Most (if not all) writers are regional writers. Even when Ray Bradbury was writing about Mars, he was really talking about the folks in Waukegan and Tucson.

6. Bonus question – I’m sure you get asked this all the time but I feel compelled. It’s about your name. With the body count in your books – is your given name actually … Karin?

Strangely, it is. I don’t know what my parents were thinking.
Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 10:15am