Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Q&A with Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is the author of the newest thriller The Good Daughter and critics are saying it's her best book yet. Kerry Hammond caught up with the author to find out some inside information about the book and the inspiration behind it.\

What was your inspiration for The Good Daughter?

I really enjoyed writing about the sister relationship in Pretty Girls, my last standalone, and I wanted to do something more in that vein.  I’m the youngest of three girls, and my parents loved me the most because I was the smartest and prettiest, but an author’s job is to get in the heads of every character they write about.

The point of writing a lot of books is to do something different each time, so when I thought of Charlie and Sam, it was almost in opposition to Claire and Lydia.  I wanted Charlie to be a character I haven’t written about before.  She’s highly competent, well-liked, and she makes mistakes, sometimes really stupid mistakes, but instead of trying to weasel around them, she owns them.  Actually, she almost wears them as a badge of honor.  That’s an interesting way to control the bad things that happen, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best way.  Sam, on the other hand, lives every single moment of her life in stark relief to the “what could have been.”  She works very hard to define herself as having moved on, but everything she does is in opposition to that goal.  Both sisters try to control things in their own way, and both fail in their own way, which is always fascinating to me.  You know people by how they respond to adversity.

Both of the sisters in The Good Daughter are incredibly tough in their own way, how important is it for you to tell stories with strong female voices?

I write the voices that I hear in my everyday life.  It’s funny, because I grew up in the south surrounded by incredibly strong women who, in some cases, were beaten down almost every day of their lives, yet they still got up every morning and made sure there was food on the table and clothes on their kids’ backs. This was the reality.  The perception, though, was that women were the weaker sex, that they should defer to men, that they should be feminine and quiet and not run and play and jump around because the boys don’t like that, and God forbid boys didn’t like you, because then you would end up destitute and broken.  Almost every spoken message I got was to be demure and obsequious, but in practice, all the women were doing the exact opposite.  I don’t know if that’s a brand of hypocrisy particular to the American South, but there’s a saying that I think sums it up well: Southern women are like swans—graceful and gliding effortlessly across the water, but you don’t see that underneath, their feet are peddling furiously to keep that forward momentum. 

Who would you like to play Samantha and Charlotte Quinn in a movie adaptation of The Good Daughter?

This is a really hard one.  I’m always loathe to say because readers have such firm opinions about who a character is in their heads, and if I said “Nicole Kidman,” they’d likely scream very loudly (though, now that I think about it, Nicole Kidman is fantastic…)  Anyway, I think I’ll keep silent on this one and let others let their imaginations run rampant.  Except for Ben, because he’s totally Adam Scott).

Read a review of The Good Daughter here, and read about Mystery Playground Recommends Karin Slaughter here.



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