The books shown on the left are by Karin Slaughter. Click on the cover to order.
This interview was conducted by Nancy Eaton on August 2, 2012. Questions were provided by reviewers Allen Hott and Julie Moderson. I also added a couple of my own questions.
Nancy Eaton: In all of your novels you have so many sub-plots going on at the same time. Do you know where the story is going when you first start to write the book or does it sometimes take you into a different direction?
Karin Slaughter: I always know how a book starts and how it will end. Figuring out how to connect those two is where the work comes in. I also make sure that the bad guy is firmly in my mind so that I write the book knowing who the perpetrator is. I think it’s important to play fair with readers. We all hate books where—suddenly!—on page 420 of a 422 page novel, the butler comes in and confesses.
Nancy Eaton: Readers love the way you keep several of the same characters and story lines going. How do you write in a way that doesn't turn off your regular readers but yet makes it so the new reader is ok to read the book out of order?
Karin Slaughter: Thank you! It’s certainly a delicate balance to make sure each book stands alone, yet at the same time try to reward long-time readers. I always try to write the books as if no one has ever met the characters before, and I have to make sure that I don’t drop large explanations bombs all over the place. There are things about Sara, for instance, that you’ll only know if you read about her in Grant County. While those things are interesting (to me, at least) they might not be important, and they don’t necessarily belong in each and every book.
Nancy Eaton: How do you come up with ideas (storyline)?
Karin Slaughter: I wish I knew! The majority of the time, it just pops out fully formed. My short stories are different, because I don’t have as much time to puzzle things out. My novella, Snatched, came to me because I spend half my life at the Atlanta airport, and I started to wonder…”What if Will was in the bathroom and…???”
Nancy Eaton: Do you do an outline of the book before you begin?
Karin Slaughter: Never, which is probably not the easiest way to do it, but it keeps me interested and I hate being told what to do (even if it’s me telling myself). I am reading as I’m writing, and I don’t want to spoil things for me!
Nancy Eaton: You have great plots and it seems hard to believe that you did it without training. Did you take classes on plotting?
Karin Slaughter: I’ve never taken a writing class in my life. Some people might argue that I should’ve—ha! I love a quote from Flannery O’Conner: “Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” That being said, I’ve had the great pleasure of being taught by many, many great teachers. My ninth grade teacher, for instance, left an indelible impression on not just my life, but my life as a writer.
Nancy Eaton: What authors do you enjoy reading?
Karin Slaughter: Mo Hayder, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen, Gillian Flynn, Denise Mina, Flannery O’Connor, Margaret Mitchell…countless others.
Nancy Eaton: I enjoyed the novella “Snatched”. Do you plan on writing more novellas in the future?
Karin Slaughter: Thanks! I’d like to do more in the vein of Snatched—fast action, quick timing, Will being smart and compassionate. I’ve been noodling about another idea for a novella or short story for a while. I hope once I’ve written Unseen, I’ll be able to get it down on paper.
Nancy Eaton: Thanks Karin for taking the time to do this interview for Bestsellersworld.com.