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#kemeetsauthors: Liane Moriarty

I had such a fun time meeting Liane Moriarty
at Bookshop Santa Cruz
on September 12, 2016!
IMG_0324.JPGShe’s an author of seven books that are ADULT books.
I know.
Sometimes I read adult books!

The place was packed for her presentation.
She was eloquent and very funny!

I really loved that she talked about moments.
She said we all have them, and we remember them more than days usually.
She shared a few moments in her career as a writer.

The first?
When her sister, Jaclyn Moriarty, called her to tell her
that she sold her first YA novel.
Liane was happy, but also
“filled with pure jealously.”
She sited that as her kick in the pants
to seriously get going on her books.

Another moment?
Writing a kidlit book, called ANIMAL OLYMPICS,
inspired by the Olympics being in Sydney (she’s from Australia!)
This book was rejected ALL AROUND.
She decided she would take an MFA program,
that she needed structure and “homework” to get that first book finished.

More moments:
Her agent leaving a message on her phone telling her
that she wanted to represent her,
and another message about selling her first book.

When she saw someone on the ferry
reading her first book,
THREE WISHES,
and how she sort of stalked them, looked over their shoulder
so she could see if the person liked the book.
The person ended up moving away from her!

When her American Editor called about
THE HUSBAND’S SECRET
being a NYTimes bestseller.
She had dropped her son off to school
and just had her daughter with her.
She whispered to her,
“Mommy’s a NYTimes bestseller”
and decided to have a fancy breakfast of
French Toast and maple syrup.
She said to this day when she hears NYTimes
she can basically taste the syrup!

There were bad moments too,
like the time that she went to a bookstore to sign some of her books,
and they had none in stock,
but plenty of FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY.

Or the time she had an event
with TONS of chairs,
and only two people.
She thought they had to be diehard fans,
and later found out that they were
the mother and grandmother of the bookstore owner.

She talked about her three hours a day of writing.
The first hour is all, “I’m so lucky to be a writer.”
The second hour is, “I’m a horrible writer.”
and the third hour is when “I hit the effortless flow.”

I love that she said, right at the start,
“It’s just a fact that I have the nicest readers in the world.”

She talked about meeting up with Nicole Kidman,
chatting about BIG LITTLE LIES,
which is going to be a mini series.
Nicole actually reached out to Liane
to make sure she could work on the project!
IMG_0370.JPGWhat about what inspires her books?

THE HUSBAND’S SECRET was inspired by
an article she read about deathbed confessions.

THE HYPNOTIST’S LOVE STORY was inspired by
an ex-girlfriend of her husband’s that was a bit of a stalker
and how it sort of fascinated and flattered her.

TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY was inspired by
something that happened at a BBQ with her and her friends
that she could not stop thinking about.
And the fact that the consequences of a tiny action
can be truly catastrophic.

The BBQ that inspired the book took place 18 months before the book came out. I’d say that’s a quick turnaround from idea to finished book!
IMG_0371.JPGWHAT ALICE FORGOT was inspired by
an article that she read about a woman
who lost her memory and didn’t recognize her children.
She thought she was her teenage self!
IMG_0369.JPGTHE LAST ANNIVERSARY was partially inspired by
a piece she was working on at the time for work
about railroads.
She interviewed lots of old ladies who were married to the railroad men,
and she just loved their stories.

She talked a bit about her new book, TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY
and what inspired some of the characters.

One is a cellist, and she was inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Well, actually by Angel.
Well, actually by the SOUNDTRACK to Angel.
A piece on it has a beautiful bit of cello playing that she loved.
She even tried playing cello, but gave it up quickly.
She interviewed a bunch of cellists and was really interested
in the audition process and how nervous the cellists were about it.
That plays a part in the book.

Another character is a child of a hoarder,
inspired by reading A DIRTY SECRET,
A memoir of a child of a hoarder.

Another character is an ex-stripper,
and she joked that lots of people offered to help her with that research!
She was inspired by a friend who was a pole dancer.
She noticed that her friend thought of it as a fun job,
a way to make good money, but she and her other friends
had a more complicated reaction to it…
they were interested, fascinated, and sometimes disgusted.
She plays with that in the book as well.

When it opened up to Q and A, lots of questions asked about her writing process, and how she gets characters so well!

She said she doesn’t plan her books,
just starts with the premise and writes it out.
The twists that show up in her books
come naturally and are NOT forced!
She said she could not do them if they were forced.

As she writes,
she keeps a document called
“Things I need to fix”
where she writes notes
so when she goes back to that first draft,
she knows where she has to add in more character development,
or red herrings,
or things like that.

She admitted that she’s a HORRIBLE landscape writer,
but she can somehow get people and characters right.
She said it’s the same in real life;
she cannot remember details of the landscape or views
when she gets back from a vacation,
only the stories of the people she was around.

She read books as a child, English sagas,
where the chapters alternated
and you were inside different characters’ heads.
She really loved that and that’s why she does that in her books.

She also likes jumping out of her character’s heads
to see what strangers think of them.

THREE WISHES actually started as a short story
of people in a restaurant reacting to seeing
the three sisters at dinner.
And in each of her books, in some form,
there’s a way that we get to see the characters
from a stranger’s point of view,
or at least from an outside point of view.

She talked about the importance of being an interested observer,
and about her book being turned into a mini-series.
She said that a lot of people say,
“I hope they don’t change your book,”
to which she always responds:
“They can’t.”
Because they can’t.
The book is still there.

She also stressed that readers bring their own imagination to the book
and each reader gets a different thing from reading the book.

She was awesome in the signing line too!
I thanked her and gave her a little thank you note,
and told her that I had read most of her books
late at night while I was up breastfeeding Rosemary.
They are such great books and you HAVE to keep reading,
so I knew that I would not fall asleep.
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My actual notes:
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My takeaways from her presentation and some actions to take:

Moments in life are often more memorable than the days.
Think about the important moments of YOUR life.
Maybe even write them down.

Many of her books were inspired by articles that she read
that had NOTHING to do with anything else that she was doing.
Get out there and read widely.
And randomly.

She noted that she hits that low point of “I’m a horrible writer.”
Even a NY Times Bestseller feels that way!
When you hit that,
push through so you can get to the effortless flow!   

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