Check out this fascinating interview with the worldwide bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series, Karin Slaughter, as she talks about her new novel, her favourite books, and travelling the world. THE GOOD DAUGHTER is a stunning new standalone, with a chilling edge of psychological suspense.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your new book THE GOOD DAUGHTER?
KS: The Good Daughter is a standalone novel; it’s really like a lot of my novels about family and two daughters and something really horrible happens. I don’t know if anybody has noticed, but that’s kind of my formula. Everything is really nice and then something really shocking happens in usually the first 20 pages. That’s certainly the case in this book. But, it’s about these two sisters and what tragedy does to them and like a lot of the time I’m writing about familial tragedy, it talks about how people are torn apart and sometimes how they’re brought together.
2. What makes THE GOOD DAUGHTER stand out from your other books?
KS: I think the main thing that makes The Good Daughter stand out from the other books is it’s only told from two points of view. And it’s two very distinctive and different points of view; it’s always interesting to me when I talk to my sisters because we’re such different people from how we started out. I’m the youngest, and in many ways, my middle sister has a hard time accepting that I’m now a grown up. I remember one time we were riding in a car and I was driving and I knew a way to go that she didn’t know and she was just flummoxed. She said, “How did you know to go this way?” And I said, “Because I’m an adult and I drive myself all the time.” And I think that’s really a dynamic within families, is that we see our siblings the same way for our entire lives. It’s really hard for us to accept that they’ve grown up, and of course we get really annoyed when they don’t accept that we’ve grown up.
3. What are your favorite books that will never leave your shelf?
KS: My favorite books tend to be southern books, so I really love Flannery O’Connor. Obviously, The Good Daughter has some influence from O’Connor, she was an amazing writer and an amazing human being, not just because she taught a chicken to walk backwards when she was a child. She really understood language and the craft of writing and if you read her essays and her letters, she focused so much on the right word. I think that’s something some writers lose sight of because they forget, “I want to be a writer because I want to say something,” and words matter and Flannery O’Connor understood that. Of course, being from the south I love Gone With the Wind, it is such a fantastic book and people forget that Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for that and how important that novel was. I mean, if you think about the fact that it was published before the internet and before we had this sense of America being the center of everything, it was in 50 different countries and hugely successful. At one time, it was the second most popular book in the world behind the bible. To have that kind of success and then to say that’s my story and that’s it, and to be perfectly happy with that is an honorable thing for a writer to do.
4. Your books are all based in Georgia, but why do you think they have such huge global popularity?
KS: When I first started writing Grant County I was writing in a small town and, in many ways, Europe is a series of small towns. There’s the busy body, there’s the loose woman, there’s the pious jerk; every town has the same cast of characters and I think that resonated with a lot of people in Europe. One of the wonderful things about writing Grant County was that a lot of people in America would say, “Oh this is just like my town” or “I know this person in my community.” But the funniest thing that happened to me was I based one of the characters in Grant County off this horrible woman who lived down the street from me and subsequently, everyone has said “She lived down the street from me too,” so I think she has cousins everywhere. She was the kind of person who had this huge yard and it would have been so much easier to cut through her yard to get home but she would turn the hose on us if we touched foot in her yard. And she came to one of my signings and said, “I know who that person is,” and I thought, oh my God she’s going to smack me, and she says, “That’s so and so down the street—isn’t it?” It was a revelation to realize that people don’t recognize themselves in fiction; it’s sort of like when you hear your own voicemail you think, “Boy that’s not my sultry sexy voice, who is that child?” It was really an education for me and I’m only telling this story because she passed away.
5. Last year, you spent some time in Germany for a book tour. What were your highlights from the visit?
KS: Germany has always been one of my favorite places to go. I love Berlin and I love that you can tell you’re in East Berlin by the little “walk/don’t walk sign,” the little guy with the round helmet—I love that. Every year I think I’m going to get a t-shirt and I never do. So if anybody from Germany wants to send me a t-shirt…
The history is really fascinating to me. In some ways it’s interesting that they lost the war and in the south there’s also a sense of loss, so I think there’s a connection there. It’s always a pleasure to be there and talk to people. When you grow up in the south the only German you ever hear is Hitler screaming. So when you hear a conversation in German you think, that sounds pleasant. They’re very cheerful people too. Growing up on Turner station movies where Germans are always the bad guys, it was really an education to be over there.
6. Your German fans are interested in knowing about a few of your favorite things. Please name the first thing that comes to your mind when I ask you the following questions:
i. What’s your favorite thing to do on a day off?
ii. What is your favorite website that you visit the most?
KS: The Big Meow
iii. What is your favorite holiday of the year?
iv. What is your favorite coffee order?
v. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried for ever…
The Good Daughter is published on 13th July 2017.