Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of five internationally bestselling novels, including The Husband’s Secret. That book sold more than one million copies worldwide, has been optioned for a film, and has been translated into about 35 languages. Here are her thoughts about her latest, Big Little Lies (Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books, July).
She will be signing galleys at the Penguin booth (1521) today, 2–3 p.m.; tomorrow, Moriarty is participating in the Author Stage/Contemporary Women’s Fiction, 1:30–2:30 p.m., at the Downtown Stage.
Can you sum up the storyline of Big Little Lies?
Pirriwee Public’s annual School Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. Police are investigating. Is it a tragic accident or something more sinister?
Is there an underlying theme to the book?
I never set out to write to a theme, but simply to tell a story. However, I guess I’d say it’s a book about bullying in all its forms.
Have you tried anything new in the novel that you didn’t do in any of your previous work?
It’s continuing along the same path, but perhaps it’s a path that winds back upon itself. The Husband’s Secret took a much darker turn than with my previous novels, and it was my most successful book to date. However, some readers commented that they missed the humor. (One reader wrote, “What happened to you?!”) In Big Little Lies, I hope I’ve brought back the humor, but retained that element of suspense.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere: overheard fragments of conversations, newspaper articles, TV, dreams, people-watching at the beach, my children, my friends, my daily life, and so on.
What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?
I have a six-year-old and a four-year-old and only limited child-free time to work, so my biggest challenge was the same as every working mother faces: finding time. All we want is a great big bucket of time.
What is your ideal reader like?
Oh, she’s lovely. (She’s generally a she.) I meet her all the time. Whenever I do an author talk I look for her, and there she is, right in the middle, smiling expectantly at me. She nods along so encouragingly as I talk that I always begin to suspect she’s a distant relative. Afterward, she buys multiple copies of my new book to give as gifts. (Basically she’s another version of my mother.) I always have to restrain myself from hugging her.