Best known for her Grant County thrillers (Blindsighted, etc.), Karin Slaughter has written a sequel, Fractured, to her 2006 stand-alone, Triptych, which introduced an agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Will Trent, who's dyslexic.
What made you decide to bring back Will Trent?
Will Trent was interesting to me because my Grant County characters are defined by family, and Will has no family, except the one he got stuck with at the children's home in Triptych. Family is a real anchor, good or bad, dysfunctional or lovely. Will doesn't have those skills that we learn growing up in a family. We see this when he interacts with Faith Mitchell, his partner in Fractured. He's thinking the right thing, but he says it wrong.
What made you decide to make Will Trent dyslexic? It's a bold choice for a character and also perhaps hard to write.
Yes, it's very hard because I don't want it to seem like a gimmick. I have more books planned for Will, and they're going to get into the background of his condition, because his coping skills are going to get better. My sister also had a reading problem when I was growing up. Dyslexics tend to be great puzzle solvers, and this seemed to play into the strengths that detectives need. People will talk about handicaps, but I think that the body and the brain have wonderful ways of adapting and learning new things, so I try to show that with Will.
Are you ever criticized for the graphic violence in your work?
It fascinates me because I think, as a woman, I get asked this more than men. Talk to writers like Michael Connelly or Jeffery Deaver, and they'd never get asked that question! The victims that we're writing about in these books tend to be women, and I think it's important for women to give voice to that. I don't think we should pull any punches. Women bring a different perspective to these crimes. There's a visceral reaction, but there's also an emotional reaction. With forensic shows like CSI and Bones, it's also no longer unladylike for women to be interested in this kind of stuff. When I was growing up, girls just weren't allowed to be interested in violence.
What's next for you?
Another Grant County novel titled Genesis. Even though Will was in Triptych, I saw Fractured as a completely new book, with new characters. And that was the point of ending the last Grant County book the way I did: start from scratch.