Hello everyone and welcome back to the blog! Today, I have something different that I want to talk about. Back in July, I attended an event for author, Shari Lapena. She is a well-known thriller writer. You may recognize some of her books such as, The Couple Next Door, An Unwanted Guest, Not a Happy Family, etc. She was in Pittsburgh to talk about her new book as well as hosting a signing. So, let’s get into it!
I have never attended an author event before, so I really had no idea what to expect. I also saw a flyer for this at a bookstore near me, thankfully just in time to grab tickets. Riverstone Books has been hosting events recently so authors can come and do promotion for their book. In June, Riley Sager was in town, and I’m so sad I missed it! I didn’t even know events like these were going on!
I had asked my mom to come with me because I know she’s read Lapena's books too. We were able to get her newest book, Everyone Here is Lying, as well as have Lapena sign/personalize it. There was also a small interview part of the event, where someone was the facilitator asking her questions, and then there was a Q&A section for the audience to get involved.
Personally, I love hearing about an author’s writing process especially from those who are so successful. What I found interesting was that she doesn’t plot out her books. Apparently, she just kind of sees where the wind takes her. Which I find to be really interesting especially for writing in the thriller genre. This will then call for more editing, but as a writer you have to understand that editing is half the job. You can't just write the book and be done.
The other thing I found really fascinating was that she doesn’t start or focus on what her characters look like. The physical descriptions of everyone come later. She wants to know how each character would respond when in conflict. So, she starts by writing them into a scene with conflict.
For her newest book, she told us that her initial idea started with a little girl, who is difficult for her parents to deal with and then disappears after an altercation with the dad. The dad slapped the little nine-year-old girl. So, she started by writing that scene out. Lapena said that by the end of the scene something really surprising happened. She said that she ended the scene with the dad begging the little girl to not tell her mom.
Now we have a sassy, bratty little girl with something to hang over her father’s head. We have a father, who, not only was violent towards his daughter but wants her to lie to her mother. He's lying to his wife. I love it. I never thought of writing that way, but I do want to try one of these days.
One of the things I love the most about Shari Lapena’s books are how she keeps you so engrossed in the book. All of them are such page turners that you can’t put down. The way she is able to do this is because, she makes it look like anyone can be the killer. She said this is because she doesn’t even know who the killer is going to be until she’s ¾ of the way done writing. From what I can remember, I believe she said she only changed the initial killer in the book twice to someone else. I love the idea of making everyone seem guilty or suspicious. That’s how her books become page-turners that you end up devouring in a day.
I find it so fascinating to know how other people write and where they find inspiration from. I definitely want to attend more events like this because there’s a lot to learn, and to meet the person behind such a good book is amazing. I highly recommend checking out her books, you won’t be disappointed!
Alright folks, that is all I have for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another blog post! As always, thank you for reading:)