An Interview with Liane Moriarty
Columnist Anna Roins
Liane Moriarty, from Sydney, is said to be one of the few authors in the world ever to have three books on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time.
The Husband’s Secret
by Liane Moriarty
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In late 2014, the hardcover editions of The Husband’s Secret (Berkley Books Reissue Edition, 3 March 2015), Big Little Lies (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 29 July 2014), along with the paperback edition of What Alice Forgot (Berkley Books Reissue Edition, 24 April 2012) were all featured in the preeminent list of best-selling books in the United States.
Today AUTHORLINK will be discussing The Husband’s Secret, a global bestseller, which has sold over one million copies in the United States alone and over two million globally. It has been translated into over 35 languages, and CBS Films have acquired the film rights.
|“. . . it’s wonderful to think that my characters are creating interesting roles for women”
AUTHORLINK: Ms Moriarty, thank you for sharing your time with us to discuss The Husband’s Secret. It’s enjoying phenomenal success – over two million copies have sold worldwide – and translated into over 35 languages which is wonderful. Congratulations!
MORIARTY: Thank you so much!
AUTHORLINK: CBS Films have acquired the film rights for The Husband’s Secret; Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon have joined forces to make a TV series based on your other book, Big Little Lies and the Oscar-winning director of The Devil Wears Prada, David Frankel, has signed up to make a movie about your other novel, What Alice Forgot. What extraordinary success you have achieved! No doubt you have added to the greater pool of opportunities for actresses to find compelling roles. How does this feel?
MORIARTY: It’s all very exciting, and it’s wonderful to think that my characters are creating interesting roles for women and not just for young, pretty women, although I’m very fond of young, pretty women of course.
|“. . . it really does seem that a book written by a man about family and relationships will enjoy more literary credibility than if the author was female.”
AUTHORLINK: Good on you! How did you go from working as a freelance copywriter, to embarking on a creative writing course at Macquarie University?
MORIARTY: I have a marketing degree and I had a career in marketing and advertising, before I did my Master’s degree at Macquarie University and wrote my first novel, Three Wishes.I’m always very open about the fact that if it wasn’t for the burst of sibling rivalry I felt when I heard the news about my sister’s first novel being published, the Young Adult writer, Jaclyn Moriarty, I probably would never have got around to writing my own first novel.
AUTHORLINK: Thank God for sisters! While there may be a difference between true art and commercial success, unfortunately sometimes this excludes women. The following question was put to other well-respected authors by AUTHORLINK and we would like to know your opinion as well: – Do you believe there is a noticeable discrepancy in the publishing industry about what is regarded as literature as compared to commercial work that correlates with a disguised gender-bias? Further, is the way a book received (and reviewed) about relationships and family written by a woman, seem different to how it would be received, if it was written by a man, and if so, why in your opinion?
MORIARTY: Sadly, it really does seem that a book written by a man about family and relationships will enjoy more literary credibility than if the author was female. We face gender bias across many professions, perhaps across all professions (not necessarily always against women).
AUTHORLINK: Unfortunately true. You have been one of the biggest novelists in the US market for some time now. It has only been in the recent months that you have become a household name in Australia. It has been said (by Australians about Australians), that they need to see something as successful overseas before they will accept it on their home turf. Do you agree with this generalised opinion? If so, why does this happen do you think?
MORIARTY: I think I’m actually an exception to the rule! Mostly authors do well in Australia first, before they have success in the US and UK. In my case it happened the other way around, I’m not sure why.
|“I’d love to be able to say that I wrote in a beautiful café by the beach, but unfortunately I become too distracted people-watching . . .”
AUTHORLINK: That’s excellent. I enjoyed all the references to the suburbs of Sydney, and especially delighted in the scene set in Clontarf, which is down the road from where I grew up. On behalf of Sydney expats around the globe, we thank you! Have you ever written parts of your books in a cafe or a pub in Sydney, and if so, which one(s) and what were you writing? Where do you usually write?
MORIARTY: I write from my home office. I’d love to be able to say that I wrote in a beautiful café by the beach, but unfortunately I become too distracted people-watching and ordering more coffee. I need to be at my computer at home with the door closed and the Internet switched off. Ideally, I’d be locked in my office so I couldn’t keep pretending I needed another cup of tea.
AUTHORLINK: That’s funny. We understand you do not plan out your novels before you begin writing but just discover the story as you go along. I suspect this is shear genius on your part and that you have a natural instinct for storytelling. How does one construct a masterful plot without planning it, and then tie up all the red herrings in the end in such a way so as to satisfy the reader? Do you have any hints for struggling writers? What makes a good story?
MORIARTY: You obviously can’t put in red herrings in your first draft if you don’t know the ending. However, it’s very easy to go back and include them once you’ve finally worked out your plot. I enjoy writing that way because it adds an element of excitement to my writing. However, I admit it’s also frightening because I don’t know if I’m going to back myself into a corner from which I can’t escape!
|” I gave my characters all these terrible dilemmas and then I had to find a way out for them.”
AUTHORLINK: I can imagine – thanks for the tips. What was the hardest thing about writing The Husband’s Secret? What was the easiest?
MORIARTY: The hardest thing was working out the ending. I gave my characters all these terrible dilemmas and then I had to find a way out for them. The easiest part was once I did work out the end which was probably when I was about two-thirds of the way through. I remember the exact intersection where I worked it out as I drove home one day.
|“I think my writing has grown up as I’ve grown up.”
AUTHORLINK: That’s interesting. How do you think you’ve creatively evolved since you released your first book, Three Wishes: A Novel? What do you wish you knew from the beginning?
MORIARTY: I think my writing has grown up as I’ve grown up. I wish I knew back then how much TIME I had available to me before I had children so that I didn’t squander it, but I think every parent says that.
AUTHORLINK: Yes, it’s true! Ms Moriarty, thank you again for your time today. It has been an absolute pleasure, and a privilege. We wish you many more New York Times best-sellers, continued health to you and your family, and happiness! ¬¬
MORIARTY: It’s my absolute pleasure.
|About the Author:
Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies.
The Husband’s Secret has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and is set to be translated into over 35 languages. CBS Films has acquired the film rights.
|About Anna Roins:
Anna Roins was a Senior Lawyer with the Australian Government Solicitor in Sydney before she embarked on a career in writing seven years ago. As a freelance journalist, she has contributed to articles on social and community issues and edited a number of books, websites, and dissertations. She has continued her studies in creative literature with The University of Oxford (Continuing Education) and the Faber Academy, London.
Anna is currently writing her first novel and is a regular contributor to AUTHORLINK assigned to conduct interviews with best-selling authors.