Chatting with Author Karin Slaughter About Gillian Flynn, Netflix and Using Atlanta as a Character

Lauren Finney | August 30, 2019 | People

Prolific author Karin Slaughter (yes, that’s her real name!) has another accolade to add to her name: her 19th novel. The Last Widow, out last month, takes place in Atlanta and centers around familiar landmarks: the airport and the CDC. Published in 37 languages with more than 35 million copies sold worldwide, Slaughter continues to kill it.

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On Atlanta as a character:
“I’ve been an Atlanta resident for almost 30 years ... I love how diverse this city is. I don’t feel like I’m educating people so much [about the South], as writing about different aspects of the city that they might not be familiar with. I think setting should always be a character. I live in Morningside, so I thought, ‘This is an opportunity to do something horrible close to my neighborhood.’”

On getting inspired:
“I have the great pleasure of talking to a lot of retired Atlanta police officers and GBI agents. I’ve found over the years that the hard thing is not the idea. It’s more figuring out how to express that idea through a character, how they are going to grow and change. The idea for the book actually came to be around three or four years ago. I was noticing a lot of online activity with some military and white supremacist groups. I thought, ‘I want to write about this.’”

On having her novels adapted and interpreted:
Pieces of Her is actually in casting. Netflix is hopefully going to start filming this year. There are two others in development. That’s a good word, interpret. [Showrunner and head writer] Charlotte Stoudt, she’s just amazing. She’s worked on shows like Homeland and Mad Men and House of Cards. I really trust her. I’m very happy with the script I’ve read so far.”

On trailblazing the way for female writers:
“I really did get a lot of pushback in the beginning for writing about these visceral sorts of things. I know a lot of guys in the business, and they were never asked the kinds of questions [female writers] were asked. Like, ‘Oh, do you have children?’ Or ‘Are you married?’ I’ve known Gillian Flynn for years, and she’s been writing dark gritty novels for a long time. To have something like Gone Girl hit so well was a wonderful gift to the community.”

On females and crime writing:
“Women were always interested in these topics, but they almost seemed embarrassed. My grandmother was like that—she loved True Crime magazine and was so ashamed that she hid it under her bed because that’s not a very ladylike thing to be interested in. I write about things that scare me from a women’s perspective; I’m not going to try to appeal to men because, for the most part, men do not buy books written by women.”



Tags: people books

Photography by: Andrea Fremiotti