At BEA I sat down with Liane Moriarty, author of the newly released Big Little Lies. Liane is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two small, noisy children.
How did you get started as an author?
When I was a little girl I always loved to write and my dad use to commission both myself and my sister to write stories for him. And I kept writing, as I grew older though I started to lose confidence in myself and start to wonder whether it was actually any good or not. And so then I ended up in advertising and marketing. Until the day that my sister, who was also a writer, rang me up and said that her novel had been accepted for publication. So in a rush of sibling rivalry I wrote my first novel Three Wishes. So that’s what got me – so basically she achieved our childhood dream first – so thanks to her, now I have too.
Do you have a sibling rivalry continuing on, now that you’re successful as well?
No because she writes Y.A. books so it’s OK. We’re in different genres so it’s always safe, so we’re just happy for each other.
All writing materials aside, what material items in life could you not live without?
Well I couldn’t live without one cup of coffee a day, and without books – does that go without saying? (laughs) And chocolate and champagne. Is that enough? And if I had all those things together then I wouldn’t need anything else.
How do you get into the writing mood? Do you have a particular place you like to write, do you listen to special music?
Well since I’ve had children because I’ve only got really limited time to write, normally I only have a four hour little shift of time to write so I don’t have the luxury of getting into the mood. I just have to get into the mood. And I normally say I have to have written so many words in that time. And I actually think I’m much more productive these days than I was when I used to think I had to do such and such to get in the mood. So I don’t believe in that anymore. Just sit down and write.
Would you say that would be your top writing advice for aspiring writers, just sit down and write?
Yeah, probably. Yeah it would. Just to stop thinking about it and sit down and write, yeah. In the end you can spend too much time asking questions about writing and wondering about writing. And just actually in the end you’ve got to write.
If you were going to pick any country in the world or any city to live in which one would it be? (If you couldn’t live in Sydney.)
I’d live in a castle with ski slopes right nearby where you could ski from your castle door. I’m not sure where that country is, but it’s a fantasy question so I’m allowed to have my fantasy.
What skills or talents do you admire most in other people?
The things that I don’t have, so musical abilities. The ability to sing. The ability to speak other languages fluently. The ability to dance, good dancer and singers. To cook, so many things I cant do, beautiful books, to sow, people with really long legs (laughs). I think that’s all.
Your books focus a lot around personal relationships and family dynamics. Do you find a lot of your personal life transitioning and spilling over into your writing, or do you like to keep the two separate?
Oh no definitely, definitely little bits and pieces of my personal life seep into my writing. And that’s why I find that my characters are getting older as I get older, they’re aging along with me. So I’m sure one day I’ll be writing a book set in a retirement village. I can’t help it because theres material around you in your personal life. But then I’d always like to say that people assume because they recognize little parts of your life that its all you, but I still write fiction.
If you were to describe why you think reading is important in one sentence, what would you say?
That’s a tricky one. Because its one of life’s greatest pleasures. That’s all. And I always – I don’t know if you want to add that – But I also think that if its not your pleasure that’s OK. If music is your pleasure that’s lovely too. So I think its important to find life’s pleasures and if reading’s one of yours then read. And everybody should have the opportunity to discover that pleasure, but if its not for you thats OK too.
What are your other hobbies or pleasures?
For me I don’t have many more (laughs) apart from reading. My thing is just that sometimes people get a little bit obsessed that if you don’t like reading there’s something’s wrong, whereas there are lots of other things. But for me, no I love reading – yeah that’s enough for me – reading and a hot bath. Other things I love in life are snow skiing and bushwalking, and spending time with my children.
What is your favorite place in the U.S. that you’ve visited? Have you done much travel in the US?
No not really. I loved Aspen, I had a skiing holiday at Aspen once, which is a great holiday, and I went with a really horrible ex-boyfriend so I’d love to do that again with my nice, lovely husband.
Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.
A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads. This is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.