Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on thriller author Laura Dave.
Laura, could you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
Thank you for having me on your blog. I spent time studying writing at UMass-Amherst and visited Worcester while I was there. I’m a fan of your town!
To tell you a little about myself, I’ve written six novels, the most recent of which is The Last Thing He Told Me—which is a domestic thriller/mystery set in the world of Sausalito and Austin Texas. We are currently shooting a limited series for AppleTV+ based on the novel, which I co-created with my husband (Josh Singer, who has written several movies including Spotlight.) And I’m working on my next two novels, both domestic mysteries as well.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
I’m a huge fan of shopping at your local, independent bookstore– so definitely would recommend starting at Annie’s Book Shop. I also provide signed copies at my local bookstore, Diesel: https://www.dieselbookstore.com/signed-copies-laura-daves-books
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
The best way is to visit my website: lauradave.com or my Instagram @lauradaveauthor
What was the inspiration for The Last Thing He Told Me? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
I’ve always been fascinated by true crime, particularly cases that involve fraud and embezzlement. In the early 2000s, I was intrigued by the financial scandal at Enron. I remember watching Linda Lay [wife of Enron’s CEO, Kenneth Lay] give an interview proclaiming that her husband did nothing wrong. I started to imagine, then, the story of a woman who felt certain of her husband’s innocence despite mounting evidence to the contrary. I didn’t put pen to paper for The Last Thing He Told Me, though, until almost a decade later when I came to the question I wanted to explore in writing this novel. I wanted to think about what it is to know the people closest to us. To know the people we love the most. As I delved deeper into the novel, this exploration also led to questions of identity: What makes someone who he is? Is it the details he or she shares with you? The biographical checklist—I grew up here, I went to this school, I do this for work. . . . ? I believe it is something deeper, something more soulful, that makes us who we are. And I wanted to dig into the idea that we can be knowable to the people we love—that they can be knowable to us—despite any details that shift or alter along the way.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Writers write. As simple and complicated as it is, what makes anyone a writer is sitting down and doing the work. I highly recommend two books if you are trying to sit down more for yourself. On Writing by Stephen King and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
My favorite things to do are to spend time with my family, to cook, and (of course!) to read. I read everything I can get my hands on.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
My husband’s coffee!
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
For each of my novels, The Last Thing He Told Me included, I don’t write with an outline or any involved beat sheet. This means that writing for me is a process of rewriting. I utilize the first draft to find the characters and plumb the questions I want them to grapple with. The next draft is where I begin to solidify theme and motivations. It’s usually somewhere around draft eighteen—I wish that were an exaggeration—that I find my way to the ending. Because The Last Thing He Told Me involves such intricate plotting, this process of writing and rewriting was even more involved than my other novels. And when I found my way to the heart of the story (and its ending), it was so rewarding.
Laura, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to answer our questions!