Two weeks ago, I got to interview Tana French
for the Boston Phoenix. The Edgar-winning author of In the Woods
was in town promoting The Likeness,
her second smart psychological mystery, and we had a good chat over coffee in the elegant Oak Room. I got to pick the choice bits of our conversation for the Phoenix,
which you can read here.
But, space being what it is, I couldn't fit everything in. So here are some bonus bits:
You've been successful as an actress, so why start writing?
Everyone else in my family is a writer, but usually nonfiction. I think it's only me and a cousin who write fiction.
I've always written. I used to write short stories,and then some godawful poetry when I was a teenager. I never decided to go back to writing, I just had the idea [for In the Woods
] and I really wanted to see how it would turn out. I really didn’t think I could write a book, but I figured I could write a scene, and then another scene, and the next thing I knew I had a chapter.
Does your acting background influence your writing?
Yes, because for me, what the character would do shapes the plot, not vice versa.
There’s a little bombshell dropped at the end of
The Likeness that refers back to something in
In the Woods. Had you planned this all along?
No, I didn’t have a clue. That showed up halfway through The Likeness
when I was starting to write -- it was sort of back engineered. What happens in real life is that you’re wandering around the house daydreamign and you go, "Oh! I know!” ... Your subconscious does stuff that you weren’t planning on, and it seemed obvious, like I’d been planning it all the time.