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Making a few more here in terms of the way she’s going to go about investigating this story.
Well , I think that she is a law is not a people person everyone I’ve met here at WUSA today has been lovely and so maybe that’s unusual for a journal. We’re not in , and that’s why we’re not in newspapers . Well , maybe that’s exactly what it is . Maybe all those newspaper writers are prickly like Laura ears and she’s not a people person . And I think one of the problems that is that she sees people are she values people for their utility and so she’s in a relationship with a local deputy in Hillsborough . I think that utility to start with is just a cure for loneliness later on when the body of this young girl was found that utility changes pretty dramatically and now he is a very valuable source of information and she has to make a decision about this person that she knows she knows it won’t be good for him if she uses him as a source . In this way . But following the story is sometimes . The only thing she knows .
So let’s talk a little more about the process at this point. It starts out a token ichi you’re making a left turn for a long time with your dog that’s NASCAR . You know it’s sure have turn . And so , and this is this idea comes to now you get a bill this character . She’s a woman . You’re a man down got all these other characteristics and personality traits . When did they when did Laura come to you when did all of that come to you .
I mean , for me , the process of writing a book is to get an image , like that a snippet of a scene. Sometimes there’s a little bit of dialog and I don’t know who they are , the people are in the process of writing a book is filling in everything that comes before that moment and everything that comes after . I can say that this one was unusual in the sense that usually tends to be somewhere in the middle and this came to me right at the very beginning . And so I didn’t have a little bit of struggle filling that in as to why choose to have a female protagonist . I think a lot of this book is about the violence that men do to women , men are more violent than women 2 women to each other and asked : and I think that’s something that I I grapple with are those are we born or are we made those buttons installed or are they there when we’re born . And so the other reason I wanted her to be female is because as she confronts this mystery by virtue of the plot and the nature of small towns . We know it has to be someone nearby someone who could be lurking around every corner . And so I wanted to really hurt really feel that in the main character to feel that possibility of violence and a really visceral way .
Yeah and she also and it becomes a mystery in a kind of a code mystery as well her earlier reporting is going to play an important part in this , as will the relationship an acquaintance of a retired sheriff Frank.
Yeah , well , I I think that he’s one of the few people that she manages to connect with it all this because one of the things that she is ambivalent about is her own ambition as she follows the story is , I think she starts to question how much of her interest is self interest and when it actually gets closer to the family of these victims she starts to see them as real people. There’s a burden in that there is a responsibility that she might be a person who has the power to do something and so has the responsibility to do something . And so , I think she sees that reflected when she meets Don Rogers , who was the sheriff when the in earlier series of crime she connects these new crimes too he’s carried that burden for a long time and so I think she connects with him on that level .
Maybe another reading for us. Will you , of course .
Office smelled sharply of salt in Greece and in the corner. Natalie sat in the guest chair with her knees pulled up to her chin we’re bass had been dampened by sweat and sink water Natalie appeared very dry and very cold her skin looks like cracked porcelain with dark smudges around her eyes and froze cut through her friend foundation beneath them she’d been crying . But the tears had long since dried up , Natalie , she said . But Natalie only point it in the adjoining room was a plain white shoe box she pulled off the lead . Styrofoam packing peanuts spilled out onto the table and nestled in the center . Lee and oddly sized jewelry box steeling herself , she lifted the top perfectly formed and carefully placed it rested delicately on the boxes Velvet teen display pat dry and clean devoid of blood quarrels of skin spiraled toward a dark hole in the center a sickening Nautilus shell of sinew . It was a human error . The fact that it had been sent to both her and bass . The editor of a newspaper was not lost on Laura , this was not a private message and image splashed across her field of vision Olive Hanson washed posed in the center of a field on display waiting to be found , the poor girls and had been only a means to an end its final goal the illicit Asian of outrage and fear . Now he was doing it again . He was preening the ear another corpulent feather in its plumage Heather in reading an excerpt .
From his debut novel Last Girl Gone and here. These themes begin to merge when you objectify human and when you use , homicide as a way of gaining attention or for whatever other purposes that you , you may have . Particularly , these kinds of kind of of of deranged homicides we’re getting public attention seems to be important . It seems to merge with Laura’s doubts about herself , to what extent my complicit in all of this and when to what extent are these other motivations destructive other people .
Absolutely , I mean one of the reasons I wanted to write a book that had investigative journalist. As the protagonist is one I think it’s sort of under-represented in the genre . And I think the jobs actually under-represented in journalism these days . I’m sad to say but go ahead . Yeah , I mean I think the job of it , of a good investigative journalist naturally brings them into conflict with entrenched institutions and powerful people . I think it’s a natural fit for a good mystery but the other reason is that I am a big believer in the 4th estate may become more certain by the day about the importance of good journalism to a functioning democracy but the very idea of the greater good implies that there might be lesser good out there , that it’s in conflict with and I don’t think that no one likes to see how the sausage gets made it can be difficult . Some people who show up in news reports are always going to be happy about it . And so I do think that she grapples with that as she investigated this story and there . There’s also a long tradition of certain types of killers who aren’t in it for the attention , and certainly part of the job of being a journalist is being in it for the attention . And there is a sort of duality there that is difficult to deny . And I think becomes more uncomfortable for her by the page .
So talk more about this business of doing a serious cause I understand you were just trying to get your novel poll published and publishers saying only one.
Well , it would be the height of hubris to write a book to set out to do a series. I think , or at least that’s how I feel about it . I certainly didn’t set out to write a series I set out to write one book that I thought was good and that was hard enough . And so , yeah , absolutely . When I got the call and they asked me , could this be series doesn’t have the potential to be the series . Well , one of their answer . Can you , given that situation .
Shares your the horse. Absolutely , yeah , there’s always another he’s another book .
And certainly I have found the challenge of writing a sequel to be maybe we even more than I thought it would be are there’s a great freedom in a first book , you can do anything you want you can make any decision you why and now you’ve locked yourself into all these different artifacts that are now immutable went unchanged and you have to work within that framework. My life has changed a lot to give you a little idea how long it takes a book to get published I didn’t have kids . When I wrote this book . Now I have to . To be fair , they’re twins .
No , you can’t change the fact there’s amnesia there’s you know there’s somebody missed all the story unreliable narrators come see me. I think we are absolutely right . There’s only solution is always a solution Grant Heather Durham based writer of the new book is called Last Girl Gone . The first installation in the Laura chamber mystery series and you can find out more at our website stated things.org great to talk me the Grant . Thank you so much . Thanks so much for having me . Frank . Thank you for listening to the state of things produced by Anita Rau Laura Palace or Dana Terry Amanda Magnus and Jennifer Brooklyn Robin copies is our technical director North Carolina Public Radio’s a broadcast service at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill , I’m Frank Stasio .
This is W UNC FM 81-0 Chapel Hill.
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