Gillian Flynn—the genius behind Gone Girl—spoke at the Southern Festival of Books on Saturday, October 13. I knew there would be a large crowd with a lot of questions at the talk, and I was not disappointed.
Here are a few fun facts from Flynn's presentation:
• Flynn's dad was a film professor, which explains the author's love of pop culture—and dark stories. (He took her to see Alien when she was seven.)
• She wrote her first novel, Sharp Objects, while she was a writer for Entertainment Weekly. To separate her two lives—writing the book in secret and writing for work—she neglected to include any pop culture references in the novel. She also wrote the novel all over the world while she was on location covering movies.
• Flynn's first story, written in third grade, was called "To the Outhouse." It was a riff on Little House on the Prairie—in which a girl gets up to go to an outhouse in the middle of the night, and is promptly surrounded by wolves!
• The author originally wanted to be a crime reporter, but she discovered that she was too shy for the interviews. Instead she turned to TV writing and criticism. Her work as a journalist taught her to be an observant person and disciplined enough to write every day—good training for a novelist.
• Flynn and her husband are "coming up on" their five-year wedding anniversary. (Gone Girl starts on a couple's fifth-year anniversary, which sets in motion the mystery at the heart of the novel. Let's hope the author's is less eventful!).
• When Flynn was drafting Gone Girl, main character Amy's family's business was originally a dating service. The oh-so-perfect "Amazing Amy" idea only came later.
• Flynn is currently in the process of writing the screenplay of the movie version of Gone Girl, which will be produced by Reese Witherspoon. Flynn confirmed that there will be voice over in the movie (think Election or Fight Club).
• No surprise here, but attendees of the Southern Festival of Books were eager to get their books signed and personalized by Flynn. The photo above is but a segment of the very long line at the signing colonnade.
Have you read Gone Girl? If so, I'd definitely recommend you try to catch the superstar author on book tour.