I wanted to share this with you guys, despite being a bit late. Thanks to my amazing mother, we got tickets to see Paula Hawkins and Edan Lepucki talk about their new releases. It was an amazing night at the Tampa Theatre! Paula Hawkins is the author of Girl on the Train, and Edan Lepucki is the author of California. These ladies were SO interesting, funny, and inspirational!
I really enjoyed hearing about their writing processes, the pressures put on bestselling authors releasing their second books, and how they are dealing with their success. Edan was hilarious! She was very down-to-earth, funny, and relatable. She discussed how she grew up in Las Angeles, California and how it has influenced her writing. Her take on Hollywood Hills and the way of life there was very fascinating, and I look forward to reading more about it in her new book Woman No. 17. The book is about the mother of a mute son and her relationship with him, her family, and the young nanny that she hires to assist her. Edan jokingly said the character of the mother is like her, but “darker.” She also mentioned that it was challenging to get into the heads of both the mother in her 40’s, and the nanny in her early 20’s. She incorporated technology and social media into the book, which she said was different from California, where she did not bring that into the novel at all.
Paula was a bit more subdued, but definitely still brought some dry humor of her own to the discussion. The two women together were very entertaining! I found it very interesting how Paula, and Edan too, write their novels based on characters first. Both said that a character or an idea of a character will come to them long before their plot is laid out. Then, they begin to ask themselves questions about this character, to figure out where the story might take them. For me, someone who generally has grand ideas of a plot or specific images of a scene in mind, before I hone in on my characters, this was especially intriguing. For Paula, she had the characters from Into the Water, two sisters, in her head much earlier than the actual plotline. And, like the constant of the train in her first novel, this story features water as large presence/theme in the book. She talked about how many people have a significant body of water in their lives or childhood memories and how those lakes, rivers, or beaches can seem pleasant on the surface, but hide “something nasty” underneath. That idea is a metaphor of sorts for her new book and the little village it is centered around.
Overall, Paula and Edan provided great insight into their new books and their habits as authors. I am happy I was able to catch a glimpse into their writing worlds. I was also lucky enough to get a signed copy of Into the Water and I cannot wait to read it! Check out their new books, Into the Water and Woman No. 17, and let me know what you think. They both sound awesome!