Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Liane Moriarty

Today I'm going to be researching Liane Moriarty. She, and her sister Jaclyn, might be my favorite Aussie authors.

I think I've read almost all of Moriarty's adult fiction books.  I don't think I own any of them, though...despite having a huge collection of Australian books. I've gotten most of Moriarty's books from the library. They're readily available here in America, and quite popular.

I've read one of Moriarty's children's books, and that one, I think I bought. I liked it much less than her adult fiction.

My favorite Moriarty book is The Hypnotist's Love Story. It provides a sympathetic portrayal of a stalker. I think stalkers are often presented as simply wicked and sick. Moriarty shows a more relatable aspect of the situation. The thing is, sometimes it's hard to let go.

Lord Wiki doesn't have much to say about Liane Moriarty, so I think I'm just going to go straight ahead to Moriarty's official website.

The front page of the site lists the books that Moriarty has written. I actually imagined there were more. There's only six: Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist's Love Story, The Husband's Secret, and Big Little Lies. I haven't read Big Little Lies. I'm not sure it's even available yet. On the site, it says it will be available in 2014. So the book could be out now, or not out yet. We're not done with 2014.

I'm looking at the book on Amazon now. It IS available, so Moriarty's website is a bit outdated. I can't blame her, because I've been awful about updating my book website. In my case, though, there's not much to say.

Moriarty's website says CBS films has bought the film rights for The Husband's Secret. Does that mean it will be a TV movie, or does CBS films also make theatrical movies?

Lord Wiki has a list of movies done by CBS films. Some of them were released in the theater, but I don't think any of them are hugely successful.  The Husband's Secret isn't listed as an upcoming film, so I guess it's in the very early stages of creation.  And sometimes movie rights are bought, but nothing is actually made.

Now I'm looking at the about page on Moriarty's site. It has biographical information.

Moriarty was born in November 1966, but no exact date is provided. I wonder why.

Maybe she has the same birthday as me, because I was born in November too.

Ah! Maybe that's why she keeps the date secret. That way every fan born in November can imagine they might share a birthday with her.

Moriarty is the oldest of six children. Wow!

Her first word was glug.

I don't know what my first word was, and I also don't remember Jack's first word. That's awful of me! I probably have it written down in his baby book, though. I might have to search for that later.

As a child, Moriarty loved to read. I can relate to that.

I can also relate to Moriarty reading before bed. But she does it in a bath. I don't. I'm not a big fan of baths.

This is so sweet. When she was a child, her dad paid her to write a novel for him. I like when parents are supportive like that.

Moriarty had a career in advertising before she became a successful novelist.

Her younger sister Jaclyn published a novel first.

Oh...this is funny.  The bio page says it was a case of sibling rivalry. When Liane saw her younger sister getting published, she rushed off to write her own book. And it was rejected many times.

But finally she found success.

Moriarty has two young kids. She lives in Sydney. She writes full time.

It says here that The Husband's Secret was a #1 New York Times bestseller. I knew it was very popular, but I didn't know it was THAT popular.

I wonder where it is on the list now.

I'm not seeing that book, but right now Big Little Lies is #3 on the hardcover list. That's very impressive.

Lord Wiki has a list of the 2013 #1 bestsellers. I'm not seeing The Husband's Secret on the list.

Either Lord Wiki has made a mistake or Liane's Moriarty's site has exaggerated her success. OR I'm misreading something.

I'm thinking that maybe although the book was published in 2013, it was perhaps on the 2014 bestseller list. I'm scrolling through all the 2014 weeks right now.

I'm already at September 2013 and am not seeing it.

Maybe I'll look in e-books.

Here we go. I finally see it. But not at #1. It was at #3 the week of September 22, 2013.

Here we go. For the week of September 1, 2013 it was the #1 e-book. But in the same week, it was at #10 in hardcover. So I guess the book was more popular with people who read e-books.

Here's the novel section of Moriarty's site. I might refresh my memory about her first two novels. I vaguely remember them. What I remember most is one of them had really good insights about postnatal depression. Although I don't know if I have enough experience and knowledge to judge what's realistic or not in those situations.

I just read the description of Three Wishes. It's about triplets. I can't really remember it.

I'm going to read the reviews on GoodReads and see if anything rings a bell. I don't think this is the one that has the postnatal depression. I'm pretty sure that was in The Last Anniversary.

Some of the reviewers say that there are little vignettes about the sisters told through the viewpoint of people who know them. I wish I remembered that. It sounds fun and clever.

I looked at the reviews for The Last Anniversary and saw that I'm right about it being the one with postnatal depression.  I don't remember a lot about the first two books. But at least I remember something.

I just read a review that really annoyed me. I can't stand it when people are so...Crap, what's the word? It's like they can't understand that other people might have a different opinion then themselves.

So this one reviewer says,

The storyline completely collapses and toward the end of the book you feel very frustrated that you wasted the time to read it. Do NOT bother with this one

You feel? Are you talking to me? Because...no, I didn't feel that way. Don't tell me how to feel. And don't tell me what books I should and shouldn't read.

I really can't stand it when people write reviews this way.

I think it would have been much better to say it like this. I feel the storyline completely collapses and towards the end of the book, I felt very frustrated that I wasted the time reading it. I wouldn't recommend this to any of my friends.

Here's the page about Moriarty's children's books. They're about a young girl named Nicola Berry. I read one, and like I said, I wasn't a fan.

I do like the story behind the books. It says here that Moriarty originally wrote the story for her sister Nicola's tenth birthday present.  Then later, after Moriarty became a published writer of two novels, Nicola suggested that she publish the Nicola book.  Liane did that, after rewriting it.

And wow! Nicola is now a published author as well. Here's her website. She has two novels available. I'll hopefully read them (and love them) someday.

There are six Moriarty siblings. Are they all girls? All writers? If there are any that aren't writers, do they feel left out?

On Nicola's bio page, there's mention of Jaclyn and Liane. So at least they're the only writers who are published. The other three siblings might be writers who haven't successfully published a book yet. Or maybe they're not novelists at all.

I wonder what it would be like if my sisters were writers too. What if we all three had blogs? Or what if we all wrote novels? Would we be supportive of each other? Would we read each other's stuff? I think we would, but I also think we'd be competitive and jealous of each other.

I think my sisters would be good at writing novels and/or blogs. They write very entertaining emails at time. My older sister, though, doesn't read novels, so she might be lost when it comes to things like storylines and character development. She'd probably be better off sticking to blogging.

My sisters don't show interest in my blogs or novels. So maybe that's why I kind of wish they'd start writing. If they wrote, they'd probably read my stuff in hopes that I'd reciprocate.

I just thought of something. What if one of my sisters does have a blog, but it's one of those secret ones! I know a lot of people create blogs and don't tell their families. Oh...now that's going to drive me nuts—wondering if there's something out there.

I like Liane Moriarty's contact page. She says, Although Liane would love to answer all emails personally, she has come to the sad realization that she will never speak to her children or write another novel if she continues to do so. However, ALL emails are read and so very gratefully received. 

That makes sense. It's reasonable. When she says all emails are read, I wonder if she means that she reads them. Or does someone else?

The page also says, If you have just read The Husbands Secret and wish to tell Liane that Easter takes place in spring, not in autumn, please note that this book is set in Australia, where the seasons are upside down. Easter takes place in the autumn here. It’s true.

I wonder if she actually gets emails with people trying to correct her about that.

Liane Moriarty has a blog.  Unfortunately, her last entry was May 2013. She's had a long hiatus.

Moriarty reminds me so much of me when she talks about a video of herself she embedded in the entry. I haven’t watched the video myself because I know if I watch it I’ll go into a fit of depression that will last at least two weeks.

I finally watched the video of my TV interview thing. But without sound. It was less scary that way. I watched it because I wanted to see the video and photo clips they used in the background.

This reminds me of me too! Moriarty says, It’s great the way they’ve frozen the video with me pulling that particular face, isn’t it? 

It is a bad pause of her face, and the pause of my face used on the channel 9 website was awful too.

I'm watching the video now.  I mean Moriarty's. Not my own. She tilts her head a lot. I wonder if I did that.  I can't remember. But I'm not going to re-watch the video to find out.

Moriarty is asked how she came up with the idea of The Husband's Secret. She says she was hanging out on the internet...procrastinating. She found an article about death bed confessions.

For those who haven't read the Husband's Secret, what happens is a woman finds a letter written by her husband. It says on the envelope that she shouldn't open it until he dies.

Can you imagine?

Well, I guess many would probably assume it's just some kind of sweet and sentimental thing. But if I remember correctly, the husband acts nervous about it, and that gets the wife feeling a bit curious and suspicious.

In the video, Moriarty says she's started working on her next book, which is probably Big Little Lies. I mean there IS a chance that she started writing a novel, and then scrapped it. I hope not, though, because the one she talks about sounds interesting. She says it's about parenting, and involves the idea that parents today are more concerned about being a good parent than our parents were.  It doesn't sound good when I say it that way.

I do agree with Moriarty, though. And I think there's good and bad about it. I don't think we necessarily love our children more than our parents loved us.  But I think we're more involved. Maybe? We're more passionate about parenting, and maybe we try harder to do a good job at it. That's the good. On the bad side, we get more anxious about it. We've become overprotective. Also, sometimes our children become the center of our life and the whole basis for our self-esteem. This can be a huge problem because then we not only want to be perfect parents (which is impossible), we also want perfect children.  We become very competitive with other parents.

These are all generalizations, of course. I think it's true for many parents today, but not all.

Moriarty says she has social media anxiety. I think I'm getting that. Or at least I'm starting to have it about emails. It's sad because I used to be annoyed that people talk to each other through Facebook Likes, and stuff like that. I thought real friends email each other.

Now I kind of love my friendships where we rarely talk to each other and we just Like each other's photos on Instagram.

Is it laziness? Probably. And being busy.

I get very nervous about saying stupid or offensive things when I write emails. And I have major issues now about revealing things to people through email. I've had so many times where I've revealed things and then never heard back from the person. Or they do respond, but what they say makes me feel bad.

I don't know....

The thing is, I will often spend a really long time writing an email. Then I delete huge chunks from it. And it ends up being such a huge waste of time.

You know what one of my email pet peeves is. And I'm guilty of doing this to others. But I've made a conscious effort to stop.

So...I finally get around to writing back to someone after procrastinating for many days. Or weeks.  I can finally knock if off my (virtual) to-do list. Then hours later, the person writes back! It's so frustrating.  It's like mopping the floor, and then soon after someone walks on it with muddy shoes. What's the point of accomplishing something if new work is going to created for you so soon?

The problem is most relationships are uneven. One person always has more love for the other.

I have a certain Australian friend. I'm pretty sure I love her a bit more than she loves me. So I would do it to her. She'd take forever to write back. And when she did, I'd quickly write her back. Maybe I forced myself to wait a day. OR two. But still. I did write back too soon. I stopped when I realized how annoyed I was when other people did it to me.

Instagram relationships aren't perfect though either. This weekend I learned my nieces Like every photo they look at. I kind of suspected that. But still. If you Like every photo, it kind of makes the Liking meaningless.  However, I do get worried about not clicking Like on photos . I was Liking photos from one of my friends. She posts a lot. I'm not going to Like everything. I just Liked a few. But then I worried she'd wonder why I wasn't Liking certain photos. But then again, I shouldn't worry. She rarely Likes any of my photos.

I used to have a rule on Instagram—that I'd never click Like on a photo. If I wanted to communicate, I'd actually take the time to write out a comment.

That rule was thrown out the window. I think mainly because I'd comment and often people wouldn't respond. So see...I'm lazy about communicating with friends. But other people are even worse than me.

I'm kind of skimming the rest of Moriarty's blog—trying to avoid being inspired to go off on another long tangent.

One of the posts is about her sister Nicola and Nicola's new book. Liane promotes it in the entry, which I think is very nice.

I love this post. Moriarty talks about how she gets nervous speaking in front of fans. But there's always someone there who makes eye contact and is very encouraging. Then Moriarty says, I have to admit I’m not that person myself. Whenever I see someone speak, I keep my face totally blank and avoid eye contact as if I’m on a New York subway, on the off chance there is some sort of humiliating audience participation thing coming up.

That reminds me of when Tim and I went to see Dame Edna, and I was terrified I'd be chosen for one of her audience participation things. It's funny how some people are so eager to be chosen and others of us are terrified.

This blog post is interesting. It talks about how Moriarty's writing style will sometimes be invaded by other authors' that she's read recently. It happens. Sometimes, even when I'm not writing, I'll start thinking in an author's voice. It's like my brain is invaded by their style.

The only book I remember reading and enjoying while writing The Dead Are Online is the most recent Bridget Jones book. I wonder if there are parts of my novel that sound a bit Bridget Jones. That's the thing, though. I think a author's voice will only invade my own if I like them a lot. When I was reading the book recently with a ton of metaphors, it wasn't like I suddenly was constantly coming up with metaphors inside my head.

In this entry, Moriarty talks about being a blog lurker. She reads and doesn't comment. I get a lot of that on my blog. I used to be bothered by it. But now I'm not. I mean I appreciate comments. Although like emails, they do cause me a mild bit of anxiety. It really sucks. I'm disappointed when I get no comments. So I like getting comments. But I don't like getting them because it means I have to comment back. And yes, I do have to comment back, because I feel it's rude not too. I have lately sometimes let the commenters have the last word, though. I mean eventually the conversation has to come to an end.  Sometimes there's nothing left for me to say.

But yeah. I'm fine now with lurkers. Maybe my self-esteem has improved a bit. I guess I used to assume that lurkers were people reading my blog and hating me. I imagined them to be the opposite of fans. Now I tend to assume that most lurkers are people who like my writing, but are shy and/or don't want to become personally involved.

Sometimes I get upset when I write entries where I really pour my heart out.  I'm reaching out. I need comfort. I need a kind word. It kind of makes me feel ignored and unloved when no one provides that for me. But I guess it's best to just imagine that people DO care and maybe they're giving me silent hugs in their hearts.

That sounds really corny.

Oh well.

It doesn't look like Moriarty is on Twitter or Instagram.  She does do Facebook.  I think her most recent entry is a bit ridiculous. And it's a humbebrag thing. She says, Debuting at number one on the New York Times bestseller list is actually nothing to do with the book itself but all to do with the amazing loyalty of my readers in the US and the wonderfulness of my publishers....

I like when people are grateful to their fans, but that's a bit over the top. You're not going to have a lot of loyal readers if you write a book that most people dislike. It's kind of like a group effort. Readers need a good book and writers need readers who are willing to read the books.  It's kind of like symbiosis.

Moriarty has a link to an article saying that Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman have bought the film rights to Big Little Lies. And it does sound like the book is the one Moriarty had been working on—the one she had mentioned in her blog entry. I forgot to check up on that. Because I was too busy blabbing on and on about my own stuff.

But yeah. It's about parenting: Kindergarten mothers.

Oh! And here's another movie story. What Alice Forgot is going to be a movie, and it will be directed by the guy who wrote The Devil Wears Prada.

I just had a bad feeling. Hopefully I'll be wrong. But I'm kind of thinking the setting of these novels are going to be relocated to America for the movies.

I'm going to read some interviews now.  Here's one from something called Chicklit Club. It's about What Alice Forgot.

Moriarty is asked what inspired the creation of the story. Moriarty says she read an article about a woman with amnesia who woke up thinking she was a teenager.  The woman in the novel doesn't think she's a teenager. She wakes up thinking she has a good marriage, when that's not actually the case.  But I can see how one story would lead to another.  The basic idea is of someone not only losing their memory, but their personality. Sometimes it can be for the better and sometimes it can be for the worse.

I love Moriarty's answer about whether she did research on amnesia.  I bought a whole lot of expensive books about the science of memory and wasted hours confusing myself. That's pretty funny.

Moriarty is asked what she'd like to forget. She says she wishes she could forget the things she said that make her cringe.

I sort of wish I could forget the times I hurt people...especially Jack. For example, the time I was overly harsh when he drew on our walls with crayon. But it wouldn't be fair unless he could willingly lose the memory too.  Although he might not remember, because he was three when it happened. But still....

My parents say things that hurt me. Then they forget it. We had this whole drama a few weeks ago because three people in my family asked whether I want a Fitbit. Since I had an eating disorder and exercise obsession in the past, I felt this was highly inappropriate. So we had this huge drama where I tried to explain my feelings and confronted my family about their lack of support during my challenging times. That weekend there were lies, half-assed apologies, claims of not-remembering, etc.  There seemed to be a small bit of resolution. But I had my doubts.

This weekend I was exercising and what did my dad ask me? He asked if I had a pedometer! I didn't even get mad or feel hurt this time. I just sat there thinking...it's hopeless. And I think he really did forget. I don't think he was faking it. But that's the problem with forgetting the times you've hurt people. If you can't remember, you might keep repeating it.

Or if you have a selective memory, you might become narcissistic, because you DO remember all the nice things you've done for people.  Then when they get mad, you'll send them an email saying something like How can you treat us this way after all we've done for you! 

Back to the interview.

Moriarty says she doesn't plan out her novels. Good!  She's on my team them!  I wonder if her sisters are the same way.

The other thing I notice about Moriarty is her novels don't have sequels. Although her kid story is a series. That's another thing I have in common with Moriarty...writing-wise.

Moriarty participated in a series in Writer's Digest. It's called 7 Things I've Learned Before.  It's writing stuff. I'm wondering what of the seven things will apply to me, and which won't.

The first thing is, she needs to commit to a word count goal. I usually have that. With my novels...definitely not my blog. With my blog, I should probably have a word LIMIT.

The second thing is, when she's stuck, she needs to keep writing.  I kind of hate that feeling—being stuck, but forcing the words out. I hate when the words aren't flowing easily.

The third is, that she doesn't think it's productive to ask herself whether something is good.  Yeah. I agree with that. It's all subjective. I might think something I write is brilliant, and most other people might hate it. Or the opposite could happen.

The fourth one is totally me and the main reason I've decided it's best I be a blogger and not a novelist. Moriarty says, Google is my best friend and my worst enemy. It’s fabulous for research but then it becomes addictive. I’ll have a character eating an orange, and next thing I’m googling types of oranges, I’m visiting chat rooms about oranges, I’m learning the history of the orange. It’s bad for my word count.

That would be an exaggeration of what I do while writing. But it comes pretty close. Real estate is my downfall, and if you read my novel, you'd probably think I'm nuts for saying that. Because what I've researched rarely ends up in my book.

The fifth one is that family and friends will believe everything in your fiction book is true.  It's rare for my family and friends to read my books, so I don't know. But the few times they have, they've noticed when fiction matched reality. I don't think they assume everything is true, though.

I don't agree with the sixth one. It's that writers should get a website. I did, and I think it was a waste of money. The thing is GoodReads let's you have an author's page and you also get your own page on Amazon. I think that's enough. I originally tried making a website for The Dead Are Online with blogger, but then I went ahead and made a website with GoDaddy.com.  I feel it's such a pain to update it.

There are so many other sites to use: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogger, etc. There's no need for a website.

The seventh thing is quite peculiar.  Moriarty says, Sometimes, just agree. When your publisher sends you the cover for your new book with the message, “What do you think? We LOVE it!” the correct answer is, “WOW! I LOVE IT TOO!”

It sounds like maybe Moriarty learned that from experience. Maybe she got herself in trouble by expressing her dislike of a cover?

Anyway....I think I will stop here.

If you're a blog lurker who's read this post, thank you! Don't feel compelled to say anything. I'm happy enough that you listened.

If you're a blog reader who likes to comment, please tell me if you've read any of Moriarty books. If you've read more than one, which did you like the best?  Also, I'd love to know if you've read any of Jaclyn or Nicola's books.

If you're a blog reader who's also a novel fan, and you're willing to give MY novel a try, I'll totally love you. Though I won't know actually know who you are (unless you say something). But I'll be happy to see a sale has happened on Amazon. Here's the link to my novel.  It's only 99 cents (in US dollars).  It's R-rated, but if you're expecting a 50 Shades of Gray thing, you'll probably be disappointed. There's only three sex scenes. And it's not good sex. If my characters have good sex, it's described in a line or two. No details. The only sex I enjoy describing is the dysfunctional sort.

Okay. I'll shut up now. For real this time.