Exclusive: Fan Q&A with Karin Slaughter, author of False Witness and the Grant County series

Screenshot of Karin Slaughter from interview
Karin Slaughter answers fan questions about her novel False Witness and the Grant County series.

New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter has been celebrating the release of her latest book False Witness. This novel is a dark dive into trauma and privilege as two sisters, Leigh and Callie, are forced to relive a crime that occurred in their past. They fall apart and reunite together multiple times throughout this mind-twisting novel, and Slaughter uses her renowned storytelling techniques to leave her readers constantly craving more.

Briefly summarizing False Witness, Slaughter told Monsters and Critics, “This horrific trauma happens to these two sisters and then we catch up with them 20 years later. And of course, this being a crime novel, something comes to bite them in the butt and they have to deal with it.”

She added, “It’s a story that explores how trauma can reach into your adulthood. And we know all about these things, about trauma.”

Speaking about the root of her novel, Slaughter continued, “It [trauma] can lead to heart disease, diabetes, depression. It can make you more susceptible to drug addiction, to alcoholism. We know all of these things can really cause you to continue suffering as an adult. We know trauma can tend to pass down through families. It can, kind of, be hardwired into the DNA. So, that was what I was exploring in the book, like how do you get past this? How do you manage to move on when these bad things happen?”

Karin Slaughter joined Monsters and Critics to answer some fan questions about her writing. We accumulated the questions from her Facebook fan group that hosts over 8.3K followers. Here are a few highlights from our conversation, check out the full fan Q&A below.

Karin Slaughter speaks about casting a Grant County movie adaptation

While a Grant County movie adaptation isn’t in the works (to our knowledge), one fan was curious to know if Slaughter has an actor in mind to play Sarah. However, the author respectfully declined to answer the question. She spoke passionately about how everybody’s image of the character looks different in their minds, and that’s the beauty of reading.

Slaughter said, “I have in my head what Sarah looks like and she doesn’t look like anybody, any actress. I don’t want to say, I don’t know — Julia Roberts or Nicole Kidman or whoever — because people have different ideas in their head of what these characters look like. And I think that’s important.”

She added, “When I wrote Pieces of Her, I wasn’t ever in a million years thinking Toni Collette for Laura. And then they cast her and I was like, of course, that makes sense. Even I have no idea.”

Slaughter’s writing process

Another fan wanted to know how Slaughter’s writing process has changed over the years. In her vast time as a published author, Slaughter has written over 21 novels, with many of them reaching global success.

Sharing some insight into her growth, Slaughter said, “If I was writing the same books as I had been writing 20 years ago, I’d be doing something wrong. I think it’s a crime against humanity if you get older and you don’t learn lessons along the way.”

She continued, “Also it sucks because then you’re just older, right. For no reason. So I really do work on new approaches to writing new characters. You know, there’s a certain confidence that comes from writing this many books, but there’s also a very big level of anxiety that I don’t want to screw up the books that have come before by doing something bad or that people don’t like.”

She added: “It’s really important that I deliver a great thriller that’s heart-pounding, page-turning. I mean, my primary goal is when somebody reads a book, to go — “that was so worth it, I’m so glad I read that.” And that is the way I approach every book. I think, how am I going to tell the best story I can tell in a new and exciting way that’s gripping and says something different, but also allows me to talk about social issues that are important to me.”

Watch our full fan Q&A below.

False Witness is available for purchase at all major bookstores and on the Harper Collins website.

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