Author Interview: Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


I’m so excited (yah, yah, I know. I’m always excited)! I’ve found a new favourite author and it’s Liane Moriarty. And even better, I had the opportunity to meet this bestselling author of What Alice Forgot, The Husband’s Secret, and now her new novel, Big Little Lies, which was awesome (said in that sing songy voice like aaawwwsoooommmme….).


Moriarty is a master of what I feel like calling warm & fuzzy suspense. Huh? Making stuff up again? Sorta. Her novels are women’s fiction, and are narrated in a personable, comfortable and (often) humorous style. But, they’re also chock full of mystery, intrigue, and slow and steady unravelling of secrets . Not what you’d expect at all.  And yet even more than you could wish for.


When I sat down with Liane Moriarty, I first struck by her quiet grace. She is a soft and elegant woman, someone you’d meet at the store or in the PTA. She was so welcoming and honest with her answers, and quite patient with my ubiquitous energy level (considering her massive Australian / Canadian jetlag). We had a lovely conversation about her novels, her process, and just a few of her favourite things.


Liane Moriarty and Mara Shapiro talking about Big Little Lies


(some answers paraphrased for clarity)


You seem to have recurring themes in your books: secrets, mysteries, unwitting life long mistakes, sacrifice and forgiveness. Why do these appeal to you? 

I think it’s my catholic upbringing We have a sense of guilt and that recurring nightmare that you’ve done something irretrievably and terribly wrong. It’s like that Stephen King story where the character forgets to feed the rabbit and it dies.


What attracts you to mystery?

I like making my way through a story. I used to write traditional women’s fiction. My book The Hypnotist has a bit of suspense, and when I first started incorporating that, my readers were a bit disappointed. But they got over it. The Husband’s Secret was the first time I took a really dark turn.


Why write about suburban life? Are your characters based on people you know? 

That’s my life and that’s what I know. There are bits and pieces of people I know. I start with an attribute and then the characters grow from there.


So, are you a winger or a planner? Do you know who these characters are going to be?

I’m a winger. The characters develop themselves.


Which of your characters do you love the most? The least?

My favourite was Jemima in my book Three Wishes. She was very charming and a lot like my sister. My least favourite character is Marcus, also from Three Wishes. He took great pleasure in killing. (editor’s note: must read Three Wishes).


Even your most horrible characters are sympathetic. Why is that? (editor’s note: well, obviously because she’s so nice. But even nice people can write nasty characters, right? Let’s see what she said. I’ll shut up now..)

It’s not deliberate that I make them that way. It’s just the way I write. I think I’m nicer to my characters than I am in real life (editor’s note: I disagree wholeheartedly). 


Chicky’s Fast 5-ish (You know I’m bad at math)


Q: Salty or sweet?

A: Salty


Q: Music or silence?

A: Silence (I’m an introvert) <— (editor’s note: I must have been very overwhelming for her. Apologies after the fact)


Q: If you could go anywhere, where would it be?

A: Skiing in a magic castle (editor’s note: AWESOME!!!)


Q: If you could be doing anything, what would you be doing?

A: I would still be a writer.


Q: One thing you’d never give up?

A: Books


Q: What are you reading now?

A: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes


Q: Best book you ever read?

A: Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life (editor’s note: Oh yeah..definitely near the top of my list too!)


BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty


A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?  

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?

  Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:   Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). 

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.   New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

  Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.  


UNPUTDOWNABLE FACTOR: 10/10 (Great story, amazing characters, and completely relatable situations. What you’re reading could happen anywhere.)


RECOMMEND FACTOR: 10/10 (There’s enough here for literary readers on a break. Seriously, Liane Moriarty tells good story.)





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