Karin Slaughter, author of Criminal, Fractured, Broken, Genesis, Fallen and more, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Karin Slaughter

author of Criminal, FracturedBroken GenesisFallen and more

Six Sharp Questions

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1.    Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

CRIMINAL is about the struggles women faced in the 1970s on the Atlanta police force.  It’s also about a present-day crime that has roots in the past.

(BBGuru: publisher’s blurb – Someone you want to forget is waiting for you.

1974: In the blistering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer prowls the street, searching for the weak, the vulnerable and the lost.

40 years later, a young woman is found brutally murdered in a sordid high-rise apartment. The specifics of her death are detailed and macabre, but for Special Agent Will Trent they are startingly familiar, and can only mean one thing.

Desperate to deny this might be happening to him, he is forced to return to the home he grew up in, to the grimy crime-ridden streets, to a childhood he has spent the best part of his adult life trying to avoid.

As the body count rises, and the tension on the inner-city streets starts to simmer, Will becomes convinced that the clue to the killings now, and in 1974, may lie in his own past; a past that he hates yet feels responsible for.

And that the killer is much, much closer to him than anyone thought possible. )

Click here to buy CRIMINAL from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

2.    Time passes. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

Best: the vacation I just had.  Worst: getting stuck at the Denver airport.

3.    Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

Joy is the best gratitude.

4.    Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

I think when I’m working, I can be a bit distant, but I’ve found writers (at least crime writers) tend to be fairly normal.  Just feed and water us and we’re fine.

5.   Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

I wish I could say I’m very conscious of those things, but honestly, I never think about my readers when I’m writing.  It’s all about me and what kind of book I’d like to read.  I think if you chase the market, you’ll end up locking yourself up.

6.   Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

The Bible.  A dictionary.  Gone With the Wind.  Really, anything that’s extremely heavy so I can hit them with it.

Karin, thank you for playing.

Visit our Karin Slaughter author page for more

Karin Slaughter Answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

Karin Slaughter,

author of

Broken, Genesis, Triptych and more,

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Convington, Georgia, which is about fifty miles south of Atlanta, where I currently live. I did the usual school, then went on to college at Georgia State University, where I studied Renaissance poetry. I dropped out two classes before graduation because I’d started my own sign company and wanted to direct all my time toward that. Plus, I didn’t want to take the requisite math classes that I was lacking!

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a writer. I’m one of those boring people who still have the first book they wrote when they were six years old. I never thought I could make a living from my writing, so I did other things, but at the age of twenty-seven, I sold a very successful business so that I could devote more time to writing.

I was determined to have a book published before I turned thirty. It’s funny, because you don’t often meet people who are doing exactly what they want to do for a job. When I was in kindergarten, the teacher asked us all what we wanted to be when we grew up (I think she was looking for alternative ideas to teaching) and there were only two kids who, as adults, are doing exactly what they said they wanted to do: me and a girl who said she wanted to be divorced from a very wealthy man.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That people are either good or bad. What I’ve found is that they are generally somewhere in between. That’s really the point of my work now—exploring that in between. The gray is much more fascinating than black and white.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Flannery O’Connor’s essays, Mystery and Manners, had a huge impact on me. I read her short stories when I was a teenager, and I loved the sudden violence and humour, and that a woman from a good southern family could get away with writing about such gory things. When I studied O’Connor in college, I started to see that the violence was really more of a fulcrum to peel back the scab on humanity. If there is any one writer who’s had a direct influence on my work, it’s O’Connor.

I can’t say that a painting has ever influenced a story, but I really enjoy the photography of Catherine Opie. I’m not as keen on her portraits, but her freeway series manages to evoke both loneliness and claustrophobia at the same time; no simple feat.

I’m not one of those writers who can listen to music while I work, but I love Red Molly’s murder ballads and Shelby Lynne’s love songs. Anytime women sing in soft harmony, I’m there.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

You might as well ask me why I choose to breathe! I really enjoy painting and while I like music, except for the triangle, I’m not very good on any instrument (you can hear my triangling on my track, “Gimme Goobers” available on my website…) I love the written word. I’ve always been thrilled by language, and the craft of telling a story. I suppose I owe my southern roots a great deal of gratitude because the oral tradition is still alive and well here. Every person on every corner has a dark secret or shocking history that aches to be told. When I was a kid, I always loved going to church with my grandmother, because after the service she would introduce me to her friends, and as soon as they walked away, she would whisper something terribly indiscreet about them, “well, you know her husband drinks,” or “she caught her youngest son wearing her underwear the other day.”

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Broken takes us back to Grant County. It opens with Lena watching a body being pulled out of Lake Grant. It looks like a suicide, but of course it can’t be that easy. Meanwhile, Sara is back in town for the first time in four years. It’s Thanksgiving, and she’s surrounded by her family, which is slightly overwhelming for her. She gets pulled into the case Lena is working on, and calls in Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in the hopes that she has finally found a way to punish Lena for her myriad crimes.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Primarily, I hope they think that they’ve read a very good story. I think a lot of authors forget they’re supposed to entertain readers, or they get caught up staring at their navels for hundreds of pages, which as a reader I don’t find very rewarding. If readers want to explicate the story on a deeper level, I certainly talk about social issues in my books, so if you’re looking for a glimpse of, say, poverty in America or racial attitudes in small towns or the long reach of domestic violence through generations of families, there’s certainly a slice of that.

I always try to keep in mind that while I am writing composites of certain types of characters, for the most part, there are real-life, breathing examples out in the world. I want to honor their lives. I’m not just writing for the person who can go into a bookstore and buy ten books without blinking an eye. I’m also writing for the person who has to decide between two paperbacks because they can’t afford both. They deserve a good story.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

In crime fiction, I absolutely adore Mo Hayder. I think she takes amazing risks. Her work can be very dark, though, so I don’t recommend her for everyone. One book that I have forced on everyone I know is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I must admit a prejudice here since she’s a southern writer, but The Help is a wonderful novel. I so admire writers who set out to tell good stories and achieve their goals.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My goal all along has been to write a better book each time. I hope I am achieving that. It’s nice to top the bestseller lists or get good reviews and it’s certainly a pleasure to meet my readers when I tour for a new book, but at the end of the day, I am always competing against myself.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

It seems really simple, but I always tell them to read. You might be surprised how many will say, “I don’t have time,” or “I’m too busy writing.” Reading is important to everyone—it trains our minds to question what we are told, it hones cognitive abilities. If you are a writer, reading gives you a sense or rhythm and how story works. Even if it’s a bad book or a silly book, you’re always learning something. And it’s very easy to spot the writers who aren’t reading, because they basically write the same book again and again. You’ll never grow as a writer—or (dare I say!) as a person—if you do not read. (BBGuru: Brilliant, brilliant advice!)

Karin, thank you for playing.

Thanks for thinking of me!

CLICK HERE to buy novels by Karin Slaughter.

Booktopia’s Christmas Clearance Sale – Our Biggest Yet

Prices Seriously Slashed


This has been a big year for Booktopia – we’ve experienced incredible growth, we’ve moved into massive new premises, we’ve revamped all of our systems, and we’ve won more buying power than ever before, which means we can offer you even better discounts…

In short, having come so far, so quickly – we want to celebrate.

As this is the season for giving, we have decided to share our success with you, our customers, by having a Clearance Sale on a scale which would have been impossible a year ago.

Let me repeat – this is


We have been busy buying up stock – buying in bulk – so that we can bring you bargains all year round  – our massive new warehouse in filled to the roof – but starting this afternoon all of our bargain books will be further reduced – some to ridiculously low prices.

These bargain books are well known authors and popular titles at dramatically reduced prices.

Romance Fiction, Crime Fiction, Thrillers, Sci-fi, Literature, Adventure, Action, Classics…

And in Non-Fiction… well… every subject under the sun – from Web Design to FengShui, from Battle Cruisers to Stamps, from Sailing to Noodles, Candles to Dreams.

Gardening, Cooking, Travel, Art, Self-help, Craft, D.I.Y

I’ve just been in the warehouse and have been walking up and down the aisles… so much good fiction

I saw great light holiday reads for women (and some men) like Catherine Cookson, Johanna Lindsey, Sheila O’Flanagan, Danielle Steel, Virginia Andrews, Katie Fforde, Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Joanne Harris.

There is great literature there too! Modern writers like : Anita Shreve, Alice Sebold, Douglas Kennedy, Tony Parsons, Philip Roth, Thomas Keneally, Hilary Mantel, Ann Patchett, Tom Wolfe, Carol Shields, Irene Nemirovsky, A.L.Kennedy, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Edward St Aubyn, Anne Tyler and Paullina Simons.

And Classic Literature : Arthur Conan Doyle, Tolkien, Margaret Mitchell, John Galsworthy, Edith Wharton and Charles Dickens.

With so many books I could only note down a few in each section… (check the website for more…)

So much crime!

Shelves and Shelves of Crime!

I saw some of the best names in the business:

Mystery writers likeDick Francis, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, RD Wingfield, Peter Robinson, Minette Walters, Val McDermid, Andrea Camilleri, Colin Dexter, Henning Mankell, Lindsay Davis and Ian Rankin.

And Thrillers like James Patterson, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Peter Temple, Janet Evanovitch, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Sidney Sheldon, Dean Koontz and Greg Isles.

Everywhere I turned there were more and more books…

I found a section with great adventure stories – perfect for the holidays too! Patrick O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell, Alexander Kent, Jack Higgins and Chris Ryan.

All of these fabulous authors, and many more, will be radically reduced in our sale.

But be quick.

Last year many people missed out.

These titles are available until stocks run out.

Get in early to ensure you get all the books you want.


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