A Conversation with Liane Moriarty

I am so excited to welcome Liane Moriarty to my Conversation series!

Liane2As many of you know, we are friends, colleagues, co-anchors of Book Chat along with Ber Carroll, and the three of us appear regularly together at events. Since the success of THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, and now BIG LITTLE LIES, Liane’s star has risen to a whole other stratosphere from us mere mortal mid-listers, but she’s still the same girl at heart – warm, natural and self-deprecating, and I couldn’t wait to introduce you to her, here on my blog.

 We started our conversation back when BIG LITTLE LIES was released, but writers are real people too, and in Liane’s case, have small children and go away for the school holidays! At that time, BIG LITTLE LIES had debuted at Number 1 in the New York Times Bestseller List, after the phenomenal ongoing success of THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, which was still on the list after a year! So I asked Liane …

How does it feel to have not just one book in the NYT Bestseller List, but two!?

Thank you so much for dropping that into the conversation, Di!

It feels wonderful and surreal, almost like a practical joke. I emailed my publisher in the US and asked if someone could please send me an actual real copy of the New York Times because I don’t think I will believe it until I can actually hold the newspaper in my hands. Then I’ll be able to keep it for my grandchildren. (Although knowing me I’ll probably lose it.)

I can imagine that it feels very surreal! Such an amazing accomplishment – from what I understand it’s incredibly rare for any author to have 2 books in the list at the same time, let alone an Australian. Do you think this puts paid to the idea that Americans won’t read or understand books set in Australia? Have you had to make any substantial adjustments to your stories for the American market?

Alice med

I actually just this moment got an email from the US that began, ‘Holy Crap!’ with the news that the paperback edition of WHAT ALICE FORGOT has made it on to the bestseller list, so apparently an Australian author now has three books on the New York Times bestseller list!  All three books are set in Australia, so yes, I think American readers are OK with an Australian setting. I haven’t made any substantial adjustments. We always leave in Australian colloquialisms, slang etc. if they make sense in context.

The only thing that has sometimes created confusion is the change in seasons.

Until I put a note on my website, I was receiving many emails from US readers of THE HUSBAND’S SECRET gently pointing out that Easter takes place in the spring, not the autumn.

9781742612010Well, that’s adorable. And even more congratulations are in order! 3 books in the NY Times bestseller list, PLUS a movie deal signed with Nicole Kidman and Reece Witherspoon!! I’ve heard that Nicole wants to play the part of Celeste, do you know which character Reece intends to play? (I’m calling them by their first names, because they’re obviously friends of mine now too, by virtue of the six degrees of separation rule.) And just for a bit of fun, do you have a wishlist of actors to fill the other roles?

 I am guessing that Reese maybe wants to play Madeline, but  I don’t actually have any idea. I think both she and Nicole would be amazing as Celeste and Madeline. It would truly be a dream come true to see them playing my characters.

In regard to the other characters, a friend suggested Hugh Jackman for Perry, and I agree he’d be perfect. I also think Matt Damon is perfect for any role he would like. Any role at all. He probably likes to work with his old Oceans 11 friends, so we might need to make room for George, Brad etc. I’m happy to do a rewrite of the book if necessary. You can see that I start behaving like a fifteen year old whenever this subject comes up.

I think it would only be fair to make room for George and Brad, and I’m more than happy to help out with casting. In fact, I’d be prepared to take it off your hands altogether, Liane. If you could just organise to get their contact details for me, I’ll take it from there. Really, it’s no trouble … Who’s behaving like a fifteen year old now!

But seriously, I reckon Matt Damon could totally play Ed, Madeline’s husband – he has that air of decency about him. Though I was picturing maybe Paul Rudd, who could nail Ed’s sense of humour and deadpan delivery. His one-liner comebacks at Madeline are hilarious. In fact, their whole relationship crackles with life, it was one of my favourite things about BIG LITTLE LIES. What did you enjoy about writing the book, and were there any parts you found more difficult?

I really enjoyed writing the interview snippets from the parents who were at the Trivia Night – my ‘suburban Greek chorus’. They were mostly minor characters, who were there to help build a picture of the main characters, and to give different perspectives on the events of the night, and some were purely for satirical/comedy purposes, so it meant I could have lots of fun with them. I also loved the setting, as I don’t actually live in an idyllic seaside community so it was lovely to sit down at the computer each day and feel like I was heading off to the beach. There were some panicky moments when I was writing Big Little Lies. I’m not a planner, so I never know how my books are going to end or how my plot is going to come together. It’s always such a relief when I’m about two thirds of the way through by which point I’ve worked out my ending, I’ve got to know my characters and they’re all behaving themselves (or misbehaving) and the writing just flows. I wish I could jump ahead to that point with my next novel. (I’m currently at the panicky point!)

Oh no! Then I best not keep you any longer! Except to say that I laugh-out-loud loved the Greek chorus too, and I still can’t get over how you can pull together such intricate plots and bring it all to such a satisfying conclusion. You’re a wonder.

So we’ll leave Liane there, panicking about how to finish her next book, and hand it over to you. If you’ve read BIG LITTLE LIES, who would you cast in the film? And even if you haven’t read the book yet, who would you love to see in a ‘funny, heartbreaking’ film about ‘ex-husbands and second wives, new friendships, old betrayals and schoolyard politics’. Speak up in the comments, and you have a chance to win a signed copy of BIG LITTLE LIES !




29 thoughts on “A Conversation with Liane Moriarty

  1. Great interview! And congratulations on all your American success Liane – I’m not surprised they love your books. I’ve been a fan since mum gave me a copy of Three Wishes many years ago – and of course I loved it as I too am a Kettle.

    I loved Big Little Lies and was devastated when I finished it. I just wanted it to continue as I fell in love with so many of the characters. I would pick Simon Baker to play Ed and Bradley Cooper to play Perry. And Pia Miranda to play Jane. I’m also available to help with the casting 🙂

    • Thanks Mel! Ooh, Bradley Cooper would be an interesting choice for Perry, and Simon Baker would be lovely for Ed. I still think of Pia Miranda as young, but she’s over 40 now! Though she still looks so young – she just might make a good Jane!

  2. Such a nice interview girls! I would love to come to see you and your gang at a literary lunch…what a hoot it would be. Well done on your great success Liane. I have read all of your books and recommended them to everyone as I have done with yours Dianne. I was at QVB bookshop at Westield Hurstville 30mins ago and I couldn’t believe that they only had one Liane Moriarty book in stock (The Last Anniversary) or maybe they have just sold out of them all! Anyway, I was disappointed to finish it but then I went back and started it again just so I could re read the ‘Greek Chorus’ ” comments and look at that perspective again.

    Looking forward to your next book Dianne….I hope it isn’t too far away!

    • The ‘Greek Chorus’ is great fun! And I bet they’re just all sold out of Liane’s books, I wouldn’t be surprised.

      I have a few side projects going on at the moment, so I probably won’t have a book out next year, but should do early the year after – thanks for asking!

  3. I agree that Nicole Kidman could totally pull off the role of Celeste. I think Hugh Jackman is too much of a rugged appealing type to be Perry. A more sinister, sleezy, too good to be true type – perhaps Christian Bale for Perry. Jane is more difficult – Emma Stone or Naomi Watts? And for Madeline I would go with Tima Fey.
    PS – our book club loved Big Little Lies and it took 3 bottles of bubbly to fully discuss it – lol
    Lorraine Luff

    • Only 3? 😉

      Great suggestions – yes, I’m not sure HJ is quite right for Perry, definitely needs someone more sleazy. Maybe he’d be good for Ed?

      I like the idea of Emma Stone for Jane, and I’d love Tina Fey for anything – but I believe Reece Witherspoon is going to play Madeline.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Fantastic book and such a talented author. I recommend any of Liane’s books to anyone who will listen to me. As a primary school teacher, I’ve taught a few kindergarten classes myself and could totally relate to those new school parents and the dramas they create. I’m also one of those school mums with a 5 and 8 year old and play my part on the P&C at my kids’ school. So I wear both hats!!! Loved, loved loved it!

  5. Big little lies was my introduction to Liane Moriarty’s work and I’ve since bought all of her books. I love Liane’s unique style of writing where she uses third party story telling to deepen the readers connection to the main characters and their stories. I love how relevant the stories are, I love that they’re Australian and I love that I look forward to the moments I can escape into a complex and yet real saga that ties together at the end with a neat bow. Thank you Liane. Thank you Dianne for sharing this interview.

  6. I loved this book….Liane has been at either the school gate pick up as a parent or was a teacher…she has captured the small world politics of a school perfectly…as both mother and teacher….it was spot on…..a wonderful read…will be very careful at the next school trivia night 🙂

  7. LOVED LOVED LOVED Big Little Lies! And The Husband’s Secret… and What Alice Forgot! I’m on a Liane Moriarty roll here in the US just starting Three Wishes. 🙂

  8. Absolutely loved Little Big Lies – adored What Alice Forgot too! They are both among my favourite books ever. How about Margot Robbie as Celeste and Alex O’Loughlin as Perry? Nice guys Simon Baker or Hugh Jackman as Ed and for that little touch of crazy, Isla Fisher as Madeline. Our school trivia night is this Friday night….hmmm, should I be nervous? 😀

    • Margot Robbie certainly has the looks for Celeste, but Nicole Kidman has already nabbed that role! Great choices for the men, and Isla Fisher would be a great Madeline if Reece Witherspoon isn’t doing it – maybe she could be go a bit subdued and be Jane?

      And gosh, yes, we’ll never think of school trivia nights the same way again!

  9. Yay – two of my fave authors in one spot. Absolutely LOVED this book – in fact, it’s my pick for book club and we’re discussing it tomorrow night. Bring on the wine! Cannot wait for the movie, WHOEVER plays the main characters.

  10. You two are hilarious! If you are both too busy with your books, I can take a leave of absence and work with the casting of Big Little Lies (something I happen to be in the middle of reading right now.) I agree about Paul Rudd, and that Hugh Jackman is too well-loved to be Perry. Specifically I’ll handle the casting of the men. Okay, really I just need George. I don’t care if HE plays Madeline, or Ziggy, Chloe… And I Love, love, love What Alice Forgot & The Husband’s Secret. They, too, need to be made into movies. Hmmm… what part should George play in those movies? 😉

      • Yes, George Clooney could somehow pull off Ziggy (maybe on his knees?!) 😉 He can be a post in the background for all I care, as long as he makes an appearance! Hey, he could be the REAL Saxin Banks! I love the casting ideas, and whoever plays Ed HAS to have a great sense of humor. 🙂

  11. Hmmm. Now having had more time to think about the leading roles I think either of the Hemsworth boys need to be in the cast. It is an Australian book after all and with Nicole Kidman in a lead, you can’t go wrong. How about asking Isla Fisher to take a role too? Hugh Jackman could definately take a spot. Can’t wait! Do you need a rising star for the Kinder teacher? I’m available!!!! Lots of experience at hand and I’ve been a kindy mum too.

    • Oh yes, how could we overlook the Hemsworth boys! Someone else suggested Isla Fisher too, she’d be fabulous.

      And with my Casting Director hat on, we’ll keep you in mind for a side role 😉

  12. Wow, I am just recovering from just finishing ‘Big Little Lies’ today (monday) after starting it on Thursday night !!An absolute miracle for me at the moment! It was impossible to put it down! I snuck in page after page as the kids were homeworking/ lego building/ sleeping and my washing and ironing pile is embaressingly gigantic but its been worth it!! Thankyou Liane! It was so well written, and as Di said, Liane did such wonderful job of pulling together such intricate plots and giving such satisfying conclusions! The characters were all so real and I feel such a loss the book has now ended! But huge congratulations, Liane, on an incredible book!
    As for the movie, I’m really excited to hear the people already mentioned as having roles, although I’m a big fan of Claudia Karvan and Asher Keddie. I could imagine them as having a fabulous part, perhaps as Madeline and Celeste? I also thought of Jessica Tovey for the role of Jane?
    As for the men. .. Surely Johnny Depp would make the ideal Ed .. 🙂 or a close second option the actor who played Patrick in tv show offspring. .Matt Nevez???( Sorry for wrong spelling)… its hard thinking of the right person for Perry…and there’s also room isnt there for a Hemsworth brother perhaps as Tom? Ha! Like so many have commented I too are more than happy to come along and give a hanh with casting! Thank for the wonderful interview. .and again..what a fantastic book Liane!

    • Wonderful comment, Elise. And sorry for the tardy reply! I thought I had replied, don’t know where I put my brain sometimes 🙂

      All great casting suggestions – it would be lovely to see Claudia Karvan and Asher Keddie together! Glad you enjoyed the book so much – reading is far more important than ironing, any day! 🙂

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