Thursday, September 6, 2007

Michelle Gagnon

In Michelle Gagnon's debut thriller The Tunnels, "[a]n old, abandoned tunnel system beneath a prestigious New England college becomes the gruesome stalking ground of a serial killer…. The crime scenes are grim and otherworldly. The bodies of two female students are found mutilated and oddly positioned in the dark labyrinth beneath the school-haunting symbols painted on the walls above them."

From a Q & A with the author:

Q: Where did you get the initial idea for The Tunnels?

A: I originally set out to write a coming of age story set on a college campus. It was largely going to be based on my freshman year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where a number of dramatic events occurred: the University President’s office was fire-bombed, there was a student hunger strike, bullets were fired on the hill outside my dorm room. Various national and international organizations claimed responsibility for all the drama; in the end, it turned out to be largely the actions of two students who wanted to stir up unrest. Tragically, one of them was found murdered the following summer. I wanted to tell that story from the perspective of several different students, some intimately involved with what was going on, others just experiencing the madness from the periphery. But every time I hit the fifty page mark, the story stalled on me. I shifted gears, tried telling it from a different character’s perspective, tried opening with a different scene: nothing worked. Then one night, I took it in a completely different direction. The end result was The Tunnels.
Read the entire Q & A.

--Marshal Zeringue