Sunday, November 21, 2010

Katia Lief

Born in France to American parents, Katia Lief moved to the United States as a baby and was raised in Massachusetts and New York. She teaches fiction writing as a part-time faculty member at the New School in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn.

From her Q & A with Sandra Parshall:

Did you make a conscious choice to write thrillers rather than traditional mysteries? What does the experience of writing a thriller offer that you might not find in writing a mystery?

I never considered writing a traditional mystery, probably because as a reader I love the visceral sensation of suspense that forces me to keep turning pages. I want to write the kind of books I love to read, which means writing books that get deeply under my skin on an emotional level. As my writing students will tell you, I strongly believe that suspense has to be present in fiction to make it interesting, regardless of whether a book is categorized as literary, suspense, comic, romance, etc. For me, suspense is all about the evocation of emotion, and asking questions that aren't answered until the bitter end.

You wrote in an article once that your career as a novelist has been a struggle. In what way?

It took me twenty years before I started earning a living as a novelist. As a young aspiring writer, I worked the proverbial day job and wrote whenever I could. Later, as a mother, the balance was more complicated. It gets to the point where you have to make very tough choices about how you spend your time, where you put your energy, and as a writer where your focus will be. I stuck with writing novels because I love it and feel driven to keep writing, but I probably explore less than I would have if I were independently wealthy or didn't have children. But that's just the nature of life: you set on a path, you make choices, and you hope for the best. Overall I feel I've been very lucky.

Which writers have influenced you, and how? Do you find that you continue to learn by reading the work of others?

I always learn by reading the work of other writers, regardless of what kind of writing it is. In fact, I think that reading is one of the best ways to learn how to write, because it forces you to analyze what's working, what isn't, and why. I'd say that the suspense novels that have most influenced me (so far) are...[read on]
Lief's latest novels are You Are Next and Next Time You See Me.

Visit Katia Lief's website.

Writers Read: Katia Lief.

The Page 69 Test: Next Time You See Me.

--Marshal Zeringue