Growing up, Moriarty wanted to be a writer but at some point she “lost that dream”. It was her sister Jaci, also a writer, who encouraged her to return to the keyboard. Another sister, Nicola, is also a writer. When they were little, their father tasked the five siblings – four girls and a boy – with writing stories: you received $1.50 if you filled a notebook with words.
It was only after spending many years in the corporate world in advertising and marketing that she returned to that original ambition. Was she a better writer after leaving and living a little? “I feel like I haven’t done anything interesting enough,” she laughs. “I think that would be true if I had lived a fascinating life. I always say this to budding writers – go live multiple lives and do interesting things, and then you can write.
Besides walking, Moriarty says good ideas come to him while driving. “It’s great to do something where you’re moving – going for a walk or taking a shower, where you think you’re doing something, but your mind is working in the background.”
Remarkably, given everything that happens in her novels, she doesn’t map them out first – far from it. She won’t write ideas for a while, but if she keeps coming back to it, it reveals that it’s worth pursuing. “If I write it, often when I come back to it, it’s not as good as I thought… if [an idea] keeps coming back to me and I want to know what’s going on, so I hope the reader will know too.
“I don’t plan my books and I’m afraid of ending up in a corner.”
Although she worries before book tours, she was thrilled to see readers again after the pandemic. Once she does a few events, she says she finds her groove and then, towards the end, she begins to hate the sound of her own voice. “I feel like that person who drank too much at a dinner party and talks too much about themselves.”
It’s refreshing to know that even someone who’s been successful like Moriarty still has moments when she’s out of ideas. “There’s always a panic, a fuss about the weather in the beginning, which is the stage I’m at now, I really don’t have anything for the next novel,” she says. “I wait for it to be revealed to me.”
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