Gillian Flynn loves a good ghost story. “I’ve always loved being scared,” she tells us. “Probably because I came from a very safe, Mid-Western family that I could go to those scary places knowing I was going to come back to a safe place.” The acclaimed author is known for spinning a chilling tale and “The Grownup,” her first ghost story, is no exception. She gives us more insight here:
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You have a knack for writing books that mess with the reader’s mind. What was your goal psychologically for the reader with “The Grownup”?
I really just wanted to try my hand at a ghost story, starting with a lighter, edgier tone and taking it to a more gothic feel where you’re not sure if you’re imagining what’s happening or if it’s really happening — that strange fear a ghost story can take you to.
What sorts of things really freak you out?
I’m not scared of spiders or anything like that, but I’m freaked out by the idea of not being safe in your own house. … The first three novels I wrote were all about the danger inside your house, the place where you should feel the safest. “The Grownup” is about the danger right outside of your house.
In the book, the protagonist uses her people-reading skills to become a “psychic.” Have you ever been to a psychic?
No, but I’ve been to tarot card readers. I’ve been to two in two different cities and they both said ultimately I was going to kill myself after a tragedy involving water. The specificity of that really freaked me out so I have not been to one since.
“Gone Girl” was such a massive success. Has that changed the way you write now?
I hope not. I’m getting ready to start my next novel and I try not to have those voices in my head about trying to make it too much like “Gone Girl” or not enough like “Gone Girl.” I just want to write the book I want to write and not worry if it does as well as “Gone Girl.” I don’t think any book I ever write will. Of course I hope they’ll be good, but that was a lightening in a bottle sort of thing.