Sep 4, 2012

Author Interview: Michelle Gagnon

I recently had the chance to chat with Michelle Gagnon about her new novel, Don't Turn Around. Hyped as a YA version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this book is getting insanely popular reviews. Here's what Michelle had to say about writing, her foray in the young adult genre, and who she would headline the cast should Don't Turn Around be made into a movie!

1.) What was your inspiration for Don't Turn Around?
An editor and I collaborated on the underpinnings of the story; we knew that Noa would wake up on a table with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she gotthere, and that Peter would have his house broken into after hacking into awebsite. But from there, it really progressed in fits and starts. I’m not an outliner, so one idea just led to the next. When I sat down to write every day, I rarely had any idea how Noa was going to get out of her latest predicament unscathed—for me, that’s the fun part (while simultaneously being the most terrifying!)

2.) What made you decide to write a young adult novel?
One of the reasons I switched to YA for this series was that a friend pointed out that I’ve had a strong teen character in nearly all of my adult thrillers, and he suggested I try writing an entire thriller from that point of view. And it was really liberating-I ended up writing the rough draft in a little over eight weeks, research and all.

3.) If you could play casting director, who would you cast for the roles of Noa and Peter?
I really loved Dylan Minnette, the actor who played the son in the (sadly) short-lived series AWAKE. He didn’t have much of a chance to display humor in that role, but he’s such a talented actor that I believe he’d be a perfect Peter.
For Amanda, Amanda Seyfried would be fantastic. I’ve loved her work ever since I first saw her in BIG LOVE, and she definitely has the chops to make self-righteous Amanda likeable.
Noa is a tricky one. Christian Serratos has the right look, but I’m not sure if she has the edge. I’d really love a slightly younger Rooney Mara.

4.) What are your must-haves when writing?
Other than a laptop, nothing, really. I’m pretty bare bones, although a mug of coffee tends to help, too.

5.) What is your favorite part of being a writer?
Being able to go to work in my pajamas! I also love being able to take a day off if I need to. There’s nothing like going to a matinee on a Wednesday.


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