Q&A with Nicola Moriarty, Author of Paper Chains

by Heather Caliendo
Paper Chains Author Nicola Moriarty Interview - Book Club Chat
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Nicola Moriarty is the author of Paper Chains, Those Other Women, The Fifth Letter and Free-Falling as well as contributions to two UK anthologies. She is also the younger sister of best-selling and award-winning authors, Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty.

Paper Chains is the first novel I’ve read from Nicola and I so enjoyed it (check out my review and discussion questions)! Get to know Nicola with the below Q&A where she discusses favorite novels, writing different genres, a look into her next novel and much more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

I love every Marian Keyes novel, especially Anybody Out There, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, I adored What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty and the Colors of Madeleine Trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty (and that’s not because I’m biased, it’s just because my sisters are extraordinary writers!) I also loved Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Love and Other Battles by Tess Woods and The Golden Child by Wendy James. I’ll stop now because otherwise I might go on forever!

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

When I was about nine, my wonderful teacher, Mrs Walsh read one of my stories out to my class and I was ecstatic. I decided then and there that I wanted to write children’s books when I grew up. Of course, I ended up writing novels rather than children’s books but maybe one day I’ll write a kid’s book!

Where do you draw your story inspirations from? 

Often from ‘what if’ scenarios, which simply pop into my head sometimes. For instance, “what if one evening my partner didn’t come home” (which was the inspiration for my first book) or “what if I ran away from my family” (the inspiration for my second novel). Sometimes a minor anecdote that I’ve heard or something that I’ve seen out in the world will spark an idea and a plot will start to form around it.

What is your favorite genre to write (or are they all equal)?

For me I just enjoy telling a story and I don’t really think about which genre it will fall into… I simply start writing and see where it lands, so my books have moved between tragic-romantic comedy, family-friendship drama and domestic noir thus far. Of course, if I one day wanted to write fantasy or adventure, I guess I would actually have to concentrate on that genre and the “rules” that go along with it – but so far all I’ve thought about is my plot and my characters and everything else has fallen into place!

Are any of your stories based off of real people and/or events?

Sometimes minor anecdotes within my novels will be based on real-life stories from friends or family and the main character’s journey from Paper Chains was inspired by my own experiences with depression – however, usually the central plot of my books are completely fictional and all based on imagination!

What do you hope are some of the key takeaways of Paper Chains?

A reminder to others suffering from depression or anxiety that they’re not alone, and that mental illness is very normal. That it’s not their fault and that it’s okay to reach out for help from their friends and family. And maybe an insight into post partum depression for those who’ve never experienced it so that they can keep an eye out for it for their loved ones.

Can you give a sneak peek into your next novel?

The novel I’m currently working on is about a three-car pile-up on the freeway on Christmas eve. It’s revealed that all three cars involved were being driven by members of the same extended family as they travelled in convoy on holiday. Then the story moves back in time to explore the lives of the family and learn what might have been the cause of the car accident. Was it the aunt who’s been drinking a little more than usual of late? Was it the teenager on her L plates who’s been becoming more withdrawn? Was it the matriarch of the family who’s been keeping a big secret from everyone? Was it the sleep deprived parents of new-born twins? I like to think of this book as a grown-up version of Pamela Allen’s children’s book, ‘Who Sank the Boat?’

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

I’ve just finished Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parkes (which was clever, intense and a real page-turner). Next up is The Family Next-Door by Sally Hepworth and I just know that yet again I’ll be kept up into the night, unable to put it down!

Thank you Nicola for participating in the Q&A! Click here to buy Paper Chains on Amazon.

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