Last week I had the incredible opportunity to meet Ruth Ware. Ware is the author of some of my favorite crime fiction books, In a Dark Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and her newest release The Death of Mrs. Westaway. All of Ware’s books are the best examples of classic crime fiction mixed with modern elements. Ware’s books consistently rejuvenate my love of crime fiction.
Ware discussed many things during the event, from how she became an author, past jobs, and the current “Girl” phenomenon which seems to have taken a hold of the publishing world. She also shared the back story behind each of her books. I found this the most interesting part of the event and loved getting a glimpse into Ware’s creative process.
In a Dark Dark Wood, Ware’s first book came to fruition while she was sharing a meal with a friend. They were discussing books and Ware stated she had never read a book about a murder occurring during a bachelorette party. She believed it would be a great setting for a closed door mystery. Since Ware could not think of any book with this concept she decided she would write it.
When Ware was preparing to write her second book The Woman in Cabin 10, she noticed most of the stories in the media surrounded allegations made by young women. The allegations made by these young women were doubted and criticized because they may have been drinking alcohol at the time of the event they were recounting. This struck a cord with Ware, she wanted to explore and create a character who believed she witnessed a crime but could not get anyone to listen or believe her story.
In Ware’s third book, she wanted to tell a story of women who were fiercely protective and would do anything for each other. The Lying Game tells the story of four longtime friends who love each other. When I read The Lying Game, I do remember thinking how different it was from other books I was reading at the time. These books told the stories of women behaving badly out of revenge or self gain. At the time The Lying Game was a refreshing change of pace.
When Ware began to write The Death of Mrs. Westaway, she was thinking of The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patrica Highsmith. She wanted to write a story of a self centered and “morally gray” person. However Ware sort of diverted from this course by making lead character Hal, sympathetic and giving her a conscience. Although Ware did not do this intentionally, this is actually one of my favorite aspects of The Death of Mrs. Westaway.
This was the first author event I have attended in which the author detailed the “spark” which lead to each of her books. To know that things as simple as a news story or a conversation with a friend over a meal could initiate such intriguing and enjoyable stories was beyond interesting. I am in awe of anyone who can take an every day experience and create a fantastic work of fiction.
*Fun Fact *The Woman in Cabin 10 was originally titled The Girl in Cabin 10. Ware chose to change it to avoid comparisons to The Girl on the Train.