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Writing in the Dark

For her best-selling debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, novelist Marisha Pessl precisely mapped out her characters and plot using spreadsheets, graphs and tables. But for her followup, a psychological thriller called Night Film, she took a more exploratory approach. “The book takes on a life of its own,” she says. “It becomes alive, and it has its own personality, so for me it made sense to allow that to take place rather than trying to predict where it was going — like I did in Special Topics — at the outset of the writing. I think allowing it to come to life and allowing the twists and turns to come out of that was really crucial.”

When Pessl started Night Film, about a mysterious horror-film director named Stanislas Cordova and the death of his daughter, Ashley, she knew she wanted it to be a dark odyssey that would push her characters further and further. “I would take characters who were seemingly quite rational and make them believe in something entirely irrational,” she says, adding that she spent a lot of time thinking about the sense of dislocation and the unknown she wanted readers to have.

Pessl will read and sign Night Film tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder, and tomorrow at the same time at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Call 303-447-2074 or 303-322-7727 for more information.
Mon., Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m., 2013


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