Liane Moriarty on Apples Never Fall, a year of joy and her journey against cancer

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The mini-series of Nine Perfect Strangers, a bestselling novel in Australia at the time of publication, was released in August and stars Kidman, Michael Shannon and Asher Keddie. And producer David Heyman, who was behind the Harry potter films, opted Apples never fall. Liane now counts Kidman as a friend, and she tells a funny anecdote about holding Keith Urban’s hand for life because of his nerves at the Emmys.

With all of that in mind, describing Liane as seemingly quite ordinary is a compliment of the utmost importance. There is no grandeur in his purpose as a writer or the role of his novels, no performative presentation or conscious self-shaping. She passed Sydney’s last lockdown captivated by reality TV series Survivor and listen to podcasts on meditation without actually meditating. And, just like the rest of us right now, she desperately needs to go to the barber.

Liane, 54, understands the game of book advertising – a game that involves a collection of sassy, ​​sometimes irrelevant questions – and she plays it skillfully, never giving too much away at the after-press conference. -match.

She would typically tour a new novel across Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, but travel restrictions mean she has had to cancel, reschedule or postpone events in person, including attending the local and international launches of screen adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers.

“It gives you a new appreciation,” says Liane. “I love meeting readers. I love this part. And
I also like to talk to you. It is right after that that I am filled with self-loathing, thinking about things that I have said. But I love meeting readers so I’m really sad that I wasn’t a part of it. I used to complain a bit about the trip, but now I’m like, “Well, I was just complaining about the trip. “Really, I loved it.”

And readers love Liane in return, a truly, insanely, guilty love (to borrow from another title of her novels). According to Nielsen Bookscan, she has sold over 2.1 million books in Australia, worth $ 30.5 million. Big little lies alone sold half a million copies.

“Sometimes it’s almost embarrassing, that feeling that now I’m sitting down and making up a story, but the privilege is that it’s actually my job to sit down and make up a story. I have to do it.

Why? Maybe that’s because Liane’s characters often seem so ordinary. These are people you can relate to, with related issues. His novels, of course, are very readable. But to categorize them as beach readings is to dismiss Liane’s distinctiveness as a writer – dark comedy, razor-sharp sightings, the ever-present sense of yearning.

“It’s a privilege to know that I will be published and that this is my job,” she says. “Sometimes it’s almost embarrassing, that feeling that now I’m sitting down and making up a story, but the privilege is that it’s actually my job to sit down and make up a story. I have to do it.

Once we established that these are indeed snowshoes and not scuba fins hanging on my wall, Liane says she decided to do Apples never fall about a tennis family after he started taking lessons to follow his son to the court. Her mother and grandmother were tennis players and they have always played socially as a family.

In the novel, the Delaney Tennis Academy is a local institution. All four of the Delaney children were talented on the pitch, but neither achieved the Wimbledon victory their now-retired coaching parents had long awaited.

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But the games they all play off the pitch are much more interesting. One night, a distressed young woman named Savannah shows up at Joy and Stan’s door with a bloody eye, asking for help. She says she doesn’t have any friends, money or a cell phone and is running away from an abusive relationship. “I had a good feeling about this house,” says Savannah. “As soon as I saw him. It was just very warm and safe.

But regular readers of Liane will recognize the warning: in her novels, what at first seems stable is often fragile. There are chills and chills, but they’re almost incidental to the larger exploration of older couples and sibling rivalry. The latter topic is one that Liane is familiar with – she is the oldest of six children and two of her sisters, Jaclyn and Nicola, are also authors.

Liane worked as a copywriter and was inspired to enroll in a creative writing degree (this culminated in her first novel, Three wishes), after Jaclyn told her that her young adult novel was about to be published.

Jaclyn also inspired her latest book, written in 2019, a year Liane had identified as her “year of joy”. (She usually writes a novel every two years, but has decided to extend the deadline for Apples never fall.) She had visions of spending the extra time listening to music and reading poetry, but all she wanted to do was write.

She asked Jaclyn to send her a write invite and her sister responded with a picture of an abandoned bicycle with green apples strewn about. Liane found the writing more enjoyable without a tight deadline, although her family joked that she spent so much time on her novel that it became just a repeat of what was supposed to be her “year of joy.” “relaxing.

“I learned that what always brought me joy was writing a new novel, but I didn’t feel so much pressure over time.”Credit:Daniel Boud

“I learned that what always brought me joy was writing a new novel, but I didn’t feel so much pressure over time,” she says. “Which was wonderful because it set me free. I thought, ‘If it doesn’t work, I can throw it away and start over.’ It turns out that I haven’t changed much.

A more difficult experience followed. Liane revealed in a social media post in August that she had undergone medical treatment. “Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (Right after handing over the manuscript for Apples never fall. That’s the kind of well-behaved author that I am.) Here I ring the bell at the hospital on Friday to mark my last day of radiation treatment, ”she began, accompanying the post with a video.

She was diagnosed during a routine check-up, fortunately the cancer was detected in its early stages.

“It was both horrible and perfectly fine,” she said. “It was a confusing time, because it’s obviously very painful, but at the same time, I knew the prognosis was good. You keep telling yourself, “You don’t have to be upset. Everything will be alright.’

“You also feel upset. But you meet lovely people and it’s like every time someone has a medical problem, a health problem, you suddenly realize that you pull the curtain down on this other parallel world that is unfolding as you live your life. .

“You realize that you are part of a community. And it was actually really special and so charming that people said it brought them comfort, hearing about my experiences.

“The positive side for me during the lockdown was that I had a valid reason to leave the house every day, to go for treatment. And the coffee at the hospital was excellent.

She felt the love of her family and friends – and, thanks to her online posts, of strangers. She had been apprehensive about sharing the news publicly – as she always seems to be when telling me about it – but the response reassured her.

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“I’m so glad I did because of the comments on the posts. You realize that you are part of a community. And it was actually really special and so charming that people said it brought them comfort, hearing about my experiences. If anyone caught [their cancer]early on, then I would feel really good about it.

We end our interview where we started. “Thanks for the tennis rackets,” Liane said, still polite. “It’s a great sport, one that you can hopefully play until the age of 90, like my grandmother. She kept it all her life.

Liane hasn’t started writing her new novel yet, so I’ll have to wait and see what my video background will be next time we speak.

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