What's in a Page: Long Bright River author Liz Moore on the enduring legacy of her childhood diary
Liz Moore has written four novels, but she’s also only just getting started. Her latest tome is a thriller set in an opiod-ravaged neighborhood of Philadelphia that sets its protagonist, a police officer, on a chase to uncover the whereabouts of her missing sister. Long Bright River is not only a mystery tailor-made for curling up on a winter’s night and reacquainting oneself with the idea of hygge, it’s also an instant sensation and the January pick for Good Morning America’s book club.
Before you dig in to the haunting family mystery (out now), Moore kicks off EW’s first 2020 author questionnaire with a bang — read on to find out her first literary memory and get her insider writing secrets.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the first thing — ever — that you remember writing?
LIZ MOORE: My first memory of writing is of learning what a diary was and trying to keep one. I was probably 6 or 7. The only entry I recall is: “Jessica is coming over to babysit tonight. We’re having corn.” I don’t think I wrote many other entries.
What is the last book that made you cry?
Dopesick, by Beth Macy.
Which book is at the top of your current To-Read list?
Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson.
Where do you write?
If it’s nighttime, I’m at home; in the daytime I usually write at a local coffee shop. I wear headphones and put white noise on, but I like to be able to look around at something interesting.
Which book made you a forever reader?
Probably the Ramona Quimby series, by Beverly Cleary.
What is a snack you couldn’t write without?
Does tea count as a snack? I drink gallons of it while writing.
If you could change one thing about any of your books, what would it be?
This is too hard a question (not because I can’t think of anything, but because I can think of too many things!).
Pick a GIF that you think, in this moment, best describes your book/your writing.
(The river is the book. The guy in it is me trying to stay on top of my life while on book tour.)
What is your favorite part of this book?
The first seed of the novel was the great love between the two main characters — sisters — when they were children. So my favorite part is a scene that takes place in flashback, on a school field trip that goes wrong.
What was the hardest plot point or character to write in this book?
This is the first novel I’ve ever written that has an element of suspense, and it was very hard to figure out the puzzle at the center of it, and then to release information to readers in a way that was both suspenseful and plausible.
Write a movie poster tagline for your book.
Two sisters at odds in the City of Brotherly Love. (That’s terrible. Good thing I don’t have to write poster tags for a living.)