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9 June 2021updated 30 Jun 2021 2:02pm

Karin Slaughter Q&A: “Ariana Grande gave me a concert in an airport bathroom“

The author discusses admiring Hillary Clinton, the Dutch artist Sam Drukker and anti-vaxxers. 

By New Statesman

Karin Slaughter was born in Georgia in 1971. She is the author of 21 novels, which have together sold more than 35 million copies, and is the founder of the non-profit organisation Save the Libraries.

What’s your earliest memory?

My older sister screaming like a banshee because she was trapped with our family poodle in the back of the car while he was experiencing a bout of explosive diarrhoea.

Who are your heroes?

I have such respect for JLo, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Ariana Grande (who I once met in an airport bathroom – she gave me a mini concert in between flushes). I love seeing artists in control of their business.

What book last changed your thinking?

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith, which explores the modern-day imprints of slavery still found on our monuments and towns. Language is so powerful, and we need to understand what we are really saying and how much damage we are doing by not examining our pasts.

[See also: The paradoxes and platitudes of Salman Rushdie]

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Which political figure do you look up to?

It’s a cliché, but Hillary Clinton is pretty amazing, and a lesson on how there’s a certain type of person who can’t stand the thought of a powerful, intelligent woman.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

I’m pretty good at mimicking doctors, lawyers, and forensics experts just enough to pass. It’s funny how freaked out doctors get when you can read an X-ray.

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?

I think there are two types of people: those who’d go to the past and those who’d go to the future. I’d totally sign up to go to the future, say 100 years from now. Or maybe 110, in case once-every-century pandemics become a thing.

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What TV show could you not live without?

For All Mankind is my current obsession. It hits every single mood, every single twist and turn, exactly right.

Who would paint your portrait?

Sam Drukker is one of my favourite Dutch artists. He offered to do my portrait. He sent me a note with his catalogue of work, and I noticed that a lot of them showed nude people fucking, so I politely declined.

What’s your theme tune?

“Even it Up” by Heart with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett as a close second.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Tess Gerritsen told me to always pack more underwear than I need when I tour, and she was absolutely right. I never pack for a trip without thinking of her.

What’s currently bugging you?

Anti-vaxxers. They embody a particular white, Western privilege that I find galling. Also, everyone knows the microchips are in Viagra.

What single thing would make your life better?

Two hours on the treadmill every day without my body hurting would be so very nice. I was going to do this during the first lockdown but then I realised there are potato chips.

When were you happiest?

When I met the love of my life.

In another life, what job might you have chosen?

I would love to be a watchmaker because it seems solitary and focused on putting together tiny puzzles, which is my jam.

Are we all doomed?

Only the beautiful people.

“False Witness” by Karin Slaughter is published by HarperCollins on 24 June

This article appears in the 09 Jun 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The Covid cover-up?