Interview with Kim Moritsugu
Kim Moritsugu was born and raised in Toronto. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Toronto and worked for several years in a corporate setting before becoming a full-time fiction writer.
Kim is the author of six novels so far: the romantic comedy Looks Perfect (shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award), the domestic comedy Old Flames, the literary mystery The Glenwood Treasure (shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Award), the domestic novel The Restoration of Emily (serialized on CBC Radio’s Between the Covers), the Rapid Reads short novel And Everything Nice, and The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her seventh novel, The Showrunner, a work of darkly humourous suspense, will be published in June, 2018. For more info, check out her website at http://kimmoritsugu.com/
Congratulations on the recent optioning of your new novel, The Showrunner, for a TV series. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
The novel has been optioned for development by White Pine Pictures, an independent film, television, and new media production company based in Toronto, the maker of award-winning documentary and dramatic films and television programs. It’s exciting news but still very much in the early stages.
Your earlier novels have been categorized as domestic comedies, while your newer ones have moved into the genre of dark suspense. How do you think that progression in your writing came about? Was the change purposeful or organic?
I’ve actually come close to alternating between domestic comedies/comedies of manners and mysteries/suspense – my 3rd and 5th novels were mysteries, and my new novel, the 7th, is noir suspense. I’ve always had an interest in reading and writing crime novels of a slow-build, non-detective, women-do-not-get-brutalized sort and have been increasingly drawn to suspense in recent years. My next novel, should there be one, will also be in the suspense genre.
I understand you are a bit of a foodie. What is your favorite dish and where is the best place to get it in Toronto?
I can’t name only one favorite! I love the oddly named “sushi spring roll” (which is not spring-roll-ish in the deep-fried sense of the term), at Nami restaurant on Adelaide East. And my latest local discovery is the Berry Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods Market. I’ll be serving it at my book launch for The Showrunner, because it’s close in concept to the also misnamed Triple Berry Shortcake (a fluffy vanilla cake, nothing shortcake-y about it) featured in that novel from Sweet Lady Jane in Los Angeles. (Click here to see how they make this delicious treat!)
After reading aloud the first chapter of my Candace Starr noir series, I had a dude in my writing class ask me if “I really felt people would want to read a book about two women.” What I wanted to say to him is too blue to publish here. Given that your novels usually include a strong female duo, what would you like to say to him?
My fiction features strong, clever, sardonic women. I think my books appeal most to women readers of similar temperaments, which works out well, since women make up the majority of the fiction-reading population. Male readers of my work are a welcome bonus.
Your new book, The Showrunner, coming out in June 2018, follows two women working on a popular show in Hollywood. Other novels have featured a fashion editor jetting around Europe, an architect who restores historic houses, a hip young advertising executive, and housewives of various socio-economic levels and degrees of inner fulfillment. What sorts of things do you draw on to authentically portray women from so many different walks of life?
Details about my characters’ occupations are based on a combination of my personal interests and knowledge, research I’ve conducted, and my imagination. I shadowed a magazine fashion editor for Looks Perfect, I studied up on old house architecture for The Glenwood Treasure and The Restoration of Emily, I worked briefly in marketing before I quit work to start writing, I was a part-time stay-at-home mom when I did write, and I’m a TV fan who has read up extensively on behind-the-scenes TV action. Real-life observations have inspired my depiction of family dynamics, workplace conflicts, friendships, and kids’ behaviour, because “everything is material.” But it’s all fiction, wink-wink.
I hear you covertly throw a little bit of your sons into each novel. Where will we see them in The Showrunner?
I usually give my sons’ first names to minor characters in my novels, but I slipped up in The Showrunner, due to some late-in-the-game manuscript changes. I only used the name of my older son, Simon, this time, for one of the TV show characters. I’m sorry, Michael! They’re both named in the acknowledgements page though and thanked for their support.
Some have described your writing as being Chick Lit for the intelligent. What do you think of that comparison?
I’ll take it! Much of my work does not fit easily into established fiction genres – it’s been considered too breezy for literary fiction, for example, and too non-traditional for commercial fiction. But I’ll happily accept any label that might make my work appeal to new readers.
As many people know, I love authors that use humour in their writing, and particularly dark humour. Where do you think the humour comes from in your own novels, and why do you think it is important to your style?
My goal has always been to write the kind of fiction I like to read – stories that are entertaining, amusing, and resonant. I endeavour to entertain with plot, suspense, and with the occasional line that makes me laugh. If my jokes make a reader laugh too, I’m happy.
Ann, Stacey or Jenna? Which wonderfully twisted character are you most like in Kim Moritsugu’s new novel, The Showrunner? Go here to take a fun quiz to find out and post your results in the comments here on She Kills Lit for more chances to win!