The Last Thing He Told Me: Q&A with Laura Dave

19 May 2021

Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me is Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick for May, a #1 NYT bestseller and a #1 Amazon bestseller!

‘Holy Moly!… you will NOT be able to put this book down! If you’re looking for the ultimate page-turner, I highly recommend The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.’
Reese Witherspoon

We’re absolutely thrilled with your response to Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me. Since we’re all dying to know more, our fearless editor Miranda Jewess did a Q&A with Laura. Read on to discover how Laura came up with the novel and all about the forthcoming TV series starring Julia Roberts.

Laura Dave also has a special message for her Viper readers. Click here to watch.

1. The Last Thing He Told Me is quite different from your previous novels. What inspired you to write your first domestic thriller?

I absolutely love thrillers and read them constantly. But when I started writing The Last Thing He Told Me, I wanted to do it a little differently than I’d seen done before. I wanted to write a thriller rooted in hope. What I mean by that is I didn’t want the smoking gun to be that the husband turns out to be evil, or that the main character was wrong to trust herself, or that the story would hinge on betrayal. As my main character (Hannah Hall) navigated the twists and turns of her dilemma, I wanted her to find her way to somewhere unexpected, somewhere better. Instead of the constant reversals leading her to seek revenge or reimagine her entire life, Hannah found herself becoming the hero of her own life.

2. The heart of the novel is the relationship between Hannah and her stepdaughter Bailey. Was this inspired by a real mother/daughter dynamic?

I had my first child several years into working on this novel and it changed everything about the story I was hoping to tell. I understood Hannah in a new way, and her desire to be there for Bailey in the middle of her own struggle. The full landscape of Hannah’s narrative concretized for me. This involved reconsidering Hannah and Bailey’s relationships with their birth mothers, their ideas about motherhood and love, and of course the joy we can find in our found families.

3. The novel is going to be made into a TV series, with Julia Roberts starring as the main character, Hannah. Do you think the character will change through her depiction?

I’m writing the limited series now with my husband, the screenwriter Josh Singer. It’s been a dream to write this with Julia Roberts in mind, and to bring her energy to Hannah’s character.

4. Was the brilliant ending planned or did it change as you wrote? No spoilers!

I worked on this book for many years, on and off, and had many different endings that I considered along the way. But it was after I gave birth to my son in 2016 that I realized Hannah’s story, in the most primal sense, was the story of becoming a mother. For me, the book is the call to that—and the ending is the answer. Once I found it, I never wavered in believing that was where this novel needed to end. I’ve started imagining the sequel to this book. So it is possible this ending will turn out to be more of an intermission… and this family will have a new act, after all.

5. What book or author do you recommend to everyone?

Heartburn by Nora Ephron and Defending Jacob by William Landay.

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