Joyce Maynard: "The Word Most Consistently Used Is 'Shameless'"

Aug 21, 2013

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Say the name "Joyce Maynard" and you’re likely to get some pretty visceral reactions…from those who’ve admired her career since her time as a reporter for the New York Times and her later syndicated column “Domestic Affairs,” and from her detractors…those who are critical of her relentless self-examination and her revelations about her relationship with J.D. Salinger. Salinger was living as a recluse in Cornish, New Hampshire when he began exchanging letters with Maynard after reading an article she wrote as a freshman at Yale. She dropped out of college and moved in with Salinger. She was eighteen…Salinger was 53.

In 1992, Maynard was living in Keene, New Hampshire when her novel To Die For became a breakout hit. The book, based on high school teacher Pam Smart’s conspiring with her students to murder her husband, was made into a hit film starring Nicole Kidman.

Joyce Maynard’s latest fictional take on true crime is the novel After Her. It takes place in Northern California in the late 1970's, with two adolescent girls living in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais  in Marin County, where a serial killer is on the hunt, raping and strangling women hiking on the mountain trails. This part of the book is based on the real-life cast of the Trailside Killer.

During our interview, Joyce mentioned her recent Wall Street Journal column on browsing real estate as therapy. You can read it here.