Published February 28, 2022

Vera Kurian, author of Never Saw Me Coming, is a writer and scientist living in Washington, D.C. Her short fiction has been published in magazines such as Glimmer Train and The Pinch. She has a PhD in Social Psychology, where she studied intergroup relations, ideology, and quantitative methods.

Get to know Vera in this Q&A and then see her at the Festival in March discussing her work in a FREE in-person event, Thrillers for a Wild Ride on March 19 at 2 PM ET.

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What motivated you to become an author? 

I think this is probably true for a lot of authors, but as a child I was often bored and daydreaming in class. I loved reading, so it seemed natural that I would want to tell my own stories. I’m a big reader, but also an analyst by nature, so whether I’m reading books or watching movies or TV, I’m constantly analyzing tropes, plot points, and characters in my head and reflecting. The idea that I can take this analysis and have it in conversation with readers is what makes me a writer. 

Who or what are some of your creative influences?

I’m a deep lover of literary fiction, horror films, and both prestige and trash TV. I grew up reading Stephen King and would love to be a writer who can walk the line between genre and literary. I love writers with stunning prose (Morrison, Faulkner) because I can’t quite do that myself, writers who can devastate you emotionally (Ferrante), and writers that dabble in metafiction (Barthelme, Calvino, Barth). 

What was your favorite part about writing your latest book?

There is a lot of unexpected humour in this book—I didn’t intend for it to be funny, but Chloe and her commentary and some of the strange juxtapositions in the book are indeed funny. I still laugh at the jokes when I read the book or hear the audiobook even though I wrote those jokes. 

Do you have any sources of inspiration that you come back to while writing?

I am constantly feeding my subconscious, whether it is through reading, TV/film, or consuming the news or podcasts. A mind that isn’t constantly consuming new information is one that is just going to spit out tired stories. Authors need to be in conversation with the actual world that people live in. 

What impact or takeaway do you hope your work will have for readers? 

I wish I could say that I spent the pandemic reading War and Peace and learning to speak French, but the reality is that I watched tons of TV and played a lot of Skyrim. I found myself turning to things that made me feel comfortable to cope with the absolutely wild amounts of stress and social isolation. I sold this book during the pandemic and one thing that constantly makes me tear up is readers saying that the book took them away from the pandemic to another world. I am not a writer of War and Peace but if I made you laugh or gasp or stay up turning pages, I can feel satisfied that I’ve done my job. 

What is something that you’ve read recently and would recommend to others?

I’m currently reading Helen Oyeyemi’s White Is for Witching, which goes on the extremely small list of two books I’ve read that have actually frightened me (the other being Stephen King’s It). 

What are you working on next? 

Nice segue—I’m working on a mystery that is very much an homage to Stephen King’s It. Small town, charismatic pastor leading what might be an evil megachurch, the “we have to go back” trope. It’s a very different book than Never Saw Me Coming, but fans that liked the character-driven sensibility of it should enjoy it. 

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