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Former Harvard soccer player, mother, advocate, and now writer, Susie has penned Raised a Warrior, with a tagline that reads “One Woman’s Soccer Odyssey”.
You seem so nice.
This is something people often say to bestselling thriller writer Lisa Unger upon meeting her. It seems strange that people should be surprised, considering her books are no more violent than the usual psychological thriller. They’re not gory, they’re not showy. So why do some feel so baffled that she is writing violence that is none too different to that of her male counterparts?
You already know the answer, as does Lisa Unger. In fact, when asked about why she writes about violence against women in her books, she responded, “I’ll stop writing about it when it stops happening.”
Lisa Unger has made a name for herself as a prolific author, with her most famous novel being In the Blood, a book which Kirkus Reviews called a “scary winner from an accomplished pro”, and which went on to be a Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Mystery & Thriller 2014, and winner of the Silver Falchion Award for Best Novel in the Crime Thriller category.
Despite this, Ms. Unger has had her own encounters with sexism constantly.
At ThrillerFest XIV, Unger shared a personal story with moderator Karin Slaughter and the audience, regarding an incident that took place while Unger worked an event with author James Hall.
A little background: James Hall is an American author and professor from Florida. Author of eighteen novels, four books of poetry, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays, James Hall is not only a successful writer, but a good man. The same could not be said about a particular fan of his, however.
At a book signing with James Hall, Ms. Unger was working as a moderator when a male member of the audience dismissed her, saying “I don’t read books by women”.
A year later, Ms. Unger was at her own signing at the same bookstore when she spied a man in the audience staring her down. They made eye contact, and he seemed to look right through her.
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Ms. Unger noticed that the man had a large bag at his side…
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When the show was over, the man was still there, still staring at her. His eyes were fixed on her.
Creepy much? Ms. Unger, who was understandably disturbed by the man’s presence, said she felt particularly uncomfortable because “women feel vulnerable in a way men do not”.
As the event came to an end, the man’s eyes stayed fixed on her. While everyone else shuffled out, he remained.
You can image the fear when Unger felt when she found herself alone with this man. The man rose, picking up his bag and approached her.
It was then that the man revealed that he was the audience member from the year before and, since then, had read all her books. The bag was full of each and every book she had every written.
Now a fan of hers, he asked her to sign them.
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