CHICAGOANS OF THE YEAR: BOOKS

Breakout puts author Gillian Flynn on the go, go, go

Author Gillian Flynn

Author Gillian Flynn (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune / December 27, 2012)

A year ago this time, Gillian Flynn was just another former Entertainment Weekly TV critic turned Chicago author of murder-mysteries who lived in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood and had already sold film rights to her first two novels ("Dark Places" and "Sharp Objects"). You know? C'mon, do something with yourself, sister! Then June arrived, and so did Flynn's blockbuster novel "Gone Girl."

Flynn, 41, not only became the literary story of Chicago, she became the literary breakout of the year.

Know how you can tell?

She lives just two miles from where the story you're reading was to be typed up in early December. But, with her screenplay adaptation of "Gone Girl" — about a bad marriage turned twisted (then turned demented) — expected in less than 48 hours by Twentieth Century Fox (which paid a reported $1.5 million for the film rights), and her publisher expecting her to keep up the publicity push for "Gone Girl" (which spent eight weeks at No. 1 on The New York Times best-sellers list), she sent a flurry of emails that read, frankly, frantic.

She answered her phone on the first ring: "Hi! Thought you were a telemarketer! Then I was like, no, wait!"

"So, Gillian," I said, "how'd your year go?"

"Pret-ty, pret-ty good! Started off quiet and wintry. 'Gone Girl' was done, and there was that strange space between a book being turned in and (it) meeting the world, and then, yeah — freight train ever since."

Indeed, book aside: Reese Witherspoon signed on to produce and maybe star in a movie adaptation. Amy Adams agreed to star in "Dark Places"; Jason Blum, creator of the "Paranormal Activity" series, decided to make "Sharp Objects."

"How's the screenplay going?" I asked.

"So close to being sent to the studio. They want it in high gear. I am the only thing holding up progress."

"Actually, this is."

"The world would have gotten a 'Gone Girl' movie an hour sooner were it not for this conversation!"

"Director yet?"

"Not touching that," she said.

"How many copies sold?"

"E-book and print: 2 million."

"More e-book than print?"

"Yup."

"How do you feel about that?"

"Not touching that," she said.

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