CHICAGOANS OF THE YEAR: BOOKS

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

"Diplomatically …"

"Diplomatically — at least people are buying books."

"Any 'Gone Girl' ancillary products?"

"Action figures? No."

"A line of diaries for sociopaths?"

"We should get that started!"

Flynn is pragmatic. She wrote for a human-resources trade magazine for a while ("I know a weird amount about work-life balance and the Family and Medical Leave Act," she said). She wanted to be a writer and came to Northwestern University in 1996 to study journalism, left for New York, then moved back to Chicago in 2006. She had just returned home from making appearances for her book, she said. She had agreed to a lot of library visits.

"What could people still possibly want to know about you?" I asked.

"I have things to say, man! I get why authors lose themselves in the speaking circuit. It's a great feeling to talk to people who like books. But I've also had people wait in line a half hour (to get) a book signed, then say: 'I hated the ending.' Do I sign an apology? Actually, I have done that."

"A friend of mine hated the ending," I said.

"They're in good company. I didn't write the ending thinking it would be divisive."

"Does that bother you?"

"I would rather they love it all. The worst is people who say they hated the ending and it colored how they felt about the entire thing. But then there are the people who say they hated the ending because it didn't give them what they wanted to see. I love that. I love 'Rosemary's Baby' — endings that go 'And then Satan was born into the world. The end.' Bye! Mic drop! Boom! I like being denied the easy treat, the obvious finish."

"Are you going to stay in Chicago?"

"Yeah."

"People say that, but then, how many times can you run into John Cusack before you get restless?"

"I hope a lot!" she said. "No, my husband (attorney Brett Nolan) is a Chicagoan. We've planted roots here. (They have a 2-year-old son.) Chicago was the first big city I saw as a kid. I remember driving here on a family vacation, seeing the skyline, having a weird thrill and unease. I had never seen a place like it. I grew up watching Siskel and Ebert. I was never the kid who dreamed of LA. Chicago was the making-it-big city."

"Honored to be a Chicagoan of the Year?"

"Incredibly. Makes me feel officially Chicago," Flynn said. "It's nice to feel claimed."

cborrelli@tribune.com

Twitter @borrelli

CHICAGO
Best songs of 2014 so far

More music

More