Lori Rader-Day interviews Hallie for the Chicago Review of Books

“A Motive of Not Wanting to Spark Joy”



You might know the name Ephron — yes, the dynasty: mother and father screenwriters and four daughters, all writers — but if you’re a crime fiction reader, the Ephron of note is Hallie. Hallie Ephron is a New York Times-bestselling author and a perennial honoree during crime fiction award season. In her talented family of origin she was the obedient one, the sister who took decades to try her hand at writing. In the community of mystery writers and readers, she needs no qualifier. She’s the one who helps budding crime authors tune up their craft, and she writes a hell of a story.

Ephron’s novels are hyper-contemporary, engaging with our very of-the-moment fears about family life and the modern world. In her latest, Careful What You Wish For, Ephron has written what might just be the first crime fiction novel to “spark joy” by inciting terror in the decluttering industry. (Think Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up crossed with Storage Wars plus, well, murder.) Careful What You Wish For is a tidy novel without a lot of subplots or loose threads. What it’s likely to spark is a night or two up past a civilized bedtime.

I talked to Ephron about the origins of her novel, her advice for dealing with a pack rat, and what sparks joy for her. Read more…