Texas Book Festival Book Club

August 2021

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From the TBF Archive: We Are All the Same in the Dark

Just in time for the paperback release of  We Are All the Same in the Dark by Texas author Julia Heaberlin, TBF will rebroadcast the November 11 conversation with Julia from Texas Book Festival 2020

It’s been a decade since Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody handprint behind. Her pretty face still hangs like a watchful queen on the posters on the walls around town. They all promise the same thing: We will find you. Meanwhile, her brother, Wyatt, lives in the desolation of the old family house, cleared of wrongdoing but tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion and in a new documentary about the crime.

When Wyatt finds a lost girl dumped in a field of dandelions, making silent wishes, he believes she is a sign. The town’s youngest cop, Odette Tucker, believes she is a catalyst that will ignite a seething town still waiting for its own missing girl to come home. But Odette can’t look away. She shares a wound that won’t close with the mute, one-eyed mystery girl. And she is haunted by her own history with the missing Tru.

Desperate to solve both cases, Odette fights to save the lost girl in the present and to dig up the shocking truth about a fateful night in the past—the night her friend disappeared, the night that inspired her to become a cop, the night that wrote them all a role in the town’s dark, violent mythology.We Are All the Same in the DarkWe Are All the Same in the Dark

About the Contributor

Julia Heaberlin is the author of the critically acclaimed We Are All the Same in the Dark, Black-Eyed Susans, a USA Today and Times (UK) bestseller. Her psychological thrillers, including Paper Ghosts (finalist for the ITW Thriller Award), Playing Dead, and Lie Still, have been sold in more than twenty countries. Heaberlin is an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Detroit News, and the Dallas Morning News. She grew up in Texas and lives with her family near Dallas/Fort Worth. Author photo: Jill Johnson

Q&A with the Author

Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?
My thrillers almost always begin with a tiny visual, usually a character who won’t leave my head. For We Are All The Same In The Dark, it was a mystery girl with one eye, mute, blowing dandelions in a field outside a small Texas town. The scene felt gritty, like a true crime novel. But I knew nothing about girls with one eye. So I began to research. I met a few remarkable girls and women with prosthetic eyes so perfect they can keep it a secret. Their stories changed the course of the book, inspired two fierce heroines, and also redefined how I see physical beauty and strength.
What's the last book you read, loved, and can't stop recommending? Why is it so good?
The Silence of the Lambs. I decided to dissect Thomas Harris’s masterpiece as my own private pandemic writing class. I last read it many years ago lying on a blanket on a bright summer day with kids laughing down the street, wondering how it could make my heart thump. In the years since, I’ve watched the movie three times but never read the book again. It turns out it’s the best thriller I’ve read since I read it the first time. The intellectual cat and mouse of the dialogue, the way Harris cuts off chapters three pages before you want him to, the psychological insight into an unforgettable monster and vulnerable, brave young heroine. The Silence of the Lambs is not just a treatise on good vs. evil, but on feminism, which I missed the first time around. And it was written more than thirty years ago. By a man.
What's the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?
The first book I remember being read to me was Little House in the Big Woods while my brother and I curled up on either side of our mother. The first book I remember reading was From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, checked out from our small-town Texas library (my mother was a volunteer with a key so I could wander after hours like it was my little bookstore). The Mixed-Up Files was the first mystery that made an impression on me. I still want to sneak into the Met for an overnight and live off coins from its fountain. The first book I remember dog-earing was Anne of Green Gables, who is a kickass Texan at heart. It was given to me by my aunt, who died much younger than she should have. I still have that book.