Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Violent Femme: Nicola Griffith Spills the Beans about Stay, Her New Novel Starring Kick-Ass Lesbian Crime Fighter Aud Torvingen. (Books)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Violent Femme: Nicola Griffith Spills the Beans about Stay, Her New Novel Starring Kick-Ass Lesbian Crime Fighter Aud Torvingen. (Books)

Article excerpt

Sleek, sexy, and decidedly dangerous, Aud (rhymes with "shroud") Torvingen is everything a suspense novel heroine should be. Despite-or perhaps because of--her lust for violence, the freelance crime fighter won over readers of Nicola Griffith's The Blue Place in 1998. Now Aud's back, and she's as feral as ever.

"She has ice around her," her creator admits, speaking to The Advocate from her home in Seattle. "She was never designed as a figure that you look up to. She's this close to being a sociopath. [In The Blue Place] she's one of those scary people, like religious zealots, who believe they're absolutely right. She really believes that other people are imperfect copies of herself."

The ice cracks and melts in Griffith's latest novel, Stay, out in April from Doubleday. It finds Aud hiding from the world in an Appalachian cabin, still tormented by the death of her lover, which closed The Blue Place. She dwells endlessly on the issues other action heroes always seem to skip over--self-hate, recrimination, and moral questioning. It takes a vanished acquaintance, a sociopathic department store designer, and a child-trafficking ring to bring Aud back into the world.

"I realized about halfway through The Blue Place that I was going to have to write more about this woman. It was clear to me all of a sudden that she was beginning on this huge journey--basically, the journey we all make growing up," Griffith says. "And I knew I couldn't leave her the way I'd left her. It was a brutal thing I'd done to her, taking her sweetie and her whole vision of herself away at once. …

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