Tana French: biography
Irish writer Tana French makes great strides in the world of letters. The woman writes detective novels, describing criminals, victims, witnesses, and suspects in painstaking detail, as if she knew each character from inside. The first book published by the Irish woman created a big sensation, which made the author continue pursuing a writing career.
Childhood and youth
Tana was born in the spring of 1973 in Burlington, Vermont, USA. Her mother, Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi, was a housewife, and her father, David French, was an economist who worked on resource management for the developing world. Due to his job, the man often went on long business trips, and the family always followed him. So, the future writer spent her childhood in completely different countries with different cultures and traditions.
For a while, the French family lived in Malawi, Italy, Ireland, and other countries. Probably, Tana drew inspiration for creating books there, although, at that time, the girl had no idea that she would become a professional writer. After graduating from school, she moved to Dublin and entered Trinity College.
The woman said in an interview that from childhood, she leaned toward cinema and literature, participated in school plays, recited her own poems, and loved the attention of others. But at that time, the desire to act in films and work at the theater outweighed the scales, and the girl began to study acting.
Learning the basics of playing on the stage, the beginning actress gradually forgot about her former passion for writing. So, French plunged into the theater after graduation. In general, she worked at the local theater, occasionally appearing in films. But the roles there were so small that viewers did not notice Tana, and therefore, she did not receive the desired glory.
However, when French was 34 years old, her life turned upside down in an instant. In her spare time, Tana got the inspiration to write books in between auditions. Since childhood, the writer has read only crime novels and detective mystery stories. When it was the time to invent her own story, she chose a genre without hesitation.
In 2007, French’s credentials included the first book "In the Woods." It tells about detective Rob Ryan, who has never told anyone about the worst day of his childhood. The boy’s friends disappeared without a trace while playing in the woods. It was a miracle that Rob was found, although he did not understand anything and was stained with blood.
Having grown up, Rob realizes that the past is back. However, now he is a police officer who is investigating the murder of a 12-year-old girl in the same woods. He has no clues, except for some rumors and vague memories, which subsequently help the man to reveal the secret of the death of little Katy.
Tana, as well as her close friends, did not think that the first book would have such success. It became popular in Ireland and received rave reviews in other countries. They began to invite the novice writer to literary awards ceremonies, and since the author’s book became a bestseller in hardcover and paperback, it has been termed a 'dream debut.'
Over time, Tana’s first book did not decline in popularity. One million copies were sold for eight years, and since the hype did not subside for a long time, in 2015, the production studios Euston Films & Veritas decided to film the series. Soon the readers could watch the film adaptation of the novel. The author was also praised when Flavorwire included her book in their 50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950. The book was also recognized at the Edgar Awards in 2007 and the Anthony, Macavity, and Barry Awards in 2008.
Since the publication of the novel, readers have been looking forward to the next story. In the summer of 2008, French pleased her fans with a new book entitled "The Likeness." The detective officer investigating the murder plays the leading role again. When Cassie Maddox arrives at the crime scene, she discovers that the victim looks like her.
The police plan to take advantage of it to catch the criminal; they start rumors that the girl was allegedly saved. It would seem that everything is going well, but everyday law enforcement officers have more and more questions.
This book was also a success and immediately soared high on bestseller lists in different countries of the world, and even stayed firmly anchored on The New York Times Best Seller list for several months. According to the writer, she was inspired by Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History,” which proved that friendship could be too strong and occasionally led to murder.
After that, Tana took a writing break for a while. French's next novel was published only in the summer of 2010. Another detective story "Faithful Place" tells about two lovers who were not destined to be together. Over the years, the young man has become a policeman, and one day decides to find out why his beloved woman betrayed him. Then he learns a terrible truth which marks the beginning of awful events, which inadvertently affect his close people, including his beloved daughter.
Later, French published her books once every two years. In 2012, she released the novel “Broken Harbour," in 2014 "The Secret Place," and in 2016 the detective novel "The Trespasser." Tana was nominated for the Dublin Literary Award for the book "Broken Harbour."
It is worth mentioning that the title character of each book is a detective or a policeman investigating a complicated crime case involving murder or disappearance. During the investigation, they find out frightening facts, and the main character has a run of bad luck.
In 2018, French decided to change the standard plan of writing a book. So, the main character is not a detective but a victim in the thriller book “The Wych Elm," which shifted the point of view. The woman described the feelings of a person in need in painstaking detail again. Sometimes she comes to a dead end and does not know what to write. So, the author stops writing and takes a long walk. It helps her to clear her mind and continue the story with renewed vigor.
The writer has a happy personal life. The woman married an Irishman, and they have two daughters. There are no other details about French's husband on the Internet, and he is probably a low profile figure.
Although Tana was born in America, she has lived most of her life (since 1990) in Ireland. French considers Dublin to be her home, where she has settled with her family. So, the woman has American Italian dual citizenship.
Tana prefers not to publish photos on the covers of her books, and they usually print the title of the novel on a neutral background.
Tana French now
French continues to write detective novels. In 2019, another best-selling book “The Trespasser” was published. The author took the main characters from her book "The Secret Place." They officially became partners in the new book.
One day they go to a crime scene where a woman is murdered. They find a lot of strange things, exanimating the body. So, the more facts they check, the more surprises the detectives have.
This novel was a great success, as well as other books of the writer, and sold a lot of copies. While readers are sharing their impressions of the plot on the Internet, Tana already comes up with a new story.
At present, it's not know what net worth Tana French has.
- 2007 – In the Woods
- 2008 – The Likeness
- 2010 – Faithful Place
- 2012 – Broken Harbour
- 2014 – The Secret Place
- 2016 – The Trespasser
- 2018 – The Wych Elm