Gillian Flynn, best-selling author

Women's Impact Report 2012: Creatives

Former Entertainment Weekly TV critic Gillian Flynn hit gold with her third novel, “Gone Girl,” a surprise summer hit that has sold more than 600,000 hardcover and e-book copies and is sitting at No. 3 on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction. The suspense novel, about a dysfunctional marriage and a disappearance that rocks a small town, was optioned by Fox in July in a $1.5 million deal, with Flynn writing the screenplay and Reese Witherspoon set to produce and star.

What we should know: “You never know the number of hours you don’t spend writing and the hours you spend in your head just going over the story. As long as you’re thinking about doing something, you don’t have to be chained to your desk. Writing can be tedious and boring, and I think it’s the people who can push through that that are successful.”

Words of wisdom: “To keep writing. To read all the time, and to keep writing, and don’t assume that because you’ve hit writer’s block it isn’t worthwhile. Give yourself the room to roam around in a story and not necessarily be trapped in what you think the outline is, cause if you’re writing a good book you’re going to stray from the outline.”

Smartphone habits: “I take it with me on vacation but I hardly turn it on. We have a 2-year-old who often stays with a grandma so we like to be in touch, but not that much in touch.”

Life-work balance: “I don’t know that there is a key to it. I think most people who try to balance work and family don’t feel like they’re ever getting it right, no matter what they’re doing, and maybe that’s the key to it, realizing to put forth the effort and to forgive yourself if you feel torn between two places. And take the time to enjoy each one, if you’re lucky to have work you love and a family, that’s a very good problem to have.”

Charitable passion: “We give to Nature Conservancy every year. Maintaining some sense of the natural world today is very important to me, and keeping and preserving wild places, and places to roam, and places that aren’t taken over by people is an important goal to me.”

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