Monday, April 25, 2016

Interview with Kim Harrison, author of The Drafter and Waylaid

Kim Harrison, author of the New York Times #1 best selling Hollows series, was born in Detroit and lived most her her life within an easy drive.  After gaining her bachelors in the sciences, she moved to South Carolina, where she remained until recently returning to Michigan because she missed the snow.  She's currently working on the Peri Reed Chronicles, and when not at her desk, Kim is most likely to be found landscaping her new/old Victorian home, in the garden, or out on the links.

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About the Books:

Title: The Drafter
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 560
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Sci Fi/Fantasy

Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her to use her body as a weapon, Peri Reed is a renegade on the run. Don’t forgive and never forget has always been Peri’s creed. But her day job makes it difficult: she is a drafter, possessed of a rare, invaluable skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote. When Peri discovers her name is on a list of corrupt operatives, she realizes that her own life has been manipulated by the agency. Her memory of the previous three years erased, she joins forces with a mysterious rogue soldier in a deadly race to piece together the truth about her fateful final task. Her motto has always been only to kill those who kill her first. But with nothing but intuition to guide her, will she have to break her own rule to survive?

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About the Book:

Title: Waylaid
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: Pocket Star
Pages: 100
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Romance

Worlds collide when Rachel Morgan of The Hollows meets Peri Reed of The Drafter, in this exciting new short story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison!

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Thanks for this interview, Kim. 
Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

I'm Kim Harrison, best known for penning the best-selling Hollows series, though I've tried my hand at YA, traditional fantasy, graphic novels, and a one-of-a-kind world book. I grew up reading science fiction and fairytales, which means my fairy garden has Daleks in it. Recently, I've moved back to my home state of Michigan after a ten year stint down in South Carolina, and it feels good to be home--even with the snow and cold. I've been traditionally published for almost twenty years, and a good day is still one where there is nothing to distract me from my keyboard.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

At a recent family reunion, my aunt pinned me in a corner, demanding to know how I had time to landscape a tired yard, knit five baskets for Easter, walk the dog, rake the leaves, and still have time to write nine to five. My answer? Everything out of my office is therapy, and it’s true! Writing can be so mentally taxing that at the end of the work day, I’m very eager to dig into some of life’s daily challenges, seeing it as a relief, not a chore.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

I’m fortunate enough to write for a living, but before that, I worked a wide variety of jobs including chaperoning an experimental fiber through production, (where I learned to type) ran a licensed family day care, (where I learned how to work with stubborn individuals) and even ran live animal trap lines for tag and release for two years, (where I learned how to stick with something tedious and hard for a distant end goal.)

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

After fifteen years of being traditionally published, I’m lucky to have over two dozen books on the shelf, almost half of them having been very well received on the New York Times list. The Drafter marked a shift in genre for me from urban fantasy to a character-oriented, sf thriller, and though this is where my heart is, enough of my readers failed to make the jump with this first book that it has become the most difficult book for me to get pushed through the system, more heart breaking and depressing than the five years spent getting my first book published. I don’t expect any of my books from here on out to be easy, but if you go into this profession looking for a quick buck, you’re doing it wrong. You do it because you have a story to tell, and that hasn’t changed.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

We are all broken in one way or another, but we do not need to be “fixed” to live beautiful, productive lives.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

Every book is one of a kind, even when they explore the same themes and follow the same directions as others out there. It’s the characters, not the plot or theme that make a book unique.

But from a more nuts-and-bolts view, I’ve never heard of anyone mixing rewriting time with memory loss framed by a strong nod to espionage. There’s a unrequited love in there too, which keeps me happy even as I’m blowing up buildings and righting the wrongs.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

The Drafter would be filed under the 4th of July because it has a lot of bang and crash, lots of sparkle and excitement. The best stuff happens after dark, too.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

The Drafter is paced to be the first in a proposed trilogy, followed by The Operator, (November 2016) and The Agent after that.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

My story ideas generally evolve slowly over the course of years, making it hard to pinpoint the beginning of inspiration. Most of my series plots take two or three of these “I wonder if” concepts and mash them up together. I'm pulled to ideas that are experienced, be it joyful, such as finding an enduring love, or painful, such as in dealing with memory loss. The Drafter, incidentally, deals with both.

It’s no coincidence that the main character in The Drafter is dealing with similar issues as a person suffering from Alzheimer’s. I took Peri Reed’s coping techniques and a few of her gut reactions from the same. Her special skill destroys her memory, and though she occasionally regains it, she’s incredibly reliant upon those she trusts to keep her centered and herself. Her special ability make her very powerful, but it’s tempered by the vulnerabilities an Alzheimer’s patient deals with every day. I wrote The Drafter to say that those dealing with memory issues are still important, still worth considering, and still part of society.

Bu-u-u-ut, you can skip right over that and still enjoy it as an action thriller with a modified-human twist.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on the sequel to the thriller The Drafter, called The Operator, which is scheduled for a November 22, 2016 release. I’m also working on the rough draft for a fourteenth volume in the urban fantasy Hollows series which will probably come out in 2017. On my back burner, I'm beginning to collect the ideas and elements I want to work with on a third, utterly new volume that will have a more horror bent to it. I don't expect that to see the light of day for several years, but anything worth having takes time.

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