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  by Dee Gentle
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity

October 2006 Issue

 

Witchy Women
Spotlight on Witch Featured Romance

Special Features

Publisher Spotlight: Silhouette Nocturne
Spook-Tacular Romance
 

Kim Harrison

The only girl in a large family of boys, former tomboy Kim Harrison invented the first Brigadier General Barbie in self-defense.  She shoots a very bad game of pool and rolls a very good game of dice.  When not at her keyboard, she enjoys lounging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn watching action movies with The-Guy-In-The-Leather-Jacket.  She plays her Ashiko drum when no one is listening, and is hard to find when the moon is new.  Currently she is hard at work on the next book of the Hollows.


An Interview with Kim Harrison

PNR: Have you always wanted to be a writer, what led you to pursue writing as a career?

Kim H.: While I was growing up, being a writer was the last profession I thought of pursuing.  Though I could put two sentences together, my grammar and spelling had a lot to be desired.  I took only the bare minimum of English classes in order to get my technical degree, which left me at a severe disadvantage when I finally did pick up the pen for the first time.  It was my voracious reading while growing up that was my saving grace, and I’m sure I developed my storytelling pattern from the SF and fantasy greats I cut my reading teeth on.

Dissatisfaction with two books in a row was initially why I started writing, and though my first scratchings were really bad, I found I loved the process and was hooked.  I’ve never looked back, and with the encouragement from a few key people, I kept at it until my skills started to meet my drive.

PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time?

Kim H.: My writing routine has changed as I’ve become more skilled at getting my thoughts down on paper, but a typical day lasts 6-10 hours, with up to two of them being devoted to the readers, be it mailing out promo items or signed books, updating the website, reading and responding to posts on my comments page, or monitoring my reader group on Yahoo!  The rest of my time is at the keyboard or, if I’m plotting or writing dialog, out with paper and pen on the deck.  Music and munchies fit in big on a daily basis.

Balancing work with home life has become increasingly more difficult, and I’ve found I need to schedule down-time or I’m likely to end up at the computer until ten at night, getting one last thing done. 

PNR: Who is your favorite author(s)? Who has most influenced your work?

Kim H.: My favorite author would be Ray Bradbury, but as for who I feel has most influenced my work?  That would be the greats in the SF/fantasy field when I was doing most of my reading.  Heinlein, McCaffrey, Jack L. Chalker, and when I was feeling daring, some Asimov.  There were a lot of fairytales in there, too.

PNR: It seems everyone has their own definition of “Dark Romance,” how would you define this sub-genre? Does your series fit this definition?

Kim H.: I’ve never considered my work to be Dark Romance.  Though romance fits well with the plotlines running book to book, calling it romance gives the relationships more importance than is truly warranted.  I prefer calling my work Dark Fantasy, or Contemporary Fantasy.  In my view, the books are slanted more to action, self-discovery, and character building.  There’s been a lot of cross-over appeal with the romance reader as there are many aspects to my work that a romance reader is typically looking for: a strong female protagonist, attention given to relationships, and a nice bit of bedroom play to keep it all interesting.

PNR: Rachel made her debut in 2004, and DEAD WITCH WALKING won the 2004 PEARL Award for Best Romantic Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel; you won the 2004 PEARL Award for Best New Author as well. As a follow-up, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UNDEAD won the 2005 PEARL Award for Best Romantic Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel.  The PEARL is a reader’s choice award, how does it feel to have such admiration and positive recognition for your work?

Kim H.: It feels pretty darn good.  ;-)  I love hearing from the readers as to how they react to my work.  I’m fully aware that the readers are a large reason the books took off so quickly.  One could say they gave me the means to do what I love, and I owe them a grateful acknowledgement for that.  It’s one of the reasons I’m so active on my website and reader site—it’s a way for me to say thank-you.

I would like to add that though I do pay attention to what I feel a reader is looking for in a good story, I never let that sway me from making tough decisions as to where the story should go.  Growth hurts, and I’m not going to sugar-coat the Hollows.  It’s a rough world, and for the characters to remain unhurt and static cheats the reader in the end.

PNR: Your work has been described as smart, witty and original, could you tell us about the development of your Rachel Morgan series? What are the challenges you face in your world building? Character development?

Kim H.: World building has been one of the areas that I have consciously worked on, leaning heavy on my editor, Diana Gill for guidance.  I’m still kind of going by feel, figuring out what works, and what doesn’t.  As for character development?  That’s my favorite part of the writing process.  That I populate my world with vampires, Weres, and witches doesn’t faze me at all.  They are people, with the same drives we all have, fleshed out and exaggerated under the flag of fantasy.

As for building the Rachel Morgan series?  It all started from a short story concerning three very diverse characters meeting by chance and coming together to solve a problem the best way they saw how.  Not much has changed.  The characters have taken over the plotlines, each story leading to the next in a comfortable, believable, and natural progression.  Though I know where the story is going, getting there is always a surprise, and that’s just the way I like it.

PNR: Your books feature a strong heroine that readers really connect to, would you describe your writing as female focused? What is Rachel’s appeal for readers?

Kim H.: I avoid describing my writing as being focused on females and their issues.  The series is from a woman’s point of view, and naturally has a female perspective, but her problems are the same as anyone.  She is struggling to get out from under The Boss.  She strives to make her own way in a world that is often prejudice.  She is slowly improving her life in a real and visible way.  She wants to be loved, and to love in return.  She’s willing to sacrifice for her friends, and is not about to take crap from anyone.  Saying that these issues are for women alone is ludicrous.  I write about people, not women.  And I think the romance reader is looking for just that.

PNR: Your books are fast paced and action filled, do you feel your writing is plot or character driven?

Kim H.: That is a really hard question for me.  The characters drive the story, and finding out what they are going to do next is a large part of what gets me to the keyboard every day.  But if I don’t have enough action, I get bored.  I would have to say that my work is character driven, but the characters are driven into action.

PNR: Your stories feature humans and Inderlanders, and blend a number of paranormal abilities and beings, is this challenging?

Kim H.: Challenging?  Yes.  Satisfying?  Most definitely.  I thoroughly enjoy developing the magic systems and the cultural framework for each species I detail out.  I’m finding that I like to take several books to slowly explore each species, and the demons are next.  Developing a new system is tricky, having to give enough framework to make sense without painting yourself in a corner, and I though I don’t do much research in terms of reading up on what other authors are doing, I do pay attention to the common myths, legends, and what Hollywood is putting on the big screen.  I’m sure my voracious reading of fairytales works its way into the mix, and my technical background tries to make everything logical.  The vampires were especially hard to develop as I wanted the hard and fast rules of the traditional vamps, but the limits that put on the books was too stifling for me.  Hence the evolution of the living vampires.    

PNR: Paranormal romance is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in the genre? What is your opinion on the raise in popularity in erotic paranormal fiction? How would you describe the “heat” level in your books?

Kim H.: I feel much of the recent popularity is coming from the greater acceptance for Wicca and alternative religions in general.  Hollywood takes some of the credit, since fantasy films have been doing great lately, and when you get down to it, paranormal romance usually has a fantasy theme in there somewhere.  I’m guessing that another, possibly the biggest, reason for the recent popularity, might be the high amount of bedroom play the genre will allow.  The taboo of reading about sex has seemed to have finally gone.  The paranormal genre is very flexible, allowing for all kinds of complications that lead to a good romp in the hay.

I don’t think I’ve read enough erotic paranormal fiction to even begin to guess what the level of heat is in my books, but for me, a good bedroom scene is as detailed as a good fight scene.  It starts from the first look and ends at the last exhausted smile.  I know where every hand is, and there’s a good bit of give and take.  So far, the bedroom play in the books has been between two people who love each other, some of it between a man and a woman, some of it between two women struggling to find a way to express themselves.  It’s this latter that has been the most intriguing for me to write, seeing as a good vampire bite scene technically isn’t sex, but if done well, it may as well be.

It is my sincere hope that the amount of sex allowed in the genre doesn’t backlash, beginning to overshadow the origins of the genre—fantastic storytelling with fascinating characters living lives we wished we had.

PNR: Readers cannot get enough of the dark world you have created, what are your plans for Rachel Morgan?

Kim H.: I don’t like to give out spoilers, so suffice to say I’ve got lots planned for Rachel.  The series is at a tentative nine right now, but I’m sure when I start writing the final three, the number of books will be evaluated and, if deemed proper, extended.  Book number six is on my desk right now, and I’m starting to plot out the seventh. 

PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Any new series in the works?

Kim H.: Lately I’ve been experimenting with different story lengths, and if all goes well, I will have a short story and another novella out soon based on characters of the Hollows.  There’s also a short story in the works targeting a new audience with a completely new universe, and I’m eager to get some feedback on it with the possibility of developing a second series.  If it happens, it does.  If not, it’s still a bang-up short story.

PNR: Thanks Kim, for taking the time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?

Kim H.: It has been my utmost pleasure!  Thank you so much for asking me.  I’m always available to answer short questions on my comments page at my website, www.kimharrison.net  I’m there every morning apart from weekends and holidays.  Or readers can stop in at the Yahoo! chat list, but don’t expect me to answer many writing related questions there.  It’s where I go to kick back and chat with the readers, piping up with a teaser now and again when someone hits really close to a future plot line.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured in this issue:

Witch themed Romance
Silhouette Nocturne
Spook-Tacular Romance

Interviews with:

 

 
Kim Harrison
Winner 2004 PEARL
Best New Author
 

Website

 Books

Yahoo
                   Group
 


Available Now

 
Buy it Now!
 
Harper Torch
June 27, 2006
ISBN #0060788194
464 pages
Paperback
 
Read the Reviews!

Rachel Morgan Series - #4

A FISTFUL OF CHARMS - The evil night things that prowl Cincinnati despise witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. Her new reputation for the dark arts is turning human and undead heads alike with the intent to possess, bed, and kill her -- not necessarily in that order.

Now a mortal lover who abandoned Rachel has returned, haunted by his secret past. And there are those who covet what Nick possesses -- savage beasts willing to destroy the Hollows and everyone in it if necessary.

Forced to keep a low profile or eternally suffer the wrath of a vengeful demon, Rachel must nevertheless act quickly. For the pack is gathering for the first time in millennia to ravage and to rule. And suddenly more than Rachel's soul is at stake.

Buy it Now!
 
Avon
April 1, 2006
ISBN #006085409X
416 pages
Paperback
 
Read the Reviews!

DATES FROM HELL - She thought her date was out of this world.
Actually, he was not of this world . . .

We've all been on bad dates, nightmare dates, dreadful experiences that turned out to be uniquely memorable in the very worst way. But at least our partners for these detestable evenings were more or less . . . human!

Now Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, and Lori Handeland -- four of the very best writers currently exploring the dangerous seduction of the supernatural -- offer up dating disasters (and unexpected delights) of a completely different sort: dark, wicked, paranormally sensual assignations with werewolves, demon lovers, and the romantically challenged undead. Sexy, witty, chilling, and altogether remarkable, here is proof positive that some love matches are made someplace other than heaven.

Honorable Mention
2005 PEARL
Best Science Fiction
Buy it Now!
 
Harper Torch
June 28, 2005
ISBN #006057299X
512 pages
Paperback
 
Read the Reviews!

Rachel Morgan Series - #3

EVERY WITCH WAY BUT DEAD There's no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who's already put her love life and her soul in dire jeopardy through her determined efforts to bring criminal night creatures to justice.

Between "runs," she has her hands full fending off the attentions of her blood-drinking partner, keeping a deadly secret from her backup, and resisting a hot new vamp suitor. Rachel must also take a stand in the war that's raging in the city's underworld, since she helped put away its former vampire kingpin -- and made a deal with a powerful demon to do so that could cost her an eternity of pain, torment, and degradation.

And now her dark "master" is coming to collect his due.

Winner 2005 PEARL
Best Science Fiction
Buy it Now!
 
Harper Torch
February 1, 2005
ISBN #0060572973
464 pages
Paperback
 
Read the Reviews!
 
Rachel Morgan Series - #2

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE DEAD - It's a tough life for witch Rachel Morgan, sexy, independent bounty hunter, prowling the darkest shadows of downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night.

She can handle the leather-clad vamps and even tangle with a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is definitely pressing the limits.

Confronting an ancient, implacable evil is more than just child's play -- and this time, Rachel will be lucky to escape with her very soul.

Winner 2004 PEARL
Best Science Fiction
Buy it Now!
 
Harper Torch
May 1, 2004
ISBN #0060572965
432 pages
Paperback
 
Read the Reviews!
 
Rachel Morgan Series - #1

DEAD WITCH WALKING - All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party ... and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining -- and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead ... or undead.

All book synopsizes are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.



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