Interview with Kim Harrison, author of 'The Drafter' & '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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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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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

A: My ideas form slowly, over the course of years, and most of my series plots are developed by taking two or three of these “I wonder if” concepts and mashing them up together. The setting is almost as important as the characters, and I’ll often research a city and gain ideas there as well. But what I look for most is that the ideas touch upon something that can be experienced, be it joyful, such as finding an enduring love, or painful, 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 some of the same 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 unique skill destroys her memory, and though she occasionally regains it, she is incredibly reliant upon those she trusts. Her power is tempered by the vulnerabilities an Alzheimer’s patient deals with every day. I wanted to say that those dealing with memory issues are still important, still worth considering, still part of society.

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

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

A: It was incredibly difficult to divorce myself from the heartbreak of working with a protagonist who suffers repeated memory loss. I’ve delved into writing drug addicts, emotionally abused adults, and psychotic killers, but this one was the worst. The creative process demands you put yourself in another person’s skin, and the emotions I had to deal with had a tendency to linger longer than usual after I left my office. Alzheimer’s is an ugly, selfish disease, but I’m trying to find understanding with it through my main character, and there is a peace in living day to day with what is before you right now.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

A: I’m currently published through Gallery Books, which is an imprint of Simon and Schuster. I was fortunate enough to have been coming off the successful Hollows series with Harper Collins when I began shopping the Peri Reed Chronicles, and I was in the unusual situation of being able to choose who I wanted to work with.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

A: My first book? No. I was utterly naive and expected that if you tried hard and never gave up that someone would recognize you and publish your book. My view is somewhat different now, and I realize how incredibly lucky I was back in 99 when self-publishing wasn’t a viable option, and New York held the keys to the published word.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

A: 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 I like working ahead of my publishing schedule.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

A: I have quite a few outlets to remain in contact with my readers. Signing up for my blog is probably the most sure, but I’ll answer questions on FB as well. I’m more active on FB, but they don’t share much anymore and getting notices is chancy. My website is a great place for information on past and present projects.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

A: Seriously? I love this question, and it’s funny you should ask. My routine takes a good fifteen minutes as compared to my husband, who just, you know, goes to bed, usually after me. I check the fish to be sure I fed them, otherwise they eat their friends in the night. I take my dogs out for one last sniff under the stars. While outside, I check my office door to make sure it’s locked, and then that the gates are shut to keep the skunks out of the yard. A quick spin through the kitchen to make sure nothing is left out, and then it’s upstairs where I usually spend a good half hour turning my mind off with Su-do-ku. Otherwise, I spend the night plotting.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

A: I’ve given up trying to explain what my work means. I only know what it means to me. Everyone comes away with something different, and even that can depend upon what he or she is dealing with. Where one reader might be exasperated with a facet of my protagonist’s nature, another might find a kindred spirit, seeing their mother, father, sister, or brother in her. But that is the nature of it, and I’d have it no other way.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

A: Just thank you for the chance to chat with your readers, and I hope they give my work a try. There are several novellas out right now that make it easy and without out the commitment of an entire book. Sideswiped and Waylaid.
I have quite a few outlets to remain in contact with my readers. Signing up for my blog is probably the most sure, but I’ll answer questions on FB as well. I’m more active on FB, but they don’t share much anymore and getting notices is chancy. My website is a great place for information on past and present projects.

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