Kim is announced and I catch her coming down the aisle to my left. She's smiling and waving as she steps up to the podium. We are all frozen, holding our breathes and no one is making a sound, it's like we were hypnotized from looking directly at her, wtf is wrong with all of us, someone move!!! Kim's husband announces, " It's ok, you can clap, lol ", and here's us, " Oh! OK, clapping, hu hu.. " As Kim begins to speak, blood rushes through me with excitement. Oh boy, here we go! Kim thanks everyone for coming and says they will start with the Q & A and end with the raffle. The prize is a custom tote bag! Weeeee! Kim's husband had accompanied her down the aisle and had his camera, and the raffle totes in hand. We begin with the questions:
Ok, so I was still trying to get my head out of my ass, and was fumbling with my recorder when the first question was asked, so I missed exactly how the question was asked, all I know is it had something to do with the camp Rachel and Trent were in as children. Sorry, so this is me guessing at the actual question...
Q: Will Rachel ever remember details about her time in the camp as a child with Trent?
Kim: I was really using it as a back story to how Rachel and Trent were really meant for each other and now that it has become very obvious, I really don't need to go back into it. Rachel really doesn't remember a whole lot, Trent is kinda bumpy, it will open up new threads and I closed them up, so probably not. I really thought this book, The Witch with no Name was my last say...it is not!
I was done with the rewrite and I said, " I'm not quite done yet", and Al said, " Yes, I know ". So Al is going to get the last word. There is a very short story coming out, it's like 16 pages, as an ebook, probably in October, I mean, they're really hammering on it. It's called Sudden Back Track.
Q: Back in the elevator at Trent's compound, Trent tells her he's never lied to her, except maybe once, I think it was more than once...
Kim: At the time that I wrote that, I couldn't actually remember when he had. So I was covering my base by throwing that in there. I'm still waiting for the person that comes up to me with their book and says, " Mrs. Harrison, he lied right here, right here, and here". So far nobody's done that. Oh, you found some (laughing).
Q: Jenks is my favorite character, he's so random, how did you come up with the idea of Jenks?
Kim: Jenks was my way of trying as a writer to have Rachel not talking to herself.
Q: Ciri and Pierce, did you intend for them to go out like that?
Kim: Ciri was a very happy accident. I didn't expect her at all, she kinda stepped out behind that tombstone, that's when you first meet her, oops, their goes my outline, laughing... So when we got to the crux of it, and I realized she wasn't really adding anything more to the story, her role was kinda introducing Rachel to the bad part of the Elves and also the teachings that she gave to Rachel, and when I didn't need that anymore, or Rachel had moved passed it, she wasn't doing anything unfortunately, except cluttering up where I wanted to go, and unfortunately that is why Ciri had to leave.
I took her out with Pierce, because again, his part was done, and they had worked together before, so it wasn't like I was breaking new ground or with a precedent, that's why they went out together. Oh, and the reason I didn't show the actual conflict was 1: the book is first person and I really couldn't, and 2: I didn't want to make those deaths become the crux of the book.
Q: Were you directly involved with the choosing of the narrator, Margaret Gavin?
Kim: Isn't she good? She was in a stable, I was allowed to hear three or four narrators, and I picked Ms. Gavin because I liked the way she handled Jenks. She was the only one who gave him some cred. Everybody else had him talking like this, ( Mickey Mouse impression ), and I was like, that's not Jenks! Sorry, but that is just not Jenks. The Outlaw Demon Wails, when we have that other narrator, she did a good job, but Ms. Gavin is the voice of the Hollows. The switching of narrators happened because Harper originally had the books produced out of house, and then they brought them in house, and wanted to use their own narrator. That's why we got all those weird pronunciations, and then there was such an uproar that we had to get Ms. Gavin contracted for the rest of them.
Ya, let me just add, to the narrator of said book we are talking about, REALLY?! Ley line, L E E line, I mean, come on! Would it have killed you to listen to ONE book that Margaret Gavin did to see how the names and words were pronounced?! OR Takata, you butchered that name so badly, I wanted to end you myself!
Q: Did you get to visit the tunnels when you were in Cincinnati?
Kim: I did! They opened it up special just for me. There's a little video out on it. I'm hoping that they release more than that because we spent two days down there. My first impressions were of course the smell, I got right, with the dusty cement smell was humified. You could still hear the traffic, going overhead, but it was muffled, and silent, and apart. Very apart from everything else, I mean one minute your in the city, then you go down a few steps, and your gone. It was very cool.
Q: As A writer, how do you decide which method you use to write, do you use an outline of some sort?
Kim: I'm going to preface this with, everybody writes different, and even authors who have a very successful way of writing will not always use the same method on every book, and I found that is kinda how I am. I've got a method that I like, but if it doesn't work I will try something else. I am a religious plotter, I love to plot. It's the Ivy in me coming out, laughing...I can't write a thing unless I know where I'm going, so I will have a page for every chapter of what we're doing, where we're going, what we're going to see, and then when I'm ready to write that chapter I will write the dialog down really fast, usually on the computer, and I'll take that as my backbone and then I will write the chapter, and doing that, I can produce quite a bit.
As long as I don't try to go back and re-write, I just have to just keep pushing forward. But then there is this Rachel side of me, and I will get to a certain point usually, it's about page 100 on the manuscript, and about 300, where all these little things have come together, and it's changed where the books going, because I like surprises, I will through my outline out and follow that new trail, and that's where I have to decide if what I'm doing is working or not working, but I will also re-write my outline. Everything I write by the seat of my pants is the last chapter, and by the way, the last chapter in this was a complete surprise. They were suppose to end up on a beach and that IS NOT what happens, laughing... So I like what happened a lot better.
Q: What is next for you?
Kim: What is next! YAY! I'm stepping away from the Hollows, completely. I'm stepping into a new universe. The really short version of it would be Bourne Identity meets Minority Report. It's faster, it's quicker, it's almost thrillerish. I'm stepping away from the vampires and witches as well. I'm using the idea of accelerated science to replace the magic, if your science is so far out there it looks like magic, that's kinda what I'm going for.
My characters I'm working with are Perry and Jack. I don't want to say to much because my editor hasn't seen it yet, he's going to see it...later. Perry picks up kind of where Rachel is leaving off, she's at the top of her game, she knows who she is. She's got a high profile, exciting job, she's got a sexy man next to her, who knows what he's doing and he's smart, intelligent, and they work really well together, and then I go to page 9, laughing... and it all falls apart. It's Perry's past that catches up her rather than her bad decision and I am so excited to be working with her. I loved working with Rachel, but I needed something different to stretch my writing muscles.
Q: Do you know the timing of the new book being released?
Kim: I will know better once my editor has looked at it. It will probably be a year, maybe less. The manuscript is done, my big chunk of the work is done, so it's all up to the publishers.
Q: How did you go from a Biology major to becoming a writer?
Kim: I don't know, laughing... I don't like to say it just kinda happened, because that makes it sound easy, and it wasn't. I was working in a biology related field, vaguely, and it got down sized, and I ended up at home with two young kids, and the whole city was closing up because the employer was leaving. I decided to stay home with the boys, so I decided to start a family daycare. It worked really well, except I was a little nuts by the end of the day, laughing.... So I started writing to release some of that, and one hour turned into two hours, then turned into four hours on the weekends, and I got a lot of support from my husband, and my neighbors and eventually I found a writer critique group, and I think we're at year five now.
It was what I was really meant to do. My whole mind set is geared towards what you need to do to really become a writer. I read veraciously when I was growing up. Although I did not take any English classes, except what I had to, to graduate, I pulled a lot of plot and pacing, character development, and how to string books together into a successful series from the science fiction and fantasy writers of the late 70's, early 80's. If you look closely you can kinda see threads of my masters. So that's how it happened. Sounds like you write.
Q: Well, I'm a biology major, laughing...but I would like to write. I have all these ideas, but then I just don't where to go with it.
Kim: Ya, give it a go! My dad, he scratches his head, but you were a biology major! Why! But dad, I use it everyday! And I do, I do use my biology degree everyday.
Q: Where do you get your spells, the curses, the Elvin words from?
Kim: OK, the Elvin spells, the words, I made up. It just sounded right, tonashay, doesn't that sound right? Laughing... The demon curses and spells I pulled from a Latin source book. Latin's a weird language, I don't know how to speak it, and if you try to go from English to Latin back to English, it doesn't work, it's weird. So I would just pull the words for the spells themselves, as far as crafting them, I would spend five minutes online, and just kind of pull things from here and there, and look, oh I want to make a sleeping potion, so what herbs are good for sleep, and then I pull those out, worms, and moonbeams and whatnot and it would all go together, but then I would use my Biology background, to try and make it scientific, and it's ALL MADE UP, laughing...don't try to straighten your hair, you may not have any in the morning, laughing...
Q: How important is it to have good chemistry with your editor?
Kim: It makes all the difference between success and failure. For me it's very important. I have to be able to trust them, I have to believe that they know at least as much as I do, in order to give me good advice, and it's hard to know who to take good advice from, and that's a huge measure of trust. When you are in one of the " big 6 ", your editor is your champion. They are the ones that go out and say, " this is a great book, we have to get behind it, we need marketing to get behind it, we need to get the good artist ", and if they're not excited about it, the person two seats down is about their authors, and that's where the energy goes.
Q: Did your biology background influence your book with the tomato virus?
Kim: Absolutely. With that aspect of the book, with the T4 angle, absolutely. A lot! The Elves are falling apart because of a genome failure, the demons can't breed because their genomes have been damaged, the tomato took out half the human population.
It was also when I'm developing my species, like Jenks, he's a pixie, he's like an insect, he's got lots of kids, he's going to need a high energy source, he's going to eat nectar and pollen. He's going to have to hibernate, and migrate, so it all comes together.
Q: Who is your favorite author?
Kim: My favorite author? Ok I'm going to date myself. My favorite author from growing up is a toss up between Ray Bradbury, and Heinlein.
Q: Was it hard to kill off the characters that you loved?
Kim: That would depend on the character, laughing... No one has ever come to me and say, " why did you kill Pascari?!" Laughing... Or Nick, laughing... It was very hard to kill off Madelina, and Kisten, the pain is still there, but it is getting better. It is difficult, but I don't ever kill off characters just willy nilly, there's a reason, and if I can believe that reason, then it's it's not quite so hard.
Q: I know it didn't work out with CW picking up your book, is that something you ever plan on revisiting?
Kim: Probably not with CW. When we were talking with CW I don't believe we had a #1 yet. Now that we have had a #1 on the NY Times Best Seller, there might be a renewed interest. My agent is still fielding offers. Maybe next time I would like it to be handled a little bit more intelligently. Not that CW isn't intelligent, but they were just looking at this little card, and the Hollows is so much bigger than two women solving crimes. I really wasn't upset when it curled up and died. But if the right offer comes along, and I feel that measure of trust, you bet I would!
Looks like we are done with the questions, so I think it's time we give some cool stuff away! Crowd applauds and raises noise with excitement. Kim's husband proceeds to ask some trivia questions and the winners get a tour t-shirt. Then they moved onto the raffle. I was #77, and the first three numbers he called were like 55, 99, 11, so I was totally putting money down that I would win, right? No, I didn't win... but my friend Elecia won with the #78! It was so awesome, congrats Elecia!
Now that we are done with that, it's time for our " Family picture ", Kim announces. So, all the people who bought the tour t-shirt online during a limited time, was going to get their picture taken with Kim and the picture put on her blog. I did not purchase the tour shirt only because I knew I would be getting a picture with Kim anyways, cause I'm cool like that. Moving on now to get in line for the book signing. Now this kinda pissed some people off, so I'm not sure you want to run thangs like this, but who am I to tell you your business. If you bought Kim's new book at this store during the event, you received a " line ticket ". The line ticket gave you first dibs in line, and everyone else who didn't buy a book, had to wait til all of us who did buy a book was done. Sucks for you... Cause at each signing, we were able to sit down and talk to Kim as well as take photo's, so this took a while, you know what I'm saying! I bought the book because it was a first edition with the blue butterfly in it, ; ) AND I didn't want to have to wait that long in line.
While we waited our turn in line, Kim's husband entertained us with stories of Kim and her youth, how they met, how they spend their days together, and we got to ask him questions about Kim, ones that she might not tell! My question for him was, do you read her books? and do you like them? His answer was YES to both! He also passed out the Bunny Cam to the crowd, which raised the giggles and good times in the limbo of line waiting... I must say, Kim and her husband sure know how to entertain! They are so funny, and seem very comfortable in that roll.
Then, it was my turn coming up quick! Oh no! I have no clue what to talk to her about!! I have nothing, my mind is blank!! Frack it, I will just wing it, and wait for her to say something first. I had a chance to talk to the staff member that was there to take pictures for you, and I let her know it's ok to take LOTS of pictures, don't be shy, lol... The next few moments were so fast, I never saw it coming. I walked towards the chair next to Kim and she said " Hi, how are you? " I said, " Fine, how are you? " . I sit down and then boom! I just blurt out, no thought, or self control, all about my blog and how I would love for her see it when once I have this event up on it, and she says she would love to! Please email me when you do, you do have my email, right? Yes, I do. Then I pull my customized notepad out of my purse, the one that has my name, blog address and photo on it, and hand it to her, and I said, " So you don't forget me when I email you ". Kim hands me my books, and I say thank you and get up. I was handed my camera back and headed toward the door.
Now, I have no recollection of the pictures being taken, the feeling in my whole body, or any thought crossing my mind from the moment Kim said Hi. Is that what star struck means? You go stupid?! You leave your body and someone else takes over so you don't go limp and fall down? I obviously was breathing because I spoke but why did it feel like I was holding my breath? OMG I've been abducted! Should I go to a support group now, to piece together what has happened?! Oh, the trauma of it all, lol...gotta laugh or you will cry.
On my way out the door, I ran into this man, putting his contribution in the bucket for the local food bank.... Dam! I forgot my tomatoes!! Sorry Kim, I did buy some, just forgot them in all the excitement of you, lol...
For those of you who missed this event, sucks for you... It was awesome! Everyone came together with the commonality of Kim and her books. We all had a great time making new acquaintances, talking and sharing our love of books. Thank you for the memories Raleigh, and most of all a big THANK YOU to Kim Harrison.