JMW: Hello, this is Jean Marie Ward from BuzzyMag.com. With me today is Kim Harrison, the best-selling author of “The Hollows” and “The Peri Reed Chronicles.” Welcome, Kim.
Kim Harrison: Thank you, it is great to be here.
JMW: We’re so glad to have you. But I do have to ask one question, it’s been bothering me for years, what have you got against tomatoes?
Kim Harrison: Nothing actually, except I can’t grow the darn things. I swore I would never, never do it again, but sure enough, I had some volunteers start up this spring, and I let them go, and they’ve taken over my yard. It’s like attack of the killer tomatoes. But really, I don’t have anything against tomatoes
JMW: They’re not genetically modified or anything?
Kim Harrison: No. Oh no.
JMW: Speaking of tomatoes, “The Turn,” which will be issued in paperback appropriately enough this Halloween, marks a return to the world of “The Hollows,” only 40 years earlier. What prompted you to tackle the birth of the world of “The Hollows,” after the series was completed?
Kim Harrison: Well, I had been dying for a long time to actually see when the Inderlanders came out, and how society might react to have all of a sudden they found out they weren’t alone, that there were other people here. And I also have been wanting to write a pandemic for a long time, seeing what happens when society falls apart. And this was my chance to do it. I had to set it in the 60s because I’d already said that that’s when the Turn was, and that opened the door to a lot of fun research.
JMW: And a lot of good music.
Kim Harrison: Oh my gosh, yes. Yes.
JMW: How difficult was it to shift from the urban fantasy world of “The Hollows,” to the near future world of Peri Reed, and then to come back again?
Kim Harrison: You know, it wasn’t as hard as you might think. The hardest part I had was trying to get the new technology for the Peri Reed world. Because I had to try to look ahead and see what we might have, and 9 times out of 10, I would say “Oh, what if I did this,” and then a week later I’d see, oh, they’re already working on it. So I had to look far ahead and extrapolate, but it wasn’t too hard overall to go back and forth, it’s just kind of how my mind works anyway.
JMW: And you’ve said that there’s a certain science basis to the urban fantasy, and vice versa.
Kim Harrison: Yes, yes. I love genetics, I love bringing science into my work. I actually have a four-year degree in science and technology, and that I pull on it every day. My dad says, “What are you doing writing books?” And I say, “Dad, I use it every single day.” So you know, it’s just how my mind works. I like things making sense, and it helps in the world-building a lot too.
JMW: Makes things plausible. You know when things will work or might work, and when they won’t.
Kim Harrison: Yes, exactly.
JMW: Cool. Speaking of the Peri Reed Chronicles, I confess I have a lot of sympathy for Peri. Time shifts, even small ones are hard, how do you keep everything straight in her world?
Kim Harrison: It was difficult, I will admit, it’s very difficult. Part of the problem was the Hollows books were all first person, it was very straightforward, it was one point of view, bang, bang, bang. It just flowed out, Peri’s third person, so I’m not only just bouncing around from time to time, I’m bouncing around in point of view, point of view, and it was extremely difficult for me to get back into that groove. I just… a lot of rewrites, a lot of rewrites, and a lot of going back and checking.
JMW: A lot of continuity checks I guess.
Kim Harrison: Yes, a lot of continuity checks. A lot of cut and paste.
JMW: Oh boy. Lately, you’ve been focusing on modern worlds, whether it’d be modern in terms of the 60s, modern in terms of the 90s to 2000s, modern in terms to near future. Do you ever feel the end to write more traditional fantasy as you did in your Dawn Cook alter ego?
Kim Harrison: No. Quite honestly, as soon as I started writing urban fantasy, and you know the same with the creatures that I’m familiar with in a modern day setting, I never looked back. It’s like this is where I belong, it suits me, duck to water. I really can’t imagine going back, and finishing it. And there’s a couple of stories that need finishing, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back to. I just love what I’m doing so much.
JMW: Yeah, mixing the science and the present and the myth. Yes. But speaking of departures, this is one where you actually like it, what’s this I hear about you writing a knitting book?
Kim Harrison: Yeah, I knit to stay sane. And the more elaborate my knitting gets, the more trouble I’m having with my regular work process. Can I show you my dragon?
JMW: Oh, please.
Kim Harrison: We’re at DragonCon when we’re filming this so I had to bring my dragon. This is my dragon.
JMW: Oh, yes.
Kim Harrison: I came up with the pattern actually for this, and he is hand-knitted by me. I actually have his older sister is up for auction, so I’m very curious to see how that happens. But it’s DragonCon, and everybody needs to bring their dragon, right?
JMW: Yes. You took that pattern from scratch?
Kim Harrison: Yes, it took me all summer to figure it out.
JMW: So, what was the writer’s blog that inspired that?
Kim Harrison: I don’t ever talk about it, thank you very much.
JMW: So it basically the knitting is relief. And..
Kim Harrison: Yes, but I actually use it a lot, because one of my characters in the past was a dragon. I have also knitted dolls of Trent, and Rachel, and Ivy. I’m currently working up a doll named Renee because she’s one of my main characters in my work in progress. And it’s kind of nice, because a good doll takes about two or three weeks, and while I’m knitting I’m thinking about what she likes, what she doesn’t, what her personality is, what she likes to wear. So it’s very Zen-like to sit and knit and pearl and knit pearl.
JMW: Yeah, I can see the knitting pearl being Zen, but thinking of all the increases, decreases, the shaping of those little paws.
JMW: So can you give us a hint about what you’re working on now, other than Renee?
Kim Harrison: Yes. I’m working on a new urban fantasy. It doesn’t take place in the Hollows, but it has everything the Hollows readers likes, with the female protagonist, the bad boy, good guy, lots of paranormal creatures, takes place in the present day, and it’s kind of like next level, very next level.
JMW: Oh, when can we expect to see that?
Kim Harrison: I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea. I have fallen in love with this so much, that it’s like not ready to let it go. I gotta keep working on it.
JMW: Oh well, we’ll be looking forward to it. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Kim Harrison: No, thank you. That’s about it.
JMW: Well, thank you for joining us. And thank you for BuzzyMag.com.
Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including art books, novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr), and short stories such as WSFA Small Press Award finalist “Lord Bai’s Discovery” and “Personal Demons” in the award-winning anthology Hellebore and Rue. Her videos include author interviews and tutorials.