Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on urban fantasy author Kim Harrison. My first question to you, Kim, is can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
My name is Kim Harrison, and I’m best known for writing the long-running, urban fantasy series, The Hollows, but I’ve also written YA, traditional fantasy, accelerated-science thriller, and even scripted a couple of graphic novels. I’ve been a full-time writer for about twenty-five years, having gotten my start in traditional publishing back in the early 2000s. A good day for me is still one with nothing to distract me from the keyboard.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
My work is available through all the usual outlets, be it paper or ebook, but I have cultivated a great relationship with my local store to provide signed copies, and whereas everyone loves Amazon, there’s nothing like supporting your local store.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I have a great online presence, and can be found at the following sites: https://kimharrison.net/ https://www.facebook.com/KimHarrisonsHollows?ref=ts https://twitter.com/BurningBunnies Signed copies are at Nicola’s: http://www.nicolasbooks.com/kim-harrison
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
My next release is Million Dollar Demon this June 14, and I’m currently working on the next book in the Hollows series.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
Now that my kids are grown and out of the house, I have had the time to indulge in many out-of-office hobbies, all of them heavy on stimulating the senses. I bake when it’s cold. When it’s warm, I can be found in the garden focused on creating living spaces for wildlife in my city lot, (sometimes too much wildlife) I knit, going beyond the basics to create my own patterns for dragons and gargoyles. Most recently I have begun to learn how to quilt. The one thing all my outside passions seem to share is that they are tactile with lots of color, texture, taste, or smell. Sitting at a desk for hours at a time robs me of that, and I make a point to indulge my tactile creativity for several hours a day if only to keep me balanced.
What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?
My office space has evolved over the years from a desk at my kitchen wall, to a free-standing gazebo in the middle of my backyard. I made a point to be able to write anywhere, having written an entire manuscript while living on a sailboat and several others from an RV in Tucson, but I have to admit that the gazebo in my backyard is my favorite place to write. I’ve spent a lot of effort to make it pleasant, having an ergonomic keyboard and a kneeling chair to help keep my back in line and my wrists moving smoothly. Something I regret the most is the loss of paper copyedits and page proofs as it gave me the chance to get out of my office for a couple of weeks, but all things change.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
When it comes to music, it depends on what I’m doing. Ninety percent of the time, I have soft, no-lyric, almost subliminal music playing in my office. It’s the sort of tonal music you might hear at a planetarium. The other ten percent is divided between silence, and, when I’m stuck or developing a new character, 90’s grunge and alternative rock—played loudly, which might be why my office is in the middle of my backyard.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
I have two four-legged office assistants, a thirteen-year-old chi named Aleix, and (at the time of writing this) an eight-month-old Xolo named Toch (rhymes with watch.) Toch is a huge distraction, but we knew that going in, and he is (was) a Godsend in keeping me focused on good things during the 2020 pandemic. His breed benefits from lots of early, food-based training, and our adventures in stubborn meets inventive insistence might well show up in a manuscript someday.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
I’m a tea drinker, so I’ve always got a cup on my desk. Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of ways to keep it hot, but I’ve had days where it goes cold and forgotten when the muse is strong. I also have what I laughingly call “author chow,” which is any dry, bland cereal with a handful of almonds. My ultimate favorite snack at my desk is Cheez-its, which is why I don’t allow them in the house anymore.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that while skill and techniques are absolutely necessary, and contacts such as an agent or writing group make it easier, luck plays its part in finding not just publication, but what most people call “success.” To be able to quit your day job and subsist on earnings from your work is definitely a measure of success, but that number-one position on the NY Times list or the movie deal is so fleeting and rare that it shouldn’t be deemed a measure of skill or talent. Success is finding the right word, the clever turn of phrase. It’s discovering “how” after spending all day knocking your head into your keyboard. But having both hit that number one spot as well as watching my career crash and burn from taking a chance at something new, I have begun to define success as closing down your computer at the end of the day with a feeling of satisfaction.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Kim!