I “sat down” with Kelly and had her answer a few questions. Please make sure to hang around after the interview for info and an excerpt from Blood Soup!
Please tell me a little about yourself:
So, where are you from?
I live on the East Coast, always have and probably always will. You can’t take me away from my ocean!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? This probably sounds like a cliché, but I’ve always wanted to write. I was penning novels in grade school.
I harangued my parents continually for an electric typewriter. (Typing was so hard on my parents’ manual Royal!) I finally got my typewriter for my 12th birthday. That’s when I really started churning out the words: no more longhand for me!
I’ve had a few career detours along the way, first as newspaper reporter, now in the tech industry. But I continued to write even then as I do now.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
First I get a vodka martini then find a good book to read.
What is the hardest part of writing?
For me, the hardest part of writing is telling my internal editor to “Shut up!” when I’m trying to get something down on paper. Things always change on the second draft, and again after my critique group gets through with it. I know that I don’t have to be perfect, yet, I always strive for that.
I could probably write twice as much if I could turn off the editor while I work.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I don’t think I had the satisfaction of proving that to the world until I had my first newspaper piece published: I was 14, working as a stringer—sort of a free-lance reporter—for one of my local papers.
What got you interested/started in writing?
I have always a reader…my mother taught me and my brother and sister to read before we entered school. I was the one who would yell, “Just one more page!” when told to go to bed…or sat huddled under the covers with a flashlight. I just couldn’t get enough.
I believe that writing just became a natural extension of that.
How long have you been writing?
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
This is a tough one. I’m waffling between Terry Brooks and Carole Nelson Douglas. As a pre-teen, I read many books by each of them over and over again.
If you had to pick the moment that inspired you to write a fantasy—what would it be?
A librarian steered me toward fantasy novels when I was in elementary school. It would have to be then.
Who is your favorite fantasy author?
Do I have to pick a favorite? I have favorite authors of steam punk, of medieval fantasy, of quest stories, etc. There are several different authors who reach those niche areas I love to read so much.
How about a list of favorites? Alan Campbell, obviously is a new favorite, Kim Harrison, Katherine Kurtz, David Eddings, and of course, Terry Brooks and Carole Nelson Douglas. I also like Edward Eager and lately I’ve been gobbling up Jenny Nimmo’s Charlie Bone books – I arrived late at that party.
What are you reading now?
I just finished today, The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. I’m concurrently reading Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison; Buy Jupiter and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov; and I’m re-reading Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series in anticipation of her new novel, The White Road.
What new author has grasped your interest?
Definitely Alan Campbell. I couldn’t put down Scar Night…Book 1 of the Codex Trilogy. I devoured it in only a few days.
Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?
More information about me and what I write can be found on my Website/blog: http://kellyaharmon.com
I’m also on Twitter and enjoy hooking up with people there: @kellyaharmon
Thanks for having me today!
Thanks so much for being here today! Now, as promised, a blurb and excerpt from Blood Soup!
A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.
King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.
When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?
Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death.
“You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.
She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”
Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.
“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”
“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.
“Kill her now,” said Theodicar.
Salvagia looked stricken.
“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.
“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”