Interview with author Karen Harrington:
All that said, the character and talents of Mariah was really a literary device to allow the reader to travel into the past.
KH: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or drawing. Now that I’ve been doing it so long, I get in a funk if days go by and I haven’t written something so I suppose that is one reason I write. But like most creative people, I most enjoy creating a new story, seeing where it will go and what will happen.
GW: How did your plot and characters develop? (Organically, or did you do an outline first?)
KH: The process for JANEOLOGY was unlike any other piece I’ve worked on because it was two separate story ideas that just decided overnight (without consulting me) to get together and become one. I was writing one story about a man who is afraid of his wife after she has a mental breakdown, comes home and finds a cryptic scary message written out with Scrabble letters and knows she’s been in the house. This story was the result of a Stephen King website prompt that suggested thinking up a common conflict and then flip-flopping the genders or races. I thought about a man stalking his ex, then I switched sexes. At the same time, I had another idea brewing about writing about a character from the perspective of her genealogy. I had loosely plotted out both story ideas. The genealogy story plan was easy because I used the pedigree chart for my own family to sketch out dates, times and locations for fictional characters.
GW: What's your writing routine like?
KH: My routine is only a routine in that it’s dictated by when my girls are at home. If they are out of school, I write at night. But when they are in school, I write from about ten in the morning until two.
GW: Have you sought agent representation?
KH: Yes, but I don’t yet have an agent and would really love to gain representation soon. (If you are an agent reading this, well, my you are very good-looking!) We’ll see if that helps. Seriously, my goal is to get an agent and I’m working hard right now to do research, query and contact agents. I once worked as an intern for a Dallas literary agent and I know how hard they work and how dedicated they are to helping get good books out there. I have a lot of respect for them and realize that getting one is a bit like conception – everything has to line up just right and it won’t work if one or both parties just aren’t in the mood.
KH: I’m in that writer’s vortex where I’m still promoting JANEOLOGY, trying to sell the next book, PRODIGAL SON, and writing a new book that features Jane’s daughter, Sarah, as she comes of age one summer. It’s a weird place to be in because your creative energies are so divided between being in that pitching/marketing mode and the storytelling mode. Sometimes I forget which story I’m supposed to be talking about. That’s a good problem though!
Since I always like to participate in National Novel Writing Month each November (which I highly recommend to all writers) I hope to sketch out an outline for a new novel that I can work on. I have an idea about writing how an adulterous affair impacts a marriage and alternate the chapters between the entire love triangle.
GW: Any regrets with JANEOLOGY?
KH: No way! I’m still thrilled to have an ISBN. Of course, there are flaws in the book that I will probably continue to edit in my head for the rest of my life, but I am still so excited that I even have a book.
GW: Tell us something juicy or strange I didn't ask about in connection with being an author, the book, your publisher or whatever.
**Thanks, Karen! Readers, if you're looking for a different and fascinating summer book, check out JANEOLOGY. You won't regret it.