Speaking of NY Times bestselling authors who are no strangers to the Triangle area, Kim Harrison may be breaking our unofficial records with her third local stop in 18 months. She was here last March for The Undead Pool, and again last September for The Witch with No Name as she concluded her long-running “Hollows” urban fantasy series in high style. This time, Harrison will be in town to kick off a new SF thriller series called “The Peri Reed Chronicles” set in a future Detroit, where: “Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her to use her body as a weapon, Peri Reed is a renegade on the run. Don’t forgive and never forget has always been Peri’s creed. But her day job makes it difficult: she is a drafter, possessed of a rare, invaluable skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote. When Peri discovers her name is on a list of corrupt operatives, she realizes that her own life has been manipulated by the agency.” In book one, The Drafter, we step fully into a universe that Harrison first offered a glimpse into via the short story Sideswiped in August. It also marks change in publisher (from Harper Voyager to Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books and, read by January LaVoy, for Simon & Schuster Audio) for Harrison, and that in turn led to a significant change in mode of transportation for her upcoming book tour, which kicks off in Detroit (where else!) concurrent with The Drafter‘s September 1 publication date. Find out more about the series, that new mode of transport, and even some tour giveaways in Sharon Stogner’s third interview with Harrison for this column. Enjoy! And for those in NC, don’t miss Harrison at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books on Friday, September 4 at 7 pm, or at Charlotte’s Park Road Books on Saturday, September 5 at noon.
Interview by Sharon Stogner
Q: NC is glad to have you back, but this time it isn’t to promote a Rachel Morgan (The Hollows) book. You have a brand new series that begins with The Drafter. Would you tell us what kind of series this will be and what readers can expect?
I am delighted to be getting back to North Carolina for the release of The Drafter, and I can’t wait to start sharing Peri Reed with my long-time readers. Though The Drafter is more of a SF thriller than an urban fantasy, I think my readers are going to find a lot they enjoy. Science takes the place of magic, and there’s lots of room for developing relationships when things slow down. Unlike Rachel, Peri knows who she is and where she is going. She has her place in the world—until it comes crashing down right about page eight. Peri’s story is one of rebuilding, rather than striking out on one’s own.
Q: How long as Peri Reed been taking up space in your head and what kind of person is she?
I started working on Peri Reed even before I wrote that last Hollows book, but she wasn’t even a hint before that. She’s fairly new to me, but she and I share more than probably even Rachel. Don’t get me wrong. The last thing I want to do is become a special task agent. I’m very happy sitting at my desk every day. But we’re in a similar place in life, knowing who we are and what we need. I guess I was exploring what happens when that surety is taken away.
Q: Do you have an idea of how many books it will take to tell Peri’s story? Do you know how it will all end?
Peri’s story is a nicely balanced trilogy, and I’ve already got something I want to work on next. But that’s what I said about the Hollows, too. I’ve got an idea of how it’s going to end, sure, but eighty percent of the time, it gets tweaked as I’m writing that last book.
Q: The Hollows characters have been such a big part of your life for the last seven (?) years. Did they quietly and willingly take a seat in the back of your mind while you worked on The Drafter? Or did you have to duct tape their mouths shut so you could concentrate?
I think it’s been ten years, actually, and they went pretty quietly into the past when I took up The Drafter. Much of that is probably because I was able to end the series exactly the way I wanted to, both in number of books and content in that last novel. I truly enjoyed every minute of the Hollows, but Rachel found her happy ending and the story was done.
Q: Not only are you books a big hit, but your knitted dragon has become very popular. I hear you are giving one away at the end of The Drafter book tour and have put up a tutorial on your blog. Is it true that Peri Reed also knits?
I am giving one away! In fact, I just finished it this morning, though I might make a tiny Morse code scarf with the winner’s name on it to finish it off. The dragon is my own design, and it’s been great seeing it reproduced in other peoples’ handiwork. Peri Reed knits, not because I knit, but because I think it’s fascinating that I can openly bring pointy bits of wood through TSA lines. Knitting engages multiple parts of the brain from problem solving to creativity, promoting mental fitness as well as bringing a zen-like state to those who practice it regularly. It certainly helps me to disconnect from a stressful day at the desk. Making knitting an Opti approved stress relief activity for a highly trained special ops agent wasn’t for comic relief, but real science. Peri likes bringing her needles thorough TSA even more than I do.
Q: This book tour is unlike any you’ve done before because of…the tour bus! OMG, how did that come about? It is beautiful by the way. Did you ask for it or did the publisher surprise you with the idea?
Isn’t that a gorgeous bus? I’m hoping that we can get a picture or two with the readers in front of it. This was my publisher’s idea, and after several years of planes, cabs, and airport security, I’m more than ready to try out this new method of reaching readers.
Q: Thank you again for talking with us and for making two stops in NC. I plan on catching you at the Quail Ridge Book Store in Raleigh.
It was my pleasure talking to your readers, thank you, and I hope to see you at Quail Ridge.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Sharon Stogner is the co-creator of the quirky multi-media reviews and interviews site I Smell Sheep and a freelance editor though her Devil in the Details Editing Services. A stay at home mom for a 12 year old daughter and an 18 year old daughter (who will be going off to college in 2014) and married for 21 years, she has a BS in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill and a Masters in Microbiology from NCSU. She and her family currently live in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area of NC.