Wednesday, June 6, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, KATHLEEN HARSCH

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR OF "DREAMING DANGEROUSLY," KATHLEEN HARSCH


 

Hello Kathleen, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. It is a pleasure to have the chance to get to know more about you and your writing. First tell us about your newest novel and why you decided to write it.

I want to thank you, too for allowing me to do this! I'm so excited to tell you about my second novel, Darkness Descends, which is being released this month! It is Book Two of my Children of the Psi series.

In the first book, the reader is introduced to Cassie. Through her point of view, we learn about her secret - she is telepathic. Yet, when she discovers Will can also read minds, she does everything she can to keep it contained. Darkness Descends takes over about two weeks after the action in book one ends. Cassie is being haunted by a voice in her head, meanwhile Will finds out that someone else he knows has the ability to heal. His fascination with the source of their psychic abilities grows as Cassie seems to be hiding something from him again. Unknown to both of them, another teen with telekinetic abilities is following them. He recruits them to rescue his little sister, but he seems to have other, darker purposes as well. Darkness Descends introduces additional members of the Children of the Psi, a group of psychic teens with various abilities, who discover their origin and begin to work together against an unknown enemy.

When I wrote the first book, Dreaming Dangerously, it wasn't until the sixth or seventh draft that I decided that it would be part of a series. Darkness Descendsbecame a reality when I figured out a few things about my YA audience. First, most YA readers love to know there is more story available about the characters they have come to know and love. Second, once I realized this, I decided to spread the story arc out more to see where it would lead, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Will wanted to tell his story. He had things to say and conflicts to grapple with that began in the first book. In Darkness Descends, he tells us about his curiosities and the changes in his abilities since meeting Cassie. This is counterbalanced by his strong desire to protect Cassie, which stems from the death of his parents and the fact that Cassie almost died three times while trying to save other people. I explore the loss of his parents a little more; however, Will is not one to sit around and mope. He wants to get things done. He wants to find out who is mind-stalking Cassie, and he wants to take them down. Dreaming Dangerously had quite a bit of romance along with the action of the story, which I think appeals to more of a female audience, but I think Darkness Descends will broaden my audience to include a male audience as well.

Tell us about some of your hobbies, things you like to do in your spare time.

Spare time! What's that? Writing is my hobby for now. I'm a wife, mother of two and a language arts teacher. When I do have extra time, I love to dance, listen to music and cheer at my son's baseball games.

What is the one most rewarding thing in your life right now?

My two children, Danny and Erin. If they were not in my life, I would not have the emotional depth needed to be a good writer. I tried to write before I had children, and my writing was contrived. I don't believe this is true for every writer, but it is definitely true for me. My children constantly inspire me.

When reading for pleasure do you tend to stick to the same genre you write or do you like to read other genres as well?

I read a lot of fiction, all genres, except mysteries. For some reason I never really got into them. However, since I decided to write for YA, I have read many books in the teen market - from realistic fiction to paranormal fantasy and science fiction. If I like a writer or a particular writing style, I usually read all of the books by that author. I always have a book with me.

When was it that you realized writing was what you wanted to do with your life?

As a small child, I wrote stories. I remember learning how to type on my grandmother's manual type writer. It was very tedious and seemed to take forever because I didn't know where all the keys were, and I had to hit them really hard to get each letter printed on paper. I wrote lots of stories in school and poetry in high school. When I got to college, I should have majored in journalism, but I didn't. After a few colleges, I finally opted for an English degree and became a teacher. My students are the ones who kept telling me to write something for publication. When I got the idea for book one, Dreaming Dangerously, I decided to write until it was finished. It's sold over three hundred copies as of this interview.

When can we expect your next book out and can you give us a sneak peek?

I'm coming out with Darkness Descends this month. I'm not sure when the third book will be out, but either next summer or fall would be my guess. As I currently have it planned, I would say book three is Breakfast Club meets Heroes meets Frankenstein. Basically, a motley crew of genetically-altered teens use their psychic gifts to defeat their creator, who wants to use them for his own nefarious purposes. We meet most of these teens in books one and two of the Children of the Psi series. Psi is pronounced "sigh" and means "paranormal." I chose Children of the Psi as a series title because it's original and it sounds epic. I especially like when Will calls Cassie, "Psi Child."

Back in your high school career, who was the one teacher you would say made a profound difference in your life, if any?

It wasn't high school. It was junior high school, Mrs. Jordan, my 7th and 8th grade language arts teacher. She was this tall, elegant woman with white hair who carried herself with such grace and poise. She always wore suits, brightly colored ones, like aqua, salmon and yellow. Her heels and long nails always matched. Mrs. Jordan was a larger than life character to me, and she helped me to develop my mad grammar skills. She introduced me to Shakespeare, Anne Frank and S. E. Hinton, among many other great authors and poets. Mrs. Jordan always encouraged my writing and creative thinking. I will never forget her. Now, I teach at the same school (which is now a middle school) across the hallway from her old classroom. She's not there anymore, but she continues to inspire me. Whenever someone asks about a teacher who influenced me, I always think of her. I had other wonderful teachers, too.

What dreams do you have for future generations that you'd like to share with others?

I want future generations to treat each other with kindness and respect, to understand that everyone has something to offer society and people are more important than money and possessions. This is what I teach in my classroom, and this is what I've taught my two children. I hope they carry on this dream.

One off the board question I like to ask, is what are your views as far as 2012, and do you believe in the Mayan Calendar?

I laughed when I read this question. I think belief in the Mayan Calendar is a little wonky, but someone who doesn't have my same religious beliefs might think they are a bit wonky, too. It's an interesting, historical artifact, and one fictional authors are having a great deal of fun speculating about, but as far as the world ending on a particular date - who knows? Could there be massive global disaster? Sure, it's a possibility, but I grew up during the height of the Cold War in the 1980s when every single day it was possible the Soviets or the US would get in a snit about something and push a button that could blow up the world seven times over. I could also get into a car accident and die tomorrow, but I don't obsess about it.

Finally, do you have any advice you'd like to give to other aspring authors, also please leave us your links where we can find out more about you.

Keep writing! Research what you can about publishing and marketing, but the most important thing is to keep writing. Develop your craft. I know this is common advice that almost every writer gives, but it's excellent advice that I didn't listen to when I was younger.

Here are my links:

Twitter: @rockingteach
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drea...278124805539281 (Please visit and LIKE)
Amazon author page which lists all of my books: http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Hars...t_athr_dp_pel_1
Blog: http://www.kathleenharsch.blogspot.com/

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