TweetKathleen Harryman lives in York, England with her husband, two daughters and family dog and cat. Kathleen has always enjoyed reading, and grew up reading Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. Such stories have fueled Kathleen’s imagination, allowing her now to write her own stories.
What is your latest book?
My latest book is called When Darkness Falls This is my second novel after The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, which was more of a suspense than a psychological thriller like my second book.
With both my books the genre really chose me.
I never really set out to write suspense, or psychological thrillers; however, I find that that is where my writing leads me.
What I like about this particular genre is the questions that it raises. I find human nature very intriguing; why do we act so differently to the same situation. Is it nature or nurture that makes us act the way we do? This in its self opens up a huge debate.
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
Yes, I am currently writing a two-part book.
What I wanted to do here was look at things firstly from the killer’s perspective, take it ten years later when killing starts again, and look at it from the police/detective’s perspective.
I am hopeful that the first book in this duo will be out early 2018. (I’d better get writing!).
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Lots of times. That’s beauty of writing. I always have an idea of what I want the characters to be like, and then all of a sudden, they will do something completely out of character that will take me by surprise. I think this keeps the characters real. I know I can relate to this.
It also makes the story more interesting for the writer, as you have to look for ways out of the situation that your characters have gone themselves, and you into.
Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
I definitely write my scenes in order, this keeps the story flowing for me. I also feel that it also allows the characters to develop more. I think I would find it hard writing out of order and then piecing it back together.
I like to have some understanding of how the book is going to end. The setting has more flexibility, but the ending for me is very important, as I tend to work up to this; bringing everything together. However, when I’d finished When Darkness Falls and finished editing, I found that there was something missing, so added the Epilogue. Looking back, and from the reviews I’ve received, I’d made the right decision.
The title I’m not always so stringent with.
I changed the title of both The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, and When Darkness Falls, a few times before I felt that it was right for the book.
Yes. It sounds strange doesn’t it. But I find that these characters add a lot of depth to the story and give it meaning. We don’t like everyone we meet in life, for one reason or another, and for a book to connect there always has to be a character, or two that you’re not going to like. To me it keeps the story real, and that’s important.
The strangest part about writing a book from the killer’s perspective, is that they haven’t been written to be liked; however, I still needed the reader to understand them, and though they may not agree with their methods (given that she’s a serial killer), it does help to create some likeability towards the character.
What are the three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
My three things would be:
- Smile more. Smiles are infectious, if you’re smiling chances are you’ll pass that smile onto someone else. Being happy has got to make the world, better, right?
- Kindness; it doesn’t take much. Sometimes we all just seem to spend too much time rushing around, that we never stop, and think about our own actions, and how they affect other. Being kind isn’t about some great big gesture. Opening a door for someone; picking something up that has been dropped, or a simple ‘hello’ can make a huge difference on our general wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us.
- This one is a bit radical, but what would happen if for one day only, we put away our mobile devices and actually talked face to face. Went for a coffee, or a drink. I sometimes think that communication is getting lost as quickly as technology advances. A day away from the whole world. A day spent in great company not worrying about missing a text or the anything, could in the long run make us happier, and the world a slightly better place to be. I did say it was radical…
What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?
When our main computer went bang, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with my writing. My husband came home and gave me an apple. I looked at him with a blank look on my face (I wasn’t hungry). After a bit, I think he took pity on me, and gave me an Apple Mac computer. I cannot tell you how much difference that one gift has made; huge. I even think I’m getting a little more techno, but don’t tell my kids, I swear they were born with a computer in their little hands.
Definitely the coolest present for me, ever.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I have always loved to make up stories. When I was very young I would pretend that I was an author, and that I had written lots of books.
I absolutely love writing and creating a story. Seeing the story come to life is a wonderful experience. It’s like being transported into another world, and watching the scenes unravel.
The hard part for me was finding out if I was capable of projecting my story enough to make other people love it as much as I do.
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
Synopses are so hard. In a few short lines, you have to sum up hundreds of pages of writing. That’s really hard to do.
Evil? Yes, it’s definitely like taking a trip to the dark side.
The hardest part of writing is the synopsis. You have to consider what can be left out, and what needs to be left in. A lot happens in a book, and all of a sudden you have to make someone want to consider your full manuscript in a few words. How do you do that?
It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? And in some respects that is exactly what it feels like.
A manuscript could be rejected, not because it isn’t any good, but because the synopsis isn’t selling the manuscript. A synopsis is a very important selling tool.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
A cover design is what makes a book stand out, and is as important as the story within.
The book cover is what everyone is going to see first. It gives that appeal factor, and without words, invites someone to pick it up. This is the hard part. A story can’t sell itself, it needs a cover to say ‘look at me’ and ‘come on, you know you’re interested’. Then comes the blurb at the back of the book to entice the reader even more.
I had a lot of input regarding both my book covers and I’m completely blown away with how they’ve turned out.
Care to brag about your family?
I have an absolutely wonderful family. I have two sisters, one of which is my identical twin. I tell my two daughters that a sister is the best friend they will ever have.
I had so much fun growing up, and it’s always great knowing that I have two sisters to share those times, and to reminisce with.
To me, family is one of the most important things in life. With family, you are never truly alone, even if they don’t always get you, I know that they love me. Pretty special eh!
If you had a million dollars to give to charity, how would you allot the funds?
My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer; thankfully they caught it early and were able to operate and remove it. He is still undergoing treatment, but things are looking really good, and the doctors and everyone are really pleased with how he is doing. Until then didn’t really appreciate what a wonderful job the cancer charities do. So, I would probably split the money between the different cancer charities and those for animal welfare.
I love animals, and I’m a real softie when it comes to their welfare. It makes me really sad to see them being mistreated, or near to extinction, or removed from their natural habitat, which is why I would split the other half of the million to give to animal welfare.
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
I would really love to be able to speak another language, and admire anyone that is multilingual. This is definitely a skill I would love to poses.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I have family dog, and my biggest peeve are dog owners that don’t clean up after their dog.
When my eldest daughter was four she fell over and got covered in dog poo, simply because an irresponsible owner hadn’t cleaned up after their dog.
Things like this shouldn’t be happening. We now even have dog bins to throw our dog poo in, so there is no excuse.
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
I love the stars, and the early morning before everyone wakes up.
I get up super early in a morning 3:30am, and it is just a lovely time of the day, the birds are chirping, and I’ve seen the odd fox and deer. I even saw an owl one day. I said “Hello gorgeous” to him, he was that close. He flew off of course, but did say “T’you too” or that’s what it sounded like to me. It’s a pleasure worth smiling over.
CONNECT WITH KATHLEEN