CHAT WITH KATHLEEN HARRYMAN

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Kathleen 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 The Other Side Of The Looking Glass This is my first novel, and has been published by Austin Macauley Publisher in London.

The book is a thriller based in the City of York in England, it is a story about mistaken identity, mystery and true love.

LookingGlassHow did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

The book definitely dictated the genre. And I have to say I had great fun writing it.

One of my favorite characters is Liam Thornton, who hires a hit-man to kill anyone who gets in his way. He really isn’t a nice person, which was really fun, because he would say and do things which are completely alien to me.

I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

Yes, definitely! I am so excited to confirm that I have just signed a contract with Austin Macauley Publishers for a second book.

The book is called When Darkness Falls and is thriller.

This book is very different from my first book as it is about a woman serial killer.

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, as 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 bringing it back together.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

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.

The title I’m not always so stringent with. I changed the title of The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, a few times before I felt that it was right for the book.

Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?

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.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I have to say that I feel very privileged and amazingly lucky as I only ever sent my manuscript to one publisher and they were happy to publish it.

Like everyone else when I sent in my first three chapters and a synopsis off to the publishers, I was preparing myself for a rejection. I had read so many stories about how very successful authors had received a number of rejection letters before being published; that it almost felt inevitable, that I would receive one as well. In some respects, I think I was building up my defenses in readiness for a rejection.

This is why I say I was incredibly lucky to find the right publisher for my book on the first attempt.

For Austin Macauley Publishers to agree to publish my work in the first instance, it was just so wonderful. There are still times when I just can’t believe how lucky I am.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 6.10.17 PMAt BBC Radio York with Ross Dickinson

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

Feedback is so important to an author. It’s is also a very frightening thing as well.

A lady came up me to recently and said how much she had enjoyed reading my book. It was great to hear her talk about the characters as if they were real, and that she had loved the style the book had been written in.

I was so pleased, that she had connected with the story and the characters. It was a huge compliment.

KathleenReaderSigning Books at WHSmith

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, its 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 is what is going to make someone 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 my book cover for The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, and am completely blown away with how it turned out. I love it.

Care to brag about your family?

I have an absolutely wonderful family. I have two sisters, one of which is my identical twin, and I tell my two daughters that a sister is the best friend that 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 reminisce over.

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 please 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 pooh, 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 pooh 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. It’s a pleasure worth smiling over.

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