Yesteray I shared with you the first part of my recent interview with author Kim Harrison, in which she discussed the upcoming final books in her bestselling urban fantasy series The Hollows. Today I have for you the second and final part of our interview, in which Harrison offers more insight into The Hollows' ending, and discusses her next graphic novel, Blood Crime. Read what she had to tell me after the jump.
In addition to the final books in The Hollows, you're working on another graphic nove right now…
Yes, Blood Crime will be out this December. It's got the same artist, Gemma Magno, and I'm really pleased. She did the coloring in the first one, Blood Work. Now she's doing the whole thing in Blood Crime. There's also a Hollows anthology called Into the Woods, which is the collection of the short stories and novels that have come out that revolve around the Hollows over the last couple of years. There's about three-hundred manuscript pages of brand new stuff, of completely different stories. I threw a bunch of stuff together to show my editor what I might like to do after The Hollows. And afterwards there's going to be an anthology, so it's not wasted work. But after I'd come up with it, I said, "I can come up with something better." [Laughs.] So that's when I went and wrote that extra manuscript. But Into the Woods is scheduled to come out in October, and I believe that's all I've got coming out this year.
What can you share about Blood Crime?
Blood Crime is a graphic novel from Ivy's point of view. She's Rachel's roommate. This takes place before the regular books. It's the year that Rachel and Ivy intern together at the IF, which is kind of a paranormal police force. Ivy's helping Rachel figure out the ropes. In this one, we actually see Ivy falling in love with Rachel. So it's been a lot of fun to write.
Outside of the Hollows books and graphic novels, you've also enjoyed literary success under your real name, as Dawn Cook. Could there be any more from you in this regard?
Well, Dawn Cook is with a different publisher, and I don't want to say those books are dead. But The Hollows has been so much more financially successful that Harper has really tied up my time, and it's doubtful I would ever get back to the Dawn Cook books to write any more. That and the Dawn Cook books are more traditional fantasy, not in an industrial setting. And I am just in love with the urban fantasy genre right now, where you've got the same fantasy creatures, but with computers and high-rises and subways. That's really where it's at for me. I've been enjoying myself immensely.
It somewhat brave of you to decide to end such a successful series as The Hollows at thirteen books. How difficult a choice was that? Did it seem a natural thing to do?
It was a natural progression. I've ended series before, and half the time it's because I wanted them to end, and half the time it's because something's pulled me in another direction. I'm glad that I'm going to be able to end The Hollows the way I want to, when I want to. If I went to my editor and said, "I have a great idea for three more books," I think we could extend the series out, no problem. But Rachel, I think I've taken her as a writer as far as I can; and it's time for me to stretch my writing in a different direction. I really can't do that in The Hollows. I need to step away and learn different techniques and different styles of writing, with different characters. Or else I'll just be writing Rachel over and over again. That gets boring for me, and if it's boring for me it's got to be boring for the reader. So it's been a natural progression, and now that I know where I'm going afterwards, I feel really good about it. I've got a great idea. It's still in the urban fantasy genre, and it's with a more mature character with different problems, and in a different state of her life. I'm looking forward to it, and I think the readers are too. It's surprising how often when I tell readers I'm ending the series they'll say, "Thank you." It's not because they're tired of Rachel. They're tired of seeing authors take a series too far. They get tired of it, and when the author gets tired of it, it's reflected in the book a lot. The readers feel it. They want their books to end satisfyingly, and that's what I'm aiming for with The Hollows.
To burn out, not fade away?
Do you already have the ending to Rachel's story in mind, and if so, can you say how long you've had that ending in your head?
I have seen the last chapter in my head for about five years. I know where she is and I know who's with her, I hope. That can change, but getting there, I have not plotted that out at all in my head. I won't until I actually get ready to sit down and write it. Probably in a month or two. That's the way I like it. I like working like that. I love to plot, but it gets in my way. I plot so much that it's a detriment at a certain point. And the surprises are getting fewer and farther between. So I try not to plan anything until I get write to the point where I need to, as far as book by book by book. But yeah, I've seen where she ends up, and it's a good place.
What writers are you reading right now?
I read Jocelynn Drake and Vicki Patterson. Both of these ladies have new series coming out that I've done cover quotes on, and I feel really lucky I got to read them before anybody else. Richard Kadrey, I like his characters, because they're always nitty-gritty. I like to read Brom. He has a new one coming out as well soon. Brom's mostly known for his artwork, and he's done his own covers, which I'm insanely jealous over. [Laughs.] But I like reading Brom because he's very lyrical, very fairy tale-ish, and that appeals to me almost as much as the nitty-gritty, down-to-earth stuff. So I do have a few favorite authors that I like to read. They're mostly in the urban fantasy genre.
What is it that you're especially drawn to in urban fantasy, as opposed to fantasy overall?
I love the idea of finding magic in the everyday. You can walk down the street – and I do this sometimes – say, "Oh, he's a werewolf. She's a werewolf. Now that's a vampire." Our world is awfully boring unless you make it exciting, and urban fantasy is a safe way to make things more exciting. It's a rollercoaster. We get on a rollercoaster knowing we're going to be scared, but also knowing we're going to be able to get off at the end and be safe. Urban fantasy to me is like that. It's a wild ride through magic and danger, but you know you're going to be okay.
Were you into monsters growing up?
No, not really. But going back to Ray Bradbury – if you look at his work, some of his work especially Dandelion Wine, which is my favorite – no one would ever say that that's fantasy or that there are monsters in it. But if you look at it, he's finding monsters in the everyday. Some of the characters can be terrifying, especially if you're fourteen, like I was when I read them. He was finding the fantasy and the monsters next door. That's basically what urban fantasy is.
In real life, what's your greatest fear?
What wakes me up in the middle of the night would be a bad elevator dream. That's my fear – bad elevators that don't behave themselves. [Laughs.]
Thanks for your time, Kim.