Kelly A. Harmon is one of those ladies that I promise you will make you smile every single time you see her! She is bubbly and fun and always has an extra special giggle just for you! AND awesome spider jewlery!! I LOVE THIS CHICA! PLUS she is from Baltimore my hometown so she is a Old Bay Season Loving HON just like me!!!
I am currently ready Stoned in the City and am soooooo thrilled that it’s based in Baltimore AND that my beloved city is on the book cover!! Sigh! Look for more from this wonderful lady! I have tons of her swag including a beautiful TSHIRT!! Remember I #RandomSwag so LIKE HER PAGE, FOLLOW HER TWITTER, COMMENT ON THE BLOG and do SOMETHING creative! I may just send that lovely t-shirt to ya!!!
♥ Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl #NerdGirlOfficial
Amazon Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/l8r26py
When the Voices in Your Head Won’t Stop Talking
When the voices in your head won’t stop talking, it’s time to find a good psychiatrist—or write a book.
Sometimes, those voices take your writing in a direction you might not have planned on.
You writers out there will know what I mean.
I write dark fantasy, and swords and sorcery tales, and ghost stories. It’s my comfort zone. It’s what I enjoy reading.
A little over a year ago, a fully-developed character slipped inside my head—and she wouldn’t quit talking. Her name was Assumpta, and I knew she grew out of a conversation about old friends and lost acquaintances over dinner one night.
She demanded I write her story.
Assumpta grew up in Baltimore. She talks to ghosts—and demons—and she recovers lost items by dousing with a pendulum. She’s got a lot of spirit, and some gumption, and a bit of bravery when she needs it. She had a (mostly) normal childhood, raised by two parents—despite her mother being a devout Catholic and her father being an alcoholic.
But everything changed on her eighteenth birthday, when her father kicked her out of the house.
(It’s a long story.)
And kind of an interesting one, but it’s contemporary, and set in Baltimore. I didn’t want to write an urban fantasy!
But Assumpta just wouldn’t shut up.
So, I started writing her story, and things got more and more interesting. And I was learning a lot.
First, I learned that Assumpta, like many people, is wrestling with her faith in God. God’s rules are old, and we live in the modern world. How does all this stuff apply nowadays? Not only that, there’s no room in Catholicism for things like dousing, or pendulums, or even in acknowledging other traditions. The dogma says: Catholicism is the one true religion!
My character was taking me into really controversial territory. I didn’t want to go there…I knew that the mere mention of religion was going to turn off a lot of people. And I knew I’d have to work really hard with my editor to make sure that the book didn’t preach religion: either Catholicism or Paganism. And in order to get it right, I’d have to do a lot of research.
[Side note: I don’t like to do research. That probably sounds strange coming from a writer. But the fact is, I want to write. I don’t want to waste my time trying to figure something out. I just want to make stuff up and amuse myself in the process!]
But here I was having to do a lot of research about religions, mainly Catholicism and the Greek and Roman pantheons, and Paganism. There’s a rabbit hole I don’t want to fall down into again: there’s so much stuff to read and learn on the internet, and all of it was fascinating. I didn’t want to stop reading.
But Assumpta kept calling me back to write her story.
What she forgot to tell me at the very beginning when she suckered me into writing it, was that her story also included sex. Pretty hot sex, as it turns out—another little something I wasn’t prepared to write.
But what’s a poor writer to do? I couldn’t omit it. It was her story after all.
So, I wrote her story, hoping she’ll leave me alone afterward. That’s what a writer does when she hears the voices.
Kelly A. Harmon was born on the Baltimore Beltway at 120 miles-per-hour in the front seat of a Ford Mustang. In the wee hours of the morning, with rising humidity ready to swamp the day, she took her first breath of H&S baked bread, the tang of salt air coming off the harbor and the scent of Old Bay wafting out of McCormick’s. Baltimore was in her blood then, as it is now.
In the intervening years, she’s lived all over Maryland, written for local newspapers and beyond, and come home to Baltimore to write her Charm City Darkness series.
When the voices in her head leave her alone, she can be found haunting Enoch Pratt Library, roaming around Canton, or stopping by the Westminster Burying Grounds for a one-sided chat with Edgar Allan Poe.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m one of those cliched authors who was making up stories before she could write them down. I’ve played the “what if” game forever.
I don’t remember being inspired to write a book. It was just one of those things I took for granted as a kid. I was always writing, so I knew I would write books. I’d finished a few atrocious ones by the time I’d finished junior high, and then another few atrocious ones before I graduated from high school.
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Every book I read influences my writing in some way or another. All authors have strengths and weaknesses. When I admire a specific turn of phrase or intricate plot or emotional scene, I study it.
But Terry Brooks and Carole Nelson Douglas influenced me to write genre fiction. Terry Brooks knows how to weave a plot to keep you guessing. And he tells stories that you never want to end. Carole’s fantasy stories appealed to me on a more basic level–I was reading her in grade school. Who doesn’t love talking cats and strong barbarians? Dean Koontz is a favorite, too. I love his dark stuff.
And I can’t forget Poe! You can’t grow up in Baltimore and not absorb his influence. I consider him my major influence as far as “dark tales” are concerned.
Q. tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?
Assumpta feels like she just arrived in my head fully-formed one day, but she hasn’t been around for very long. She harangued me until I started telling her tale. After I got the first book out, she seemed to settle down some. But she might be here to stay for a while.
I’ve finished the third book in the Charm City Darkness series, but I’m not certain if I’m finished. I really like Jo, Assumpta’s Pagan best friend. I’ve started writing a book about her as the main character.
None of my other characters have plagued me like Assumpta. They arrive in my head with quiet dignity and wait patiently while I tell their tale…and then they move on.
Q. What motivates you to write?
No, actually, I write because I can’t NOT write. I’ve tried stopping, but the stories and the characters remain in my head. Writing their tales is the method I use to exorcize them. And I still played the what if game. It’s in my nature, another thing I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.
It’s a sickness. :)
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
For me, editing and cleaning up the work for publication are the hardest things to do. By the time I’ve addressed the editor’s notes and fixed all the problems, and groaned over the mistakes I’ve made that the proofreader has found, I’m already done with the story. My brain’s moved on to the next one.
Administrative tasks are pure torture. Bring on the creativity!
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn when I’m writing. Right now, I’m amazed at how things that appear to be so different on the surface, are so connected in unseen ways. It’s my subconscious doing all the work. I certain it’s helped me with my plotting, but I wish I could see these things before I sat down to write!
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! I love using dialogue as a springboard. Bits of overheard conversation are a great starting point for a book. I like visual stimulus, too. I’ve been known to stare out my window for hours. The scenery might not change all that much, but what moves by does. And even in this rural part of the state, there are subtle differences that spur ideas. Newspapers are another great resource–even for medieval tales!
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
I don’t ask!
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write.
Read widely-not just in the style or genre that you want to write in, but outside of it, too. Fiction and non-fiction. Write every day. The only way to get better is to practice. So carve out daily time: it will build a habit for the days when you don’t want to write at all.
Q. What book(s) are you reading now?
I’m never just reading one book. I always have a couple going at one time.
For non-fiction, I’m currently working my way through Terry Brooks’ Lessons from a Writing Life: Sometimes the Magic Works. I’ve read it before, but I like to re-read the sections on plotting when I’m noodling out a new story.
I’m also reading An Exorcist Tells His Story by Gabriele Amorth. Father Amorth is famous for his success during exorcisms and goes into great detail in the book, describing what the demons say and how they act. It’s taking me a long time to read because I chiefly read in the evenings and I’m finding it rather frightening!
Fictionwise, I’m devouring Cat Miller’s Unbound, and The Morrigna, the first book in the Maurin Kincaide series by Rachel Rawlings. When it’s time to read, I have a difficult choice which one to pick up, they’re both so good!
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Kelly and I at Ukazoo Books, Towson MD
Rachel Rawlings, Kelly and I at Ukazoo Books, Towson MD
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