This past weekend, I spent two long days at the east coast’s biggest annual nerdfest: New York Comic Con. This year, I had the opportunity to interview the lovely Kim Harrison, Urban Fantasy author of the New York Times Bestselling Hollows series, the Madison Avery YA series, and the Truth and Princess books under the pseudonym Dawn Cook!
As Kim Harrison is one of my favorite authors and her Rachel Morgan series is one of my top 3 favorite Urban Fantasy series’ of all time, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with her in person and ask her some of my burning questions about the forthcoming Rachel Morgan book A Perfect Blood, the recent release of the worldbuilding compendium The Hollows Insider, and her first graphic novel (also set in the Hollows universe) Blood Work.
First up, I asked Kim about the very book she was signing – The Hollows Insider, which is a non-linear collection of memos, spells, illustrations, and other Hollows related items that flesh out Rachel Morgan’s Cincinnati and the world of The Hollows. When asked about how the writing process compared for writing her usual Hollows books versus this guidebook/dossier of sorts, and if in the process she came across any holes in worldbuilding or missing threads, Kim said (with a grin of relief) that she was glad to find that there actually weren’t any huge glaring discontinuities or problems – but she did have to reread her series from the beginning to refresh herself. Though she did say that she knows of two errors/typos that have made it into the final Insider book, any inconsistencies can be handily blamed on Devin (the narrator/compiler of the piece) – when in doubt, blame the narrator.
With such a sprawling series, it’s easy to understand why there might be some trouble maintaining a firm grip on it, especially as the characters seem to have a mind of their own. When asked if Rachel’s complicated heritage and demon capabilities were planned from the beginning, for example, Kim laughingly replied that this certainly was not the case and that she likes to refer to Dead Witch Walking as the longest short story she has ever written. Kim mentioned that The Hollows may simply be getting too big – which led me to ask just how many books would there actually be in the series (to date, fans know there are planned to be 12 or 13). Kim’s response? Almost certainly 12 books – and as we’re coming up on book 10 this coming February, that means we only have two more Rachel adventures left.
Kim was also at NYCC to talk about (and sign!) copies of her first graphic novel, Blood Work, which is a story from Ivy’s perspective about the year Rachel interned with her at the I.S. Kim elaborated that Ivy’s story is one that her readers have been hungry for, and she wanted to tell the story from Ivy’s perspective. Fans will be happy to know that Blood Work does show Ivy falling for Rachel – almost immediately, assures Harrison – and how their partnership played out before the events of Dead Witch Walking. In comparing the process of writing a graphic novel versus a prose-only narrative, Kim said that it was tough because she had to keep the prose so sparse and really work with the artists to get Ivy’s expressions, body language and reactions just right. In fact, Kim created a frame-by-frame script for the graphic novel, and, some finagling over Rach’s cup size aside, to her, the images of Rachel and Ivy are just as she had pictured them in her mind when writing the books. Book 2 of the graphic novel series is currently in the works, and though we won’t see a Jenks or Trent point of view comic, there *is* an upcoming short story in an anthology around this time next year that will tell the tale of Trent and Jenks when they steal Lucy (fangirl aside: YAY!!!!). You can check out some preview sketches, scripting and Kim’s thoughts on the making of the graphic novel HERE.
And, with Trent on the mind, I had to ask if Rach will ever find a modicum of peace and happiness, especially where her love life is concerned – because let’s face it, the girl has been through the emotional/heartbreak grinder over the past nine books. To this, Kim smiled and said that she believes Rachel can (and will) find happiness, though she won’t say with whom, even with my prodding for Trent or Ivy to be the final pair. Naturally, I had to ask which of Rachel’s paramours was Kim’s favorite, and though it has changed over time from Kisten to Al to Nick (very briefly before discovering just what he was really about), at the moment Trent holds the top spot. Of course, that is subject to change. And because I personally love the complicated relationship between Ivy and Rachel, I had to ask if there was a future for the pair – to which Kim said it’s possible that they do end up together…but she doesn’t know yet.
In the same spoiler/teaser-hunting frame of mind, I asked Kim to give readers a teaser of what we can expect in the tenth Hollows novel A Perfect Blood – in which ritually slain corpses are popping up around Cincy, and following the dramatic events of Pale Demon. Hollows fans, be prepared for some consequences because Kim reveals that Rach’s heritage is going to smack her in the face in this next book. Quoting Stan Lee’s Spiderman mantra, with great power comes great responsibility, and Rachel has been abusing the power and not accepting any of the responsibility, and in A Perfect Blood it is time to pay up.
The lovely Kim Harrison (and me)
I had a delightful time interviewing Kim, and I didn’t think it was possible, but now I’m even MORE excited for A Perfect Blood. A big thank you to the folks at Harper Collins for setting up the session, and to Kim for the chat!
For those fans intrigued by the books mentioned here, Blood Work is on sale now, and The Hollows Insider will be available on 10/25 – just in time for Halloween.