Kim Harrison is a Smuggler Favorite author, penning the bestselling adult Urban Fantasy series, The Hollows (which also happens to be Thea’s all time favorite Urban Fantasy series). This year, she has decided to branch out her formidable writing talent into the world of Young Adult fiction, starting a brand new series in a universe separate from her Rachel Morgan books. We loved her first Young Adult novel, Once Dead, Twice Shy, and are thrilled to have Kim back here again on The Book Smugglers to talk about writing YA, how it differs from her other work, and her inspirations and influences.
Please give it up for the wonderful Kim Harrison!
Kim Harrison, adult or YA writer?
It has been a fabulous couple of months for me with the Supernatural Summer tour to help me kick off my debut into the young adult genre with Once Dead, Twice Shy, the beginning of a three book series through Harper Teen. When I first sat down to write Once Dead, Twice Shy, I never imagined I’d have the chance to be included in a multi-author tour and be given the opportunity to meet the readers of such fabulous YA writers as Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Aprilynne Pike, and Claudia Gray, all so warm and welcoming. But my favorite YA novels are still the ones I read while I was growing up. The Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, (which was marketed for adult when it came out.) Just about anything from Heinlein, and of course Ray Bradbury. All heavy on the science fiction and fantasy, heavy with adult themes cleverly disguised under an adventurous storyline. It was with that in mind that I wrote Once Dead, Twice Shy, trying to steer clear of YA romance (where I have no business writing) and craft something that I hoped both the adult and the young adult reader might enjoy.
In some ways, the transition from writing adult to young adult was easy. I think that the young adult audience likes a lot of the same things that the adult audience does. A strong-willed main character who isn’t moping about her life all the time, one who sees injustice and takes action, and one who has friends to help her. But the young adult audience is more savvy than ever, and to talk down to them, to give them too-simple a story with thin world building and shallow characters is risking that they won’t read the next. Romance is brand new, and experiences have higher highs, and lower lows. It’s a fine line to walk, and I hope that I’ve managed to keep my balance. When I write for the YA audience, I do try to put myself back in a younger frame of mind where concerns don’t include mortgages, but instead friends, fitting in, and finding a place in the world–stuff that we carry with us into adulthood.
Why make the switch? Some people have asked me, and for that, I just smile. I saw the reason at the Supernatural Summer signings time and again, reaffirming my resolve to give this my all. My adult readers came out to see me on tour, but they didn’t come alone. More often than not, when one of my books was slid across the table to me, there was a copy of Once Dead, Twice Shy on top, and next to a beaming parent was a teen, sometimes eager, sometimes bored, sometimes shy, but there because Mom or Dad wanted to share that good feeling they got from my work with their son or daughter, they wanted to talk to their kid about something they both experienced, and perhaps they wanted to pass their love of reading on–if they hadn’t already. If I could be a part of that, if I could share my own love of reading, the breathless “what if” with someone new . . . then I would feel like I’d done something real and worthwhile.
And that’s why I write YA.
The only girl in a large family of boys, former tomboy Kim Harrison invented the first Brigadier General Barbie in self-defense. She shoots a very bad game of pool and rolls a very good game of dice. When not at her keyboard, she enjoys lounging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn watching action movies with The-Guy-In-The-Leather-Jacket. She plays her Ashiko drum when no one is listening, and is hard to find when the moon is new.
A huge thank you to Kim for her awesome, inspiring words! You can read more about Kim on her website HERE or on her blog HERE.
We are giving away one copy of Once Dead, Twice Shy to a lucky reader! The contest is open to anyone in the US or Canada, and will run until Sunday July 26 at midnight (PST). To enter, simply leave a comment here. Good luck!
SueJuly 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm
Thanks for the giveaway~
Bridget LockeJuly 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm
Please don’t enter me, since I’ve already read the book.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kim here in Portland. She’s about as sweet and as gracious as you can expect (and then some).
The thing I enjoyed about this book was that it had a lot of unexpected twists & turns. Some of the story matter was pretty dark, but I LIKED it! 😀
WendyJuly 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm
I think reading that be a huge bonding experience between a parent and their kids. I’m not a parent but my parents have always encourage my love of reading since Middle school, my dad especially. He loves reading, and no matter what, they never had any problems with me reading book after book.
While my mom is not big on reading (she prefers music) she definitely encourage me to read, too.
I guess they prefer I stay in all night reading then go out and get in trouble. 😉
CrystalGBJuly 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm
Sounds like a great book. I would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.
abookinhandJuly 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm
I would love to read it. Great giveaway!! 🙂
DebbieJuly 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm
Would love to win. I recently read the short story in Prom Nights From Hell and was curious what happened.
Suzanne McLeodJuly 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm
I love Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan books,she’s a fab writer, and although not a teen *g* Once Dead Twice Shy is on my wishlist. I bet its a great book.
Great giveaway, thank you 🙂
Ericka ScottJuly 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm
I usually don’t read YA, so I’ve only read her adult books. I must say though, she’s fabulous, and might be the writer to turn me on to YA!
Ava NorthJuly 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm
Excited for the giveaway!
KristenJuly 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm
I would love to win a copy of this book! Love Kim Harrison!
JessicaJuly 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm
I’ve never read any of Kim’s work however I have wanted to and frequently have seen her books at the library. Unfortunately with a very long to be read list it’s hard to add to it. A win would help though and I am always looking for new authors to try. jessica(at)fan(dot)com
SamanthaJuly 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm
What an amazing sentiment to receive from your readers (of all ages! 😀 ). Thanks for the insights!
I’m looking forward to reading this one!
Tiffany M.July 24, 2009 at 2:17 pm
Thank you for the giveaway!
danielleJuly 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm
sounds great. enter me, please!
ElyaneJuly 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Great post. count me in.
Sandy (Strlady)July 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm
I’ve loved Harrison’s Hollows series and look forward to giving her YA work a try!
EstellaJuly 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm
Wish there had been YA authors when my kids were growing up!
KuriJuly 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm
Sounds like a good book!
BikiJuly 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm
This sounds like a really interesting book!
Mainly Interviews & Contests Today | Literary EscapismJuly 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm
[…] Kim Harrison, author of Once Dead, Twice Shy, at The Book Smugglers […]
meaghanJuly 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm
this was a great interview! thank you!
also, thanks for running the giveaway!
Teresa W.July 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm
This would be a new author for me, count me in!
Sharon KJuly 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm
I’ve not read your books yet, but they sure sound
Thanks for this give away! 🙂
VeronicaJuly 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm
this looks very promising
hope to win 🙂
RachaelfromNJJuly 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm
This book sounds really good! I’ve been meaning to try it. Please enter me. 🙂
JenPJuly 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm
I’d love a copy!
Belinda mJuly 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm
Please include me in your giveaway.
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JamieJuly 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm
Please count me in. It sounds wonderful!
I Heart Book GossipJuly 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm
OMG! OMG! *Squeal!!
This would be an awesome Birthday present! Please count me in.
cindyc725 at gmail dot com
TyngaJuly 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm
Oh please sign me in =)
Sylvie LJuly 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm
Sounds great, I would love to win! 🙂
RainaJuly 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm
The YA genre is getting better all the time. Enter me!
RoxyJuly 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm
Count me in!
CourtneyJuly 24, 2009 at 7:32 pm
Sounds like a great book!! Can’t wait to read it!!
JulieJuly 24, 2009 at 8:02 pm
I can’t wait to read it!
MarialJuly 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm
Kim I’ve never read your books, but would love to try. The girl on the cover looks a little like Robyn.
bridget3420July 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm
I’m addicted to The Hollows series. I’d love to win this:)
Kimberly B.July 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm
Kim’s Hollows series is one of my favorites, so I’m really eager to try the YA series. Thanks for the great giveaway!
Sara MJuly 24, 2009 at 8:49 pm
This book sounds awesome!
kelseymJuly 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm
I have this on my wishlist, it looks like such a good book! I’d love to be entered for a chance so I can read it 🙂
Chris J.July 25, 2009 at 12:03 am
I love Kim Harrison’s books!
She captivates you from the beginning and then you get to the last page and go…wow I sooo need the next one!
So, I am looking forward to her ya series as well. Love the cover, it is very eye catching and I am a cover junkie! lol
When I find a great author, I usually follow them through all of ther series!
Great blog on Kim and her upcoming series! Thank You.
Rob CharronJuly 25, 2009 at 1:47 am
I adore Kim Harrison’s writing. I have read & re-read the Hollows series. I look forward to reading her foray into Young Adult.
Lloyd Alexander & Susan Cooper were faves of mine when I was a young adult. Anne McCaffrey also. And Stephen King. 🙂
Love and best wishes from Northern Ontario
Jenni C.July 25, 2009 at 4:58 am
Would love to win a copy, this book has been on my wishlist for quite awhile.
BethJuly 25, 2009 at 5:57 am
This looks interesting! Please enter me!
BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com
Virginia HendricksJuly 25, 2009 at 10:49 am
I love her books and would love to win her YA novel!
CupK8July 25, 2009 at 11:17 am
I know what you mean about the parent-child reading relationship. Much of what I read as a child was suggested to me by my mother, or along the same veins as something she’d previously suggested. She never hesitated to share her adult books with me, but when she taught the children’s lit class at the local college, she really got into the YA books she was reading, and she would often suggest them to me or my siblings.
Today, we share a Google Spreadsheet (NERDS) and suggest books to each other. It is one of the reasons we have such a close relationship.
Thank you for contributing to the wonderful world that is YA literature! <3
Brooke ReviewsJuly 25, 2009 at 11:48 am
Love KH, my favorite author!
BelleJuly 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm
Great post. I am always just as happy to pick up a YA urban fantasy as I am an adult one!
MishelJuly 25, 2009 at 12:55 pm
I haven’t read anything by Kim Harrison yet. I know shame on me. This would be an excellent start for me =)
mishtakes AT gmail DOT com
DottieJuly 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm
I’m such a huge fan of the Hollows Series, and I’ve already read the prequel in Prom Nights From Hell. Can’t wait to try this fab read!! I know I’ll love it. It’s high on my wish list!
Count me in!
AymlessJuly 25, 2009 at 1:30 pm
Oh oh Pick me!
dreyJuly 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm
Thanks for the giveaway! I’d love to be entered!
RaelenaJuly 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm
count me in!
music_lover3July 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm
I love Kim Harrison’s books!!! Count me in! Thanks for the giveaway!
AdeleJuly 26, 2009 at 12:11 am
I really enjoy Kim Harrison’s books and would love to have this one.
LaurenJuly 26, 2009 at 5:45 am
Once Dead, Twice Shy looks great! So, please count me in! 🙂
TheaJuly 26, 2009 at 10:30 am
Thanks to everyone for your entries! The contest is now over, and the comments are closed.