A quick Q&A with Kim Harrison on EVER AFTER

It’s no secret we are very excited about EVER AFTER, the latest Hollows novel by Kim Harrison (Jan 22, 2013). Kim Harrison was kind enough to answer some questions for us! Enjoy… and remember, DON’T PANIC!

Q: First off, the book title is EVER AFTER, but that’s somewhat misleading… hence why you keep telling readers, “Don’t Panic!” Rachel’s not riding off into the sunset… not before she deals with her personal demons, right?

A: I have been assuring readers for months now that EVER AFTER is not the last book in the series despite the fairytale ending sound to it. We’ve got two more after this one before I reach the ending I’ve been working for and Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, and perhaps even Al get their happy ending. But yes, there are a few unexpected issues that have cropped up in these last two books as I delve deeper into the source of magic.

Like most of the books in the series, EVER AFTER is a play on a Clint Eastwood move, in this case, HEREAFTER. I think it’s especially fitting since much of the story line revolves around the possible destruction of the ever-after, a secondary reality in the mythology of the series.

Q: Speaking of Douglas Adams (and please don’t throw your towel at me)—you are a great fan of his work.  How has his writing influenced yours?

A: I love Douglas Adam’s work, yes! His titles were some of the few that I bought as hard cover when all my disposable income went for books. I couldn’t wait. I like using humor to make my characters more identifiable, and I figure if I can’t laugh while Rachel figures out how to save the world, I’m not doing it right.

Q: Rachel’s romance.  It’s the question you play hardest-to-get on, but the aspect of the books that readers ask you most about.  Will Rachel get her own happily-ever-after?

A: Will Rachel find her happy ever-after? Oh yes, very much so, but I always caution readers that it might not be the traditional happily ever after they expect with the white-picket fence, two kids, and a ring on her finger. Rachel is the girl next door, but she is anything but traditional, and her happy-ever-after will reflect that. My idea of a happy-ever-after has always been when the protagonist comes to understand her flaws and has learned how to work with them, becoming happy with who she is and learning what she needs to go confidently forward. In a way, Rachel has had this for a long time. She simply had to recognize it and accept that she is deserving of happiness.

Q: With Trent? 

A: Oh, that would be telling! I have a lot of readers who are angry at me for exploring the chance that Rachel might find her happy ending with Ivy and then seemingly abandon that for Trent, but I’ve been having too much fun with Trent, seeing him grow and change, using him as a foil for Rachel to grow and change as well.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Ivy and Rachel story line that dominated the early and middle section of the Hollows story arc. Ivy grew. Her choices became smarter, and I could not ruin the growth she underwent simply to throw more obstacles at Rachel. I don’t want to say who Rachel ends up with because I have a tendency to change things up to the copy edit, but I will say I’ve seen Ivy’s ending. It is beautiful, sensitive, and feels really, really good to me.

Q: You’ve said, in book 13, every character will experience a happy ending, if not a happily-ever-after.  You’re getting closer and closer… and EVER AFTER did take some dark twists.  Everyone still going to be okay when the end draws near?

A: I’ve long told readers that my goal is a happy ending for everyone. I probably should have said my goal is a happy ending for everyone who survives. EVER AFTER ups the stakes for the last couple of books. No one is safe. But then again, there are a few characters I would celebrate if they met their end.

Q:  Readers have often asked you about Rachel and Ivy…but it finally seems like Ivy has met her match…care to comment?

A: Ivy is one of my absolute favorite characters in the Hollows. She has evolved and grown, almost leaving the series twice as she learns to love herself and accept that her needs are not wrong. A character that balanced and confident isn’t as much fun to watch as one who’s still struggling, but the introduction of a new character has sparked a new story line that involves Ivy, and I hope we see this thread continue to the last book.

Q: Do you have titles in place for books 12 and 13 that you’d like to share with us?

A: I have titles for the last couple of books, but I’m reluctant to share them just yet as my editor isn’t keen on the one I want for book twelve and we still need to find one we both like and can get past marketing. Book thirteen won’t hit the shelves until 2015. We’ve had a title for that for a long time, but it’s far too early to share just yet. I will say that I’m sticking to tradition, and as long as Clint Eastwood keeps making movies, I will keep using his titles.

Q: And – here’s what everyone wants to know: we read Into the Woods, and saw you embarking upon some interesting new directions.  After the last page is turned on The Hollows, where do you go next?

A:  Into the Woods gave me a rare opportunity to play in depth with a several new ideas, developing not just story lines but real characters, worlds, and magic mythologies. It turned out to be somewhat of a double-edged sword since the stories that made it to the page are more like prequels to the series that I might be developing. It’s a great way to work out the kinks in the magic system and organize the world, but large chunks are missing from what I would eventually work with, entire characters and motivations that are really what get me to the keyboard every morning.

I work quite far ahead of the printing schedule with the rough draft for the last Hollows book sitting safely in my cabinet already, but even so, it’s too early to tell if I’m going to continue on with the “Spider Silk” and shade my work toward horror, or if I will follow “Grace” and her more military feel, or perhaps “Pet Shop Boys,” where I go all out and let my imagination go nuts and just have fun.  Lately I’ve been teasing my editor with hints of an as yet unshared manuscript of something completely different, something that captured my attention last year to such a degree that threw out my beloved plots and outlines and just wrote it by the seat of my pants.  It’s fast, smart, and plays with a few ideas that have been haunting me for the last ten years as my writing skills have been playing catch-up with my ambitions. I think it’s time for Peri. We’ll see.




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