Author Interview: Pauline Harris

Written By: Janna - Nov• 06•14

My first author interview, and I’m so happy it’s with Patchwork Press’s new and amazing author, Pauline Harris with her debut novel, Puppet.

Puppet cover

Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

I coerced Pauline into an interview, mostly so I could get to know her better myself. *Sigh* I wish I would have started writing at nineteen. I’m seriously considering hiring her photographer too. Think they could make me look that young?
Pauline Harris author photo
This is an unusual retelling. What made you want to tell this story?

The fact that Pinocchio is an unusual story to do a retelling of was the exact reason I chose it. I didn’t want to do something that’s been really overdone, and I hadn’t heard of any good retellings of Pinocchio lately, so I tried it out.

Your main character is a female. Was that a conscious decision? Why?

It was definitely a conscious decision. I think mainly, I feel more comfortable writing from a girl’s perspective. And I just really wanted to write a gender-bent version of a fairytale – in fact, that’s kind of my thing now. My next fairytale retellings are all gender-bent just like Puppet is.

What does your family and friends think about your writing?

They’re all really supportive. My mom is always my first beta reader. She gets to read my books before anyone even gets a glance at what they’re about.

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scenes in my books tend to be the climaxes, but telling you that would give the book away. 😛 Another favorite scene of mine to write, was the scene where Jed shows off Penelope to the world for the first time. She’s demonstrating her marionette abilities onstage while the scientists in the crowd gape in awe. It was just a fun scene to write, and it was also really important to the story.

What was the thing you struggled with most in writing?

I think the main thing I’ve struggled with the most is experience and trying to find my voice as a writer. I’ve been writing/publishing books since I was fourteen and in that span of roughly five years I’ve changed so much, and so my voice and writing has changed as well. I’m still trying to figure out my voice as a writer and gain enough life experience to write accurately about things.

If you had to give new authors one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would say to be fearless. Writing and publishing is scary but you have to develop a thick skin and not be afraid to send your book out into the world and promote it and work hard for its success. I was really nervous and embarrassed the first few times I published books, but I had to learn to get over that, and now its so much more fun.

Do you have plans for your next project?

I have lots of plans! I have a rough draft I’m in the stages of editing, I’m writing another fairytale retelling for NaNoWriMo, and I have yet another retelling in the outline process right now. I’m so excited to get all these ideas out into the world.

What’s the most recent thing you’ve read?

I just finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and I’m completely in love. She’s my favorite author right now and I love everything she’s done. Currently, I’m reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, as research for a possibly upcoming book. 😉

Who is your favorite author and why?

Rainbow Rowell is my newest favorite author, but it’s so difficult to just pick one. I also love Veronica Roth, mainly because she wrote Divergent in college (I’m in college right now) and the series is absolutely amazing.

Which character do you identify with the most?

The character in Puppet that I identify with the most would definitely be James. He’s basically me. He’s cautious, supportive and little bit of a wimp sometimes. Pen is a little too adventurous for me.

Happy Book day (and Happy Birthday!)

Written By: Janna - Oct• 29•14

I’ve managed to keep up the tradition at lease one year. Happy book day and Happy Birthday (to me!). It’s hard to believe an entire year has passed since A Grimm Legacy was launched into the world.

The year had brought broken bones and rear-ended cars, beach vacations, and a kid that needed glasses. The entire family has gotten hooked on Settler’s of Catan  (the nine-year-old has beat me more than once). And for Halloween this year, we are representing as the Ghostbusters characters (including Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmellow man… oh man, wish I could post a picture). And Patchwork Press has EXPLODED with new authors.

In the midst of working, making endless school lunches, and general LIFE, a book got written.

B2 Grimm Memories

Erica Crouch has outdone herself again with the cover (which I’ve already gotten several compliments on, Erica!) The entire process when more smoothly this time, having done it once, but I still would have never gotten here with out my beta readers Brandon, Brittany, Jared, and Jessica. My editor Kara who kept my adverbs in check, and of course the person who’s not only works tireless on my books in various capacities, but is one of my most ardent cheerleaders, Kellie.

I loved writing this book. It’s like having a second child. They’re still a lot of work, but at least you’ve got an idea what your doing the second time around so you can concentrate on enjoying them instead of just managing to keep them alive.

I really felt my characters come into their own, and my creativity bump up a notch. Thanks for staying with me as I learn and write.

And to end this post… an exciting bit of news. There will be another Grimm Tale! This story takes place before A Grimm Legacy, and it tells the tale of Andi’s grandmother, Cynthia. It’s been written and is currently in the hands of my marvelous beta readers. Wish I could give you more of a timetable than that, but I can’t!

Happy Reading!

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

iTunes

Paperback

Fall into Fantasy Giveaway

Written By: Janna - Oct• 17•14

Time for…

FIFG large copy

Over fifty authors giving away fantasy and paranormal books and swag, really, what could be better?

So you’re just one click away from entering. Find the link below and don’t forget there is a separate giveaway a little farther down the page for YA/NA books (you don’t want to skip that one, it’s where my book is!)

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When a Character’s a Character

Written By: Janna - Oct• 16•14

Recently I was thinking about characters. Mostly, how authors go about creating them. I feel (and hope!) my characters became these rich, fully formed beings of their own between my first book (A Grimm Legacy) and the second book (Grimm Memories).

Dylan is a clear favorite most of the time. He’s quirky and funny, and I often find myself putting him in situations just to see what he’ll do and say. When I needed someone in my story to accomplish something tricky to make the plot move along, I usually assigned the task to Dylan until it became kind of a running joke (with myself anyway), until he had an impressive resume.

Dylan can:

Cook, way better than the average teenager (and some adults too)

Sail (unless whales are involved)images-2

Tango (hey, I know a few teenagers who do)

imagesRide horseback (we never hear why, though)

Conceive and carryout some pretty elaborate practical jokes (ahh, the lobster traps, there might be a short story story in there somewhere)

Fix cars (now I’m just giving away stuff from book #2)

Hunt shellfish (andimages-1 cook them too)

Fish (much to Andi’s dismay)

Hotwire a car (who wouldn’t want to know how to do that?)

Sadly, he also knows how to identify the smell of whisky rather quickly.

Of course, no character is perfect (they would be boring if they were). He can’t seem to:

Finish a book.

Get a good SAT score

Keep his mouth from getting him in trouble

Share any serious feelings

Have any self-defense of fighting skills what-so-ever

Ever think about characters? What traits or talents would they have?

Release Day: The Confidant

Written By: Janna - Oct• 12•14

The brains behind Patchwork Press that have already brought you the LOST LOCKET OF LAHARI anthology, now introduce each of the short stories as a stand alone e-book.

Which of course means Erica Crouch has been designing new covers…

The Empath

IN A VICTORIAN society fascinated by spiritualists, something wicked sinks its claws in from the other side.

Odessa is a psychic; her mother, the Great Madame Elena, is a fraud. After a séance goes terribly wrong and a woman ends up dead, an evil force slips into the land of the living.

Though Odessa and her mother try to outpace the rumors spreading, they can’t escape the danger that has taken residence within Odessa herself. When Odessa is shouldered with the responsibility of the Great Madame Elena’s business, she starts to lose control of the spirit world, and she can’t afford to make another mistake.

Asked to open the door to the other side again, Odessa witnesses a brutal murder that hints at black magic and is faced with a choice: risk her life for freedom from her mother, or go on living a life of servitude. If she goes into a trance again, will she be able to maintain control?

TheDreamer

JAZZ MUSIC, NIGHT clubs, and slinky dresses—Olivia wants it all. As a teenage orphan in 1920’s Manhattan, she knows how to dream big. Life on the streets is easy to gloss over with stars in her eyes and Charlie, the orphan gang’s leader, by her side.

But when Charlie leaves to pursue his own dreams, Olivia is in danger of losing herself forever in her fabricated fantasies. Pulled from her imaginary world by a locket, Olivia will soon come to realize big changes come in small packages. Her strength of character will be put to the test as everything she’s ever wished for is suddenly within grasp.

The Confidant

IT BEGAN WITH a locket. Slipped to Emma as her mother is arrested by the Japanese police, the keepsake from her dead father contains much more than memories. In the final days of World War II, Emma is armed with stolen information vital to the liberation of Manila.

Caught up in a confidant’s web of deception and lies, she finds herself suddenly a spy. The enemy hunts her as she makes her way to the American soldiers still hiding in the hills. Faced with the threat of capture and torture Emma wonders if she’ll ever see her mother again.

The Adventurer

SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Madeline has been living on the streets, biding her time until she’s eighteen. With little to no money, she takes on a heist in hopes of making ends meet. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything.

Getting caught is just the beginning of Madeline’s adventure as she meets Weston and discovers the secret of where she came from.

The Dancer

TWO SOULS FIND each other in the final chapter of THE LOST LOCKET OF LAHARI. When the storm clouds roll in, everything changes…

 

Release Day: The Betrayed by Terra Harmony

Written By: Janna - Sep• 26•14

If  The Rising is any indication, Terra Harmony will knock your socks off–again. She’s kept us waiting long enough: the second book in The Painted Maiden’s trilogy, The Betrayed.


The Betrayed cover copy

Two separate worlds; the Undine of The Deep and the Wolves of The Dry. A history muddled in war but thick with family bonds blur the lines of right and wrong. The youngest members of each race unite, trying to steer their people away from the brink of disaster. Serena and Liam must work together to resolve the problems of their people before the pressure tears these twin siblings apart. But the betrayed are angry, and are out for revenge.

About the Author:

Terra is author of the eco-fantasy novels in the Akasha Series, ‘Water’, ‘Air’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Earth’, as well as the Painted Maidens TrilogyTerra Author Photo copy. Terra was born and raised in Colorado but has since lived in California, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, and Virginia. Terra has served a 5½ year enlistment in the Marine Corp, has earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree and presently runs the language services division of a small business.

Terra currently lives in a suburb of Washington, DC with her husband of fifteen years and three children.

To find out more about Terra, like her on Facebook, stop by her blog, send her tweet, or drop her an e-mail.

Purchase The Betrayed

Amazon                 iTunes

Goodreads            Kobo

Smashwords         Barnes & Noble

 

 

The Lost Locket of Lahari

Written By: Janna - Sep• 13•14

LLoL-1The babble of thousands of men’s voices. A cacophony of dialects. A sharp smell of sweat and animal dung intertwine with the commands of elephant handlers as the great beasts lumber under burdens of soil and marble. The heat is stifling, but a wind scuttles across the chaotic building site, bringing a breath of coolness from the river.

It is an obsession of an Emperor consumed with grief over his beloved wife that will command the labor of 20,000 men for over twenty years. In a Bazaar tucked in the shadow of the expanding Taj Mahal, the locket of Lahari is brought forth.

UnknownThe locket never reaches the one for whom is was created. It is mislaid, forgotten. Perhaps carelessly buried in the bottom of a trunk, unknowingly lost in the dusty Indian streets, or bartered for by an Englishman from the East India Trading Company and loaded on a ship only to be lost at sea. Wherever the locket disappeared to, it wasn’t seen again until 1890, in an upstart new country just a little over a century old.

In a time when the Sioux and the 7th Calvary were still dodging each other’s bullets and women were edging into liberation by donning bloomers and sitting astride bicycles for the first time, the locket resurfaced. The world was now fast becoming a place where wireless telegraph technology was no longer a dream and Emily Dickenson penned her poetry. Deep into the Spiritualist movement, hundreds of thousands of Americans flooded mediums with requests for séances and hunted down unexplained phenomena.

imagesThe locket again dipped into obscurity, making a brief appearance during the roaring 20’s. With the brassy sounds of Jazz as a soundtrack, the decade skids by bringing with it rocket fuel, the first radio broadcast, penicillin, the drying up of America, and the devastating stock market crash of 1929.

The world shudders as war breaks out for the second time in twenty years. Half a world away amid the Japanese occupation, the city of Manila is under siege and the locket is once again present. Amid the devastation of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt is the first and last man to be elected to his fourth term as president, Ingrid Bergman lights up the silver screen, and the microwave oven is born.

Unknown-1From cooking conveniences to a world where the iPhone is now on its eighth generation, the locket has finally made its way to the present. Pluto is no longer a planet. The Golden Globes have been celebrated for over seventy years with no signs of stopping any time soon. Would the old man in the Indian Bazaar recognize the world in which his locket now found itself? Not only has man been to space, certainly an inconceivable notion in 1632, but now life in the form of sea plankton has been found thriving in the frozen, oxygen deprived vastness.

The locket’s travels don’t stop there. It again takes flight, finding itself fifty years in the future. With only a little imagination we can visualize a world in which artificial organs exist for terminal patients, supersonic jets are used for commuting, evidence of dark matter will be discovered, and farming will be come a vertical feat in overcrowded cites. And we might as well say it, sure, there can be flying cars too.

images-1 The Lost Locket of Lahari was created from the combined talents of the Patchwork Press authors. It can be purchased at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

And to get you excited about our upcoming collaborative work, here’s the next letter clue.

S

 

 

The Challenges of a Sequel

Written By: Janna - Jun• 08•14

To keep my fingers busy during the lulls between getting chapters back from my editor for Grimm Memories, I’ve began the third and final installment in the Grimm Tales series.

While this project doesn’t have a title yet, I can share a few things. The last book in the series is a prequel. It is Andi’s grandmother (Cynthia’s) story. I struggled long and hard to make the decision to write this particular tale. On one hand, I feel like I’ve begun to know Cynthia a little, simply through Andi and how much she is mentioned in the first two books. We have a basic story from Jack, but second hand information is always missing details and inside knowledge. Really it boiled down to what was going through Cynthia’s head when she ran away from a handsome prince, a life of luxury, and went back to a world where she knew no one, where she would have to face the demons she had run from.

The downside to all this is the Cinderella story being an old one and has been told in every way possible. How could I possibly make mine different? Better?

But… the questions begged to be answered. I’m only 30,000 words into the manuscript, but am really excited about it.

As I’m writing, entire new sets of challenges are cropping up. Much of the setting and the bones of the story are the same, they have to be. There’s a young girl, a slave in her own home, a ball, a prince. We’ve explored a lot of this story already with Andi… how to make it different?

I image J.K. Rowling faced a similar problem with the Harry Potter series. Every year they go back to the same place, have the same teachers, same friends/enemies, and same classes. How to make it distinctive?

She of course did a masterful job. You bring in new characters, get rid of Quidditch one year, find new places at Hogwarts—and the kicker, in the last book, change the setting completely—no Hogwarts. I remember being disappointed as a reader at first. But the author made it work. We needed something new to keep us interested, and she provided.

So I’m trying to implement some of the same things into Grimm #3. New fairy tale creatures, different points of view, small details that bring an entire new dimension to the story, and hidden spots on the castle grounds all come into play.

 

 

The Beauty of a Bent Book

Written By: Janna - Apr• 21•14

Recently I got the absolutely exhilarating opportunity to speak with a book club about my book. Six lovely ladies had actually sat down and read A Grimm Legacy. I don’t get a lot of reader feedback, and I get even less in person. Fair enough to say, this is the first time I’ve spoken with anyone about my book that wasn’t family.

Beside the fact that they had only encouraging things to say (and quite a few sequel ideas) what really drew my eye were their copies of the books. The majority had downloaded an e-book version, but the paperbacks had character.

The covers were slightly worn on the edges with the occasional bent corner. Their spines were broken, pages creased, ink slightly smudged.

They were beautiful.old book

They had been read. Stuffed in purses, cracked open at doctor’s offices and on lunch breaks, left tented on a nightstand—if was as if they hadn’t become an actual book until they had been read. It reminded me of the Velveteen Rabbit, who by the time he was Real, he was very shabby, but it didn’t matter.

Feel free to love my books to death.

Grimm Memories Sneak Peek

Written By: Janna - Apr• 06•14

My beta readers have done a wonderful and through job, and Grimm Memories is officially off for its first round of edits. It’s a bit like a momma sending a baby bird off the edge of the nest and wondering if they’ll flap their wings or fall.

It’s possibly a little premature (after all, I never know what’s going to get cut), but I can’t wait any longer. Here’s a small sneak peek at Grimm Memories.

 

ANDI shook her head and grabbed her phone from the bedside table. 2:35 A.M. Ugh. She swung her feet out of bed, forcing her body to follow. Her actions were in no way crazy, she tried to convince herself as she unfolded the ladder to the attic. Several creaking joints made her pause, her heart trying to beat its way out of her chest. The noise failed to rouse her parents, and she quickly padded up the rungs.

She pulled herself into the chilly space at the top of the house and caught her toe on a protruding nail. She hissed around the pain, barely containing the howl she wanted to unleash. Finding the swinging chain, she clicked on the single light bulb. Shivering, only partially from the cold, she rubbed her bare arms. She hadn’t set foot in the attic since the day she had found her grandmother’s cloak and disappeared.

The trunk sat innocently against the far wall. More of the dream filtered into Andi’s memory and she approached the trunk slowly. Kneeling, it took both hands to flip the lid open. Books and clothes from another lifetime stared back. She quickly emptied the contents of the trunk into a lumpy pile on the floor and felt around the old-fashioned paisley lining. It took less time than she thought to find what she was looking for. Her lack of surprise when she fished it out of a small tear in the fabric bothered her more than actually finding the photograph.  Had she really dreamed of it here, in this exact location?

The photograph was old, much older than the picture of her grandmother’s wedding that she’d pulled out of this same trunk months ago. The image was in varying shades of brown and was blotchy in places. It showed a young woman with a chubby child perched on her lap. The woman sat stiff and unsmiling. She wore a dress buttoned to her chin with tight, tailored sleeves. Her hair was pinned under a plumed hat, pulled at an angle over a high brow. The baby was swathed in a white dress and was slightly blurry, especially its fist.

Andi had never seen the baby before, but there was no doubt the woman in the photograph was the same one from her dream. The one she’d briefly thought was her mother.  She flipped it over, and saw a tight script, nearly illegible with age.

Margaret and Haley 1873