Finding The Write Words

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Author Interview - Narrelle M. Harris

Today, I am very happy to welcome to The Author's Den, fellow Escape Publishing author, Narrelle M. Harris.

Narrelle, please tell us a little about yourself. 
I’ve written over 30 novels and short stories, published in Australia, US and the UK. My award nominations include Fly By Night (Ned Kelly Award), Witch Honour and Witch Faith (the George Turner Prize), and Walking Shadows (Chronos Awards; Davitt Awards). My ghost/crime story Jane won the Athenaeum Library’s “Body in the Library” prize at the 2017 Scarlet Stiletto Awards. My spec-fic het romance, Grounded, is out on 20 March 2019 with Escape Publishing, but I also write vampire novels, erotic spy adventures, het and queer romance, traditional Holmesian mysteries, and Holmes/Watson romances. On Patreon, I write the Duo Ex Machina series of M/M romance crime novellas. Number One Fan is currently being serialised there and will be on general release in around May.

What does your writing space look like?

I write in various places all over Melbourne: my husband and I both freelance for a living, and so split the time at home. So five days in ten I’m in our apartment, with my reference library to my right and all the comforts of home. The other five days I spend either at the State Library of Victoria, which I adore, or sometimes the City Library, which is not as lovely but is open earlier. Sometimes I write in cafes, depending on my mood. I like the variety!

What do you like to do after meeting a word count/finishing a manuscript to relax and reward yourself?
I often spend a day or two on Netflix catching up on films I’ve missed or TV shows. Melbourne has so many excellent cafes I’m inclined to take myself out for a nice lunch too!

How do you come up with the titles of your books?
Usually it’s from a key phrase of theme in the story, and if I can manage a little wordplay too, I’m delighted. Grounded comes from the idea that my characters live in a world where human can fly, but they can’t because they have disabilities. So they are literally grounded, which could be negative, but they are also looking for ways to be grounded in the positive sense – connected to something secure, sure and steady in themselves.

Do you work with an outline or just write?
I like to have some structure but not being too rigid. Actually, I used to just write but I’ve come to a place of balance between plotting and ‘pantsing’. I’ll have the main outline and the idea of where I’m heading, but I update the plan as I go because I like to allow for themes and imagery to become uncovered as I write. Grounded actually began as a novella, but a comment from the acquisitions editor at Escape opened up some aspects of it and I was able to expand it in a really satisfying way.

Do you come up with your story setting yourself, or do you write about places you’ve been?
I like to work with locales I’m familiar with or have visited, because it’s so enjoyable to bring places I know and love to life for the reader, even when I’m twisting them about to be something else. Melbourne features in a lot of my work for that reason. Even when I write speculative fiction, I draw on experience. The Witches of Tyne series is set on another planet, but draws on landscapes and cities from when I lived in both Egypt and Poland. Grounded is set in an alternative world, and the action happens in that world’s version of Canberra.

Please share an enticing tag line of your current work with us.
In a world where flight is life, will two grounded people find other ways to fly?

Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
I’m always trying to bring more diversity into my writing, to reflect more of the world I live in and experience. The seed for Grounded was planted when I was with my friend Julia, who uses a motorized wheelchair. She was told a venue had wheelchair access, but that turned out to be via the goods lift and the kitchens. I was horrified, and she gave me that ‘oh my sweet summer child’ look, because I was just learning something that she’s lived with most of her life. So that incident made me want to write more about how people fit into a world that doesn’t always accommodate their physical needs, or even realise that it doesn’t.

Your novel is being made into a TV series/movie. Who’s in your dream cast?
Daniel Henney as Benedick Sasaki ( – I
even mocked up a picture of him with wings once. Clementine’s dress sense is based on Essie Davis’s Phryne Fisher so she’s kind of a Latina/Chilean younger Essie.

What’s your guilty writing procrastination secret?
The one that’s bad but sort of helpful is getting distracted by doing updates on my website.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Reading, travelling, going to the theatre, and larking about with friends. My dearest friends make me cackle like a lunatic, even when we’re just Skyping.

Where are your favourite places to read and to write?
We have made our second room in our little apartment into a reading haven – a sofa, bookshelves, reading lamps. My partner and I like to take a cup of tea, one end each of the sofa with all the cushions we want, and sit in companionable silence while we read. Sometimes we stop to read the best bits out to each other too.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
That, despite being an extrovert, I sometimes need my quiet time. I don’t know that anything else would be very surprising.

What books might we find on your bedside table?
A classic PG Wodehouse comedy; any book by Tansy Rayner Roberts, a bit of Sherlock Holmes (original and fanfiction), probably a romance – often regency and/or modern queer; and usually an anthology of some description.

What can we expect from you next? Are you working on anything new?
I’ve just submitted an urban fantasy, Kitty and Cadaver (about a rock band that uses music magic to fight evil), to my Melbourne publisher Clan Destine Press. I’m also in the final stages of prepping a collection, Scar Tissue and Other Stories, which CDP is publishing. Then I’m onto the fourth of the Duo Ex Machina novellas, Kiss and Cry.

Where can we find you and your books online?
Almost everything I do is on (or will soon be on) Amazon, but you can always go to my website – – to find the links to other sellers, including the paperbacks when they’re available.

Let's take a peek at Narrelle's new release, Grounded.

In a world where flight is life, will two grounded people find other ways to fly? 

When Benedick Sasaki's wings are wounded in the line of duty, the former policeman doesn't know if he has a place in a world where he can no longer fly. 

Then he meets Clementine Torres, an artist born without wings and a vocal advocate for the flightless who has been subjected to recent hate mail and vandalism ahead of her new exhibition. As Clementine starts to teach Benedick new ways to appreciate the world on the ground, the threats against her art and possibly her life begin to escalate. 

To survive, they will need to teach each other that not all beauty is in the air, and that both of them can soar without wings...

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