On March 5, I had the immense pleasure of being able to attend Kim Harrington’s launch party for her debut novel Clarity. I had the pleasure of arriving early to pick up two copies of Clarity (a great thing since they sold out of every copy in the store! All 80 copies) and then met up with some awesome blogger buddies (Ariane, Danielle B, Jen, Nikki, and Gail) to head out to lunch at Chipolte before the event. Awesomeness ensued at Chipolte and I was introduced to the Narwal Song (seriously how had I never heard that before!) by the fabulous Jen and Gail. We then headed back to Tatnuck where Kim was all prepared and greeting everyone. We then all went to Tatnuck’s event room which was great a socialized with a bunch of bloggers and authors who attended the signing while waiting for the event to start.
|Kim Harrington, Leigh Fallon (Carrier of the Mark) and Karsten Knight (Wildefire)
|So many people came to the launch! Not just bloggers but a bunch of local authors, like Leigh Fallon (Carrier of the Mark, Sept 2011) and Karsten Knight (Wildefire, July 2011). Kim’s editor Aimee Friedman (also author of Sea Change, The Year My Sister Got Lucky and others) also made the trip from New York for the event.
|Aimee Friedman and Kim Harrington with Clarity
We were all chatting and having a blast when we then called to order so the event could get underway. Kim was then introduced to a packed house by Nikki Mutch, the local sales rep for Scholastic.
Kim then took to the podium. Kim started about by discussing her journey to being a published author. For as long as Kim can remember, she was a voracious reader and always wanted to be a writer. Kim’s parents wanted Kim to have an enlarged photo of herself when she was younger up with books the whole time of the event but Kim didn’t want that but did show the picture off to everyone in the room.
While discussing her childhood, the first thing Kim remembers writing is a poem about a dog. When she was younger, Kim really loved the ocean and had a strange obsession with sharks (she even had a small one in a formaldehyde jar). One day she decided she was gonna write a book about sharks so she went to all her books about sharks and copied lots of facts about sharks and called it her own book. After that shark book, in 2nd Kim wrote a story about a house that swallows children who walk by. Kim admits she has a strange fascination with violence and horror.
Kim’s journey to become a writer changed in high school. During high school, Kim questioned herself about if she really wanted to be a writer and want to be poor her whole life. For her whole life, Kim wanted to be a writer, so in high school she took a career test to see what jobs she might be good at and got florist, lawyer or accountant. When she went to a job fair she decided to become an accountant. So Kim went to school as an accountant major, but ended up changing majors to a marketing major, and graduated with a degree in marketing.
All throughout college, the fascination with writing was still there. So Kim decided to challenge herself and see if she could write a book and just finish one – she did finish one but she admits it was crap but now she knew she could write a book.
Kim recalls an important phone call with her parents, where one of her parents (she admits she can’t remember which and bet they would fight over who gave her the advice later) asked her a very important question: “Do you still enjoy writing? Then write another book.” This lead to Kim ending up writing Clarity.
After recounting her journey to publication. Kim then did a short reading from Clarity, and proceeded to a Q&A with the audience. I did the best I could taking notes so any errors people are my own.
Where did your idea for Clarity come from? Kim admits she heard one voice, a voice of a teenager girl who said “Welcome to the freak show” (a line still in the book) and only that one voice. From their Kim proceeded to play the “What if?” game about that voice in her head and from that Clarity was born. Kim decided to set the book in Cape Cod but created a fictional town for freedom to create whatever she wanted. She found inspiration where she could.
What’s the inside joke? (a result of something Kim said while reading about the name of girl murdered in Clarity) In the original version of the book, the girl had a hard to pronounce last name that needed to be changed. Her good friend Susan then said “Kill me!” enthusiastically. So Kim did, using her friends name for the girl killed in the book.
How did you learn to write? Practice and more practice. You learn by doing and keep writing. Some agents will help develop story and craft. Since Kim was a marketing major, she had no actual schooling for writing, so she read as many books as she could on writing and took some advice from that. But the way to learn is to practice and learn from the makes you make and continue writing to make it better.
Are you ever going release the short stories you wrote before being published? Probably not because the short stories were horrifically violent.
How much of Clarity is Kim? Kim admits that people who know her will recognizes Clare’s sarcasm as Kim’s. Clare’s eating habits are extremely similar to Kim’s too, such as her hate of the smell of sea food, coke for breakfast and basically any other eating habits of Clare’s are also Kim’s.
Where there any major changes from the first draft to the finished version? The motivation for the crime in the original draft was different than the finished version. Originally Clare’s house burned down. There was a lot more violence in the original draft.
What book do you wish had been available when you were a teen? Kim admits she wished the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins had been published when she was a teen. That book series would have really appealed to her violent side. Kim also admitted to reading a lot of Stephen King while growing up.
Is there a particular song that represents Clarity? For the darker scenes: Closer by Kings of Leon and Army of Me by Bjork. There were a few more that I didn’t get but Kim says she plans on posting a playlist on her website.
What are you working on now? Right now she is working of on the edits of Perception, the sequel to Clarity(out March 2012). Kim is also working on a standalone ghost story (currently untitled) that will be out in Fall of 2012.
Where the three books before Clarity YA? One was YA, one college and one was adult.
How long does it take you to write? It took Kim 9 months to write Clarity and about the same amount of time for Perception but she was doing Clarity edits at the same time. She thinks the new book she is writing now will take the same amount of time as the other two.
The last question came from Kim’s son who didn’t think he should have to wait until he is 12 to read Clarity to which Kim responded that Scholastic rated it 14+ and her should be lucky she was only making him wait until he was 12. Much laughter ensued after this.
After the Q&A, Kim began signing to a line that seemed to NEVER end.
But people didn’t mind waiting since there was cake.
And tarot card readings to keep everyone interested.
Here are some pictures from the event. Including pictures of the AWESOME CLARITY shirts some of us had made.
|All of Us in our AWESOME Clarity Shirts!
|Kim and I
If you’ve made it this far, I will reward you with a giveaway. Luckily I was able to pick up an extra copy of Clarity before the store sold out and was able to get it signed. So below is a form you can fill out to enter to win ONE SIGNED COPY OF CLARITY. Contest is open in US only and ends March 25, 2011 (3/25/11).