Kim Harrison is the creator of the New York Times bestselling series about the Hollows, a seemingly ordinary Cincinnati suburb with one distinguishable difference – It is populated primarily by vampires, witches, weres, pixies, and other supernatural beings. In a follow up to my recent review of her latest novel, The Outlaw Demon Wails, Kim Harrison was kind enough to take time out of her hectic book tour schedule to provide some thoughtful answers for an interview.
Damian: You are adept at creating a credible, deeply dimensioned universe with an alternate history, allowing the reader to easily imagine a world in which supernatural entities ‘came out of the closet’ after ‘the Turn,’ and yet even your most otherworldly characters seem very believable and ‘human,’ as it were. Where do you find inspiration for your characters and their stories?
Harrison: Thank you! I love spending time with my characters, and I know them better than my real neighbors. Much of the inspiration for them comes from the story itself. I enjoy learning about the characters as Rachel does, little by little much as anyone gets to know someone new in their life, so that preempts much of the pre-story character building process. I really don’t have a hard and fast answer for where the inspiration for the people who populate the Hollows comes from. They spring up to fill a need, and I enjoy finding out who they really are. I’ve made it a rule to not base my characters on people I know, but I will take bits and pieces of people I know.
Damian: What do you read in your spare time? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Harrison: Unfortunately, as the books become more popular, I find I have less and less time for reading in my spare time. But I have been reading some of the up and coming and new talent, and I enjoy Rachel Vincent, Vicki Pettersson, and just now starting her writing career, Jocelynn Drake. I can’t wait for her first book to come out, Nightwalker, scheduled for this summer.
Damian: You write about supernatural characters as the basis for the Hollows alternate universe. Do you have any personal beliefs regarding supernatural phenomena?
Harrison: I do, but they are really quite bland, and I don’t want to bore anyone.
Damian: Your books have been categorized under a variety of topics. They are sometimes found in the horror section of bookstores and sometimes categorized as fantasy/science fiction. How do you feel about being categorized into a particular genre, and what terms would you use to describe your work?