Today I’m asking Kim Harrington a few questions about her debut novel CLARITY — which was a blast to read, I must say! I’m already looking forward to the sequel, entitled PERCEPTION. (And I happen to know that Kim has written about 100* more novels since she sold CLARITY, so there’s plenty more coming down the pipeline.)
So without further ado . . .
1. VERONICA MARS (which you mention in your acknowledgments) offered us teen noir crime detection with a femaleprotagonist, but CLARITY ups the ante with paranormal teen noir crime detection (along with an equally spunky heroine). What inspired you to go this direction? Why psychics?
To be honest, when I was a little girl I wanted so badly to be psychic. I read all these books about ESP and tried to read my friends’ minds and all that. So maybe creating main characters with paranormal gifts is a bit of wish fulfillment. Plus, it’s so fun to write!
2. I read in a great interview at Novel Novice that, as part of your research, you actually went to psychics for readings. Did they say anything that gave you a chill – any evidence of a legit paranormal ability? Or was it mostly just an entertaining show? (Or not-so-entertaining?).
None of the ones I visited were chill-inducing. They mostly made general statements that almost anyone my age could fit into their life somehow. But it was definitely entertaining and fun! I should totally drag you to one when we’re in Salem together in April. We can blog it! Agree now! Publicly! 🙂
I AGREE. Can’t wait! (Hey, if we’re going to be ghost-busting in our haunted hotel rooms, might as well get a psychic reading, too. May prove helpful.)
*Ahem* Back to questions . . .
3. Also, during your research did you find any other “family acts” of psychics? I loved this bit, especially the backstory – the ways of the Berkshire Hills spiritualist community that spawned the Ferns could be a novel of its own. Are there actual communities like this?
I did visit one family of psychics who worked out of the first floor of their home. They didn’t do tandem readings. You just got sent into a room with whoever had an opening. I’d already written CLARITY at this point and was working on the sequel. So I was excited to visit a family of psychics, but unfortunately this one ended up being the least entertaining of all of them. Ah well!
Regarding the “spiritualist community” the Fern family originates from, I did base it off two areas. One was a community in Western Massachusetts that I found on the Internet. The other is the more well-known community of Lily Dale, NY.
4. I know from your blog and Twitter that music is an important part of your creative process. What songs kept you inspired while writing CLARITY?
I’m definitely inspired by music when drafting a novel. For CLARITY’s darker scenes, songs like Placebo’s Running Up That Hill, Echo & The Bunnymen’s The Killing Moon, and Closer by Kings of Leon got me into the right mood. For Clare’s general kick-assery, I listened to Army of Me by Bjork and Daughters of the Kaos by Luscious Jackson.
Wow, it’s a little weird to hear that Placebo cover of "Running Up That Hill" because, being old, I am much more familiar with the Kate Bush version (which is not nearly as creepy and therefore less suited to your needs). Thanks so much for answering my questions, Kim!
Readers, if you’d like your own copy of CLARITY, plus more books and SWAG, please check out my giveaway.