SC Harrison is one of those authors that impress with their ability to produce multiple works at the same time. It’s one thing to attempt to take on a lot of projects, but to consistently produce a variety of quality fiction at once is something extraordinary. This is what SC Harrison is able to do and it’s one of the reasons why I’m a big fan. If you haven’t read Planks yet, I suggest you drop everything right now and do so. I read it twice upon release and it’s now among my favourite works of short horror fiction.
I’m excited that SC Harrison was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. On top of it, she also provided an exclusive excerpt from her next book Sustain, which is due to come out on December 2nd. Sustain is book two in the Revive series.
The excerpt follows the interview. I think you’ll find Harrison’s answers entertaining and illuminating.
Recommended SC Harrison Links:
SC Harrison Interview
How did you get into writing?
I started writing out of necessity. In my last semester of college I was severely limited in the classes I could take that would finish out my electives so I could graduate on time. Creative Writing fit my schedule and fell in line with my goal of avoiding any and all real work. It was in this class that I first wrote any fiction. It broke down some walls for me, and I realized there was no insurmountable obstacle holding me back from actually writing a book if I so pleased. To people who have never written anything it’s almost impossible to imagine writing a novel. So when the stroke of inspiration hit me for REVIVE, that was all I could do. Write. It was an addiction that still hasn’t let up. I imagine if I didn’t have writing, I’d be terribly frustrated. Maybe on the street. You know. Walking my prized purebred past my mansion bought with all the money I made working instead of writing.
Your bio over at Goodreads states that you hate most YA. What is it that drives you crazy about the genre?
I used to work for a library where I became friends with the YA librarian, so she really got me into a lot of YA. I just devoured it, over ten books a month for nearly a year, and then burned myself out on it overnight. They were all the same. A lot of the dialogue seemed unnatural, plots were forced, common sense was absent, and none of the characters seemed to possess one ounce of forethought. I found myself arguing more and more with the protags who insisted on making stupid decision after stupid decision and dragging out the misery like no one’s business. Also, who said that all young relationships have to be heartbreaking and turbulent? I wanted to write about intelligent characters who treat each other fairly and respectfully, who think through their decisions and don’t let every superficial little bump in the road completely overwhelm them. My characters are stronger, and therefore their challenges are more difficult. This is what makes a book worth reading.
In what ways is the Revive series different?
The REVIVE series should be viewed as one very, VERY long book. No time is lost between installments and the action picks up immediately, as if one book’s end and the other’s beginning was no more than a chapter break. The reader is there to experience every interaction, feel every nuance of emotion between characters, and see them grow from struggling teenagers to forces strong enough to topple armies. REVIVE is different because I give my characters that freedom. They won’t always be good. They won’t always be the heroes, and their villains won’t always be evil. Each character’s latitude over the course of the story is wide enough to keep the hairpin turns hidden until the last moment, or so I hope, so that when the reader is thrown this way and that he or she will have no idea which is up and which is down. I do hate a predictable story.
Revive, the first book in the series, came out a year ago but then it was pulled. It’s now back. What was that about?
FUNNY STORY ABOUT REVIVE. I published it, had a major crisis of confidence, de-published it and cried alone in my closet for days, and pretty much decided to never even think about it again. But then time went on. My mom bugged me about it. Strangers emailed me asking when the sequel was coming out. Coworkers who hadn’t read for pleasure in years and years actually picked it up and couldn’t put it down. People liked it. So I had to work on it, fix everything about it that made me cringe, and then see it through. I know what it’s like to get hooked on a series that never made it to completion. I didn’t want to do that to anyone. So here we are.
Tell us about your cats.
My fur children! We (my husband and I) rescued them, mostly from fields around a Bad Part of Town when they were just kittens. They have been my constant companions while writing and frequently inspire me to stop whatever I’m doing and clean the house.
Planks is based on one of those intriguing ideas that make me wish I had thought of it first. How did you come up with the setting?
PLANKS came straight out of a nightmare. I have them pretty much nightly, and this one was fairly typical. The nightmare consisted of me walking into (onto) a haphazardly constructed trailer park floating on top of a swamp. The ground beneath the shacks was no more than taped together old doors, tarps, and anything flat. The whole neighborhood, I guess you could say, shifted and tilted and creaked beneath my feet. Water crept up from every seam. You see I didn’t get too terribly creative past what my subconscious doled out. I tend to do what it says.
What do you have planned for the future? On your website there are dates for the four remaining books in the Revive series. Is there anything else in the pipeline?
My star is still in the wings. I love the REVIVE series dearly and, as I’ve posted, will see that through to the end, but my baby is a novel by the name of SOME LOSER NAMED CHAMOMILE. It’s the story of a charmingly eccentric girl, an abusive boyfriend, and the hallucinations she uses to get revenge. I had considered releasing it last summer but then REVIVE came back and demanded all my attention. CHAMOMILE is much darker. It may appear to be YA on the surface but it’s definitely not for kids. Or anyone, really. I’m going to get a lot of complaints about it. But I love it. I absolutely cannot wait to get it out there.
A lot of people have asked if I’m going to write anything more like PLANKS, and I don’t think I can write anything else, really. That’s my style now. While I don’t have any more stories lined up in the PLANKS universe at the moment, I am working on something with that same distorted utopia theme, that same stark atmosphere. That’s where I feel most at home nowadays. In the dark and damp.
Sustain (Revive #2) Exclusive Preview
Just as Card said, I left no footprints. I picked up my foot and watched as perfectly smooth snow sprang up under my sneaker, like my shoe had only passed through the flakes instead of compacting them to slush. I kept my eyes glued to the ground in wonder with every step I took. Before I thought about where my magical feet were taking me, however, I was lost.
I looked up and found myself in a different part of the woods, away from where I wanted to be. I spun in place and tried to recognize something from yesterday in the alien landscape, but I had lost all sense of direction. A harsh wind blew snow out of the tree limbs, covering me with freezing water. I shivered.
Nothing here was familiar. Not at all.
It was still early morning and visibility beyond the nearest trees was poor. I took a few steps in a random direction and called again, feeling stupid and more than a little frightened. Were the bears already hibernating? We hadn’t seen any wildlife at all…
I heard a sound in the distance—boots crunching through the snow. I breathed a sigh of relief and was about to race toward it when something brought me up short.
Those weren’t Card’s footsteps.
I didn’t know how I knew, but I was one hundred percent positive that wasn’t how it sounded when Card walked through snow. I ran behind a tree and made myself as thin as possible, trying to still peek out around the trunk when I remembered I was a faerie.
I closed my eyes and pressed my palms to the bark. Now seeing through the tree I opened my eyes to a wide view of the forest.
A dark figure trudged through the snow in my vague direction. It had a definitely masculine lope and wore a long black coat and big black hat with a thick scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face.
My heart exploded in panic. He must have heard me yelling for Card. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
I made myself focus. The man was walking slowly, looking this way and that, as if unsure of his course. Was he with a search and rescue team? Was he looking for me? Or was he something worse? He had a backpack but didn’t look like a camper, and that stupid hat must have been part of a uniform. No one in his right mind would willingly wear that monstrosity out of the house.
He came nearer still. My muscles locked up. It was a miracle he hadn’t spotted me already, in my blue jeans and black jacket against the shimmering white snow. The only thing I could do was hold my breath until he went away, if he went away.
But he didn’t. He came closer still, scanning the silent woods with every step. A long bow hung between his shoulders, next to glistening, razor sharp arrows…
I was still frozen in fear when an invisible hand slapped over my mouth, forcing me into unconsciousness.