What’s a book blogger to do? Welcome today’s guest, Jennifer Harlow, of course! Jennifer is here to talk about her terrific new paranormal mystery/romance What’s a Witch to Do? (to see just how terrific, take a look at my review)
While you’re putting What’s a Witch to Do? on your to-do list, take a look at what Jennifer has to say about it.
Marlene: Jennifer, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jennifer: I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Okay, not really. I hate getting wet. Um…I’m the Amazon Bestselling author of the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series, I’m single, I live in Northern Virginia, and I spend my days thinking up ways to kill people. Just your typical gal.
Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Jennifer: I wake up, make the long five step trek to my desk, then spend ten minutes staring at the blank page before getting coffee for twenty more minutes of staring. Eventually the muse gets her ass to the office to help me (she’s in an abusive relationship with procrastination right now and really needs an intervention.) Really I have the main characters and the major plot points worked out years before I even pick up a pen, but sometimes those can change, so I’m both a pantser and planner. I think most writers are.
Marlene: All of your books so far are in the paranormal/urban fantasy/things that go bump in the night realm. Let’s face it, on your blog, you often say “welcome to the Darkside…” So what attracts you to that Darkside?
Jennifer: I don’t know where it comes from but I’ve always been drawn to horror and the paranormal. My grandmother was worried I’d go over to the “dark side,” as in become a feature on Deadly Women or something, but the darkness has always fascinated me. I like horror because it’s so dramatic like riding a roller coaster. You get to touch that darkness, that danger, but it can’t touch you back or hurt you. The paranormal is the unexplained, and we fear what we don’t understand. Plus with the paranormal you get to have a little magic in your life, even if it’s only in a book.
Jennifer: This one follows the most powerful witch in America who, on the busiest week of her life, finds out someone wants to kill her and take over her coven. There’s romance, humor, Southern hospitality, and plenty of suspense. Sales pitch over.
Marlene: In What’s a Witch to Do, Mona seems like a heroine for “the rest of us”. She’s not perfectly gorgeous, she’s not 22, she’s not a size 0, and her life is disorganized by a series of to-do lists that never quite get done. She’s wonderful! Was there a particular inspiration for Mona?
Jennifer: I often get asked if my character Bea from the F.R.E.A.K.S. is based off me. She’s far nicer, sweeter, and braver than me. If a horde of zombies was about to attack people I’d be running the other way, not picking up a machete to join in the fight. But Mona is the most like me. She has my former martyr syndrome, my overreaching grasp when it comes to all I commit to, my control freak tendencies, my intimacy issues, and my self-image problems. I think a lot of people, especially women, have the same quirks in being everything to everyone and weight static. Even my size 0 friends have the same static. I just wanted her to be a normal person in extraordinary circumstances. Even if she is the most powerful witch in America.
Marlene: Does your new Midnight Magic series tie into your F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series?
Jennifer: It does. Some of the F.R.E.A.K.S. even make cameos. I wanted to expand this world to include people who are different but don’t go looking for trouble, it just finds them. Everyone shows up in everyone else’s books and events from the past play into all the books. I have a timeline above my desk to keep it all straight, like a web. Like Mona I just hope my reach doesn’t exceed my grasp.
Marlene: Will there be more Midnight Magic books? What is next on your schedule?
Jennifer: This year is very, very busy for me. Besides What’s A Witch To Do? I have a short story out in Kindle Single form about FREAK teleporter Nancy, the third F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad book Death Takes A Holiday out in August, and may self publish something else. Then this time next year the next in the Midnight Magic book will be out. Mona and Adam appear but really it’s Alpha Jason’s story about his rise to power. And right now I’m working on the third Magic book whose focus is Anna West, who I introduced in the second F.R.E.A.K.S. book To Catch A Vampire. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.
Marlene: What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?
Jennifer: The commute. Five steps and the boss doesn’t mind if I work in my pjs. I also like controlling people who have no recourse. Bea never calls me bossy when I micromanage her life. Fake people are so much better than real ones.
Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask.
Jennifer: I am a huge, massive anglophile. I didn’t leave the house for a week when PBS began their all British all the time channel. I watch more British shows than American.
Marlene: Tell us the title of one book that you’ve faked reading.
Fifty Shades Darker. I kind of liked Fifty Shades of Grey, I read it in like three hours and wouldn’t read it again, but the second one was just soooooo boring and Ana’s passivity began to grate so I stopped after about fifty pages. I totally felt like kicking Christian Grey in the balls during those fifty pages. He’d probably get off on that though.
Jennifer: Soulless by Gail Carriger. That is one of my favorite covers ever. It’s like art.
Marlene: And what is the book that you most want to read again for the first time?
Jennifer: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. It was the last book where I had to spend all night reading it because I couldn’t put it down. I’m dying for the show to begin again.
Marlene: Morning person or Night Owl?
Jennifer: I used to be a massive Night Owl, even as a child I wouldn’t fall asleep until after midnight, but then I joined the working world and had to become a morning person. Stupid adulthood.
About Jennifer Harlow
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.