Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Author Interview: Kim Harrington (Clarity)

Kim Harrington lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. When not writing, she's most likely reading, watching one of her favorite TV shows, or fantasizing about her next vacation. She has no psychic powers and is cool with that. Her debut young adult novel, Clarity, came out on March 1, 2011 from Scholastic.

From author's website.

Clarity is an interesting blend of murder mystery and paranormal. What inspired you to combine these two elements? Were you drawn more to one genre over the other?

I’ve always found the paranormal fascinating and entertaining, but I love writing mystery. So I thought it would be a fun way to combine the two, and the characters were really the inspiration for it all. I can imagine myself writing a mystery/thriller without paranormal aspects, but I wouldn’t write a paranormal without mystery elements.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing a mystery novel?

It’s keeping the balance. I want to give enough clues to keep the suspense high, but not so many that it becomes predictable. I want the reader to be able to figure some of the truth out, but not all of it. It’s a delicate balancing act.

Clare is so spunky and full of life. Did you draw inspiration from yourself or someone you know as you created her character?

Her sarcasm definitely comes from me, but I never had her courage. She’s a fun character to create, and I have a lot of respect for her.

What was the first scene you ever wrote for this novel? Has it changed at all over the publishing process?

The first scene I wrote was what is now chapter two. It surprisingly didn’t change much at all. Chapter one changed back and forth. There was a scene that does not exist now and it was replaced with what is now chapter one’s “flash forward.”

Many of the characters believe that Clare and her family are frauds. Do you believe some people in the real world have psychic abilities, or are you more of a skeptic?

I’m a skeptic, but I try to keep my mind open. I’ve visited six different psychics and I don’t believe any of them were real. However my mother claims to have visited one in Dublin, Ireland who was spot on. So, who knows?

What inspired Clare’s unique gift? If you could have the same power as one of the Ferns, whose power would you choose?

I knew I wanted each family member to have a different gift and did a bit of online research into psychic abilities to decide which three I wanted. From that point on, I created some rules around each of their gifts, because if they were pounded all day long with voices and ghostly images, they would certainly be insane. For Clare’s gift, I decided to make it retrocognitive (seeing images from the past) because it appealed to the skeptic in me more than a gift in which the person can see the future.

For myself, I would rather have no power at all! But, if forced to choose, I think Clare’s ability is the least intrusive into a normal life. Perry’s gift is creepy and I think I would use Starla’s too much and drive myself crazy. :)

Did you know from the start who the murderer would be, or did you discover it along the way? Did it make the novel harder or easier to write?

Before I start a novel, I have to know the ending. It’s the only way I can write. Especially for a murder mystery. I need to plant clues and red herrings along the way. Before I got deep into the writing, I developed the characters. I made a list of all the suspects, their secrets, and their motivations so I could release the information in what I hope was a suspenseful way.

What character from another YA novel would be Clare’s best friend if they were to suddenly jump off the page and into the “real world”?

Sophie from HEX HALL or Kate from THE LIAR SOCIETY. I think the three of them would get along very well!

What is a random fact readers probably don’t know about you?

I was a DJ for my college radio station. That was a lot of fun!

What can you tell us about future books in the Clarity series? Do you have any other projects in the works?

The next book is called PERCEPTION and will be out in March 2012. Clare will have another mystery to solve and a big decision to make. I also have a standalone novel, a ghost story, coming in Fall 2012.

Thanks so much for having me, Casey!

For more about this author, please visit:

Thanks so much to Kim for taking the time to answer my questions!

Don't forget to hop over to my review post and enter to win one of two copies of Clarity!


TheGirlOnFire said...

Well I am fairly sarcastic as well so this makes me even more intrigued to read this book. I think that its cool you based her partially off of your personality.

Stephanie- thegirlonfire
thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

Vivien said...

I'm intrigued to read the first scene she ever wrote since it didn't change at all.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

This is one that is definitely causing quite a buzz in the blogosphere and on Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. Looking forward to picking this one up!

coffeeandabookchick at gmail dot com

Jessy said...

By what I've heard about Clare, I think her and Sophie from Hex Hall would be thick as thieves! Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to reading Clarity.

lisa :) said...

Great interview! I like the question/answer about the most challenging aspect of writing a mystery. I've realized more and more as I read mysteries that the ones I like best are the ones where the balance Harrington describes is well done. I can only imagine how difficult that actually is to pull off as a writer!

Julie said...

Great interview! It's funny how some of the authors are skeptics about whatever they write about. Like Kim is a skeptic psychics but wrote about it. Wonder why she chose that paranormal aspect? I mean you don't have to be a believer. It's just interesting. I met Allison DuBois (TV show Medium) once. I totally believe she can talk to the dead. Plus, she works with the police. There's definitely frauds. Even she said so. I also had a psychic reading once. Everything came true. It was bizarre! Anyways..cool that she likes Hex Hall! This sounds like a great book :) Fab interview!

Lauren M said...

Fab interview! Great questions. Kim sounds like a really neat person! :)

Deborah~ said...

Hi, Casey, I'm new to your blogbooand just love it. Your reviews and interviews are well thought-out and very interesting. I particularly liked this one. Makes me want to read the book which is always a sign of a good review!
I hope you'll stop over and see my book blog, as well. I review books, too, and love reading!
I'm a new follower, so I'll be back, and I'll list you on the blogs I'm reading. Cheers,

Pamela Kaye said...

Glad to hear there is a mystery thrown into the book, not just paranormal magic. Thanks for the post, can't wait to read!

soulunsung said...

This was a fantastic interview, thanks for sharing it with us. I kind of love that Kim is a skeptic when it comes to psychic's, because that's something that I can relate to as well. And I also think that combining the paranormal with mystery which involves murder is a fantastic recipe for a good book.

That being said, I do enjoy your blog quite a bit, and I am excited to see what she further has to offer. :)

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