Kathleen Harryman Interview

Kathleen Harryman lives in York, where she writes psychological thrillers, suspense and mystery books. As child Kathleen loved pretending to be an author, filling page after page with scribblings, mimicking her favourite authors. Now, she writes as an author herself.

What inspired you to write?
I have always loved reading; even as a small child I would always be found with my nose in a book. There is such pleasure to be found when a story sweeps you away to new places.
This has been my inspiration, and what has pushed me to become an author, to tell my own stories. I hope that when someone reads one of my books, they find the same pleasure as I have felt when a story unfolds.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
There is something inside me which feels whole when I am writing.
My inspiration to actually write comes from everything around me. A woman sat waiting for someone; who is she waiting for? Friends? Sister? Brother? Lover? The possibilities are endless, and it is only the beginning in which a story starts.

How did you tell your story? Did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
When inspiration hits, I just have to write the idea down. With my second book, it was just one line. 'What's wrong with being a psychopath?' and the story came from there.
In my head I knew the beginning and how I wanted the book to end. This was the only outline I allowed myself, the rest was just me writing. I like the freedom that this gives me, rather then sticking to a set outline of what is going to happen, and when.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
I have a wonderful family, and some pretty amazing friends, that have encouraged me every step.
I truly am blessed.
My mum and dad are so proud of me, and that in itself is an amazing feeling. Isn't it every child's dream to make their mum and dad proud?

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The hardest part is when I've finished. I will read my finished book through a number of times, to make sure I am happy, or that I haven't missed something out that I feel is crucial to the story and character/s.
It's that final stage in which I'm ready to submit to the publisher, and that's when the nerves kick in, and I get really protective of it.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
What I really like about writing is the development of the characters. I have such an awful lot of fun with this.
Even though When Darkness Falls is written from the killers perceptive I wanted people to get to know her, and in some ways to even like her, or to certainly see things from her point of view. Almost like a guilty pleasure, to not want to agree with how she sees a situation, but to secretly think 'yeah I get where you're coming from.'

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
I don't know whether I would say 'personal transformation', however I think when any book is complete, and during the writing process, there comes a level of research, and understanding that you go through, which helps you to become more open to things, and less critical.

Have you received any awards for your book(s)?
Wouldn't that be just amazing!
Sadly not at the moment, but you never know.

Are you working on a new book at the moment?
Yes, my mind never stops coming up with new material, I couldn't imagine not writing.
I'm currently working on a thriller called The Gas Man.

Do you have any author appearances coming up and/or are you doing any books giveaways or contests?
I have all sorts of promotional events coming up in the future, these are being arranged so I don't have dates etc. at the moment, but these will be advertised on my website once confirmed.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
As a mum writing can be a real juggle. Kids don't really care if you are having a creative moment, if they want something or need you, writing gets put to one side. Creativity wise it can be quite a distraction; however I try to balance this by taking time out just to go walking with our dog. My mind can start to unwind and inspiration can start to take over once more.
Both my books have come to me while I've been out walking. I think its the freedom to allow the mind to travel on an unconscious level, without force or need.
I'm more relaxed while out walking, which probably opens my mind up to be creative.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
Criticism however well placed can be difficult to hear. I try to be objective to it, after all if we all liked the same things it would be a very drab world.
We are all made to have our own opinions, and that's what criticism is, someone else's opinion; not that I'm saying it doesn't always hurt, because it can. A book is like our baby, and don't we all want our babies to flourish and be liked by everyone.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in a place called Goole. Don't worry if you've never heard of the place, not many people have.
There was a real sense of community when I was a kid, on bonfire day the whole street would get together, some would build the bonfire, and sort out the fireworks, and some of us would all bring food to the event. Mum and Dad made amazing batches of toffee. We all had a great time.
My worst memory as a child was when our family dog died. I had never known life without him. His name was Rodin, and he was a beautiful black Labrador, really sweet natured. The house just felt really empty without him. I remember not wanting to go home from school, because I knew he wouldn't be there, and the thought was just the saddest thing. It's truly amazing how our pets touch us, so deeply and completely.

Favorite book?
My favourite books have to The Secret Seven and Famous Five. I grew up reading these books, and now my kids read them. I love listening to them read these books.

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
If I had a choice of meeting absolutely anyone, I would pick David Bowie.
He was and still is inspirational.
David Bowie was such a multidimensional person; it wasn't about just the music, or the fashion, the paintings/artwork, but he was also a devout humanitarian. And he also loved reading!!!

Is there a talent you wish you had?
I am a total failure when it comes to languages, and would love to be bilingual.

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I am up really early, and when I say early I mean 3:30am in the morning early.
Crazy right! But then while you're all tucked up in your beds, I get to walk beneath the stars, see a deer as it dashes across the field, or a fox on its way home.