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Interview with Harriet Everend

A Little Something about Harriet Everend

Harriet Everend is a pen name the author of Cursed Legacy uses to give herself some anonymity as she lives out her nightmares in her terror filled horror story. She is 32 years old - native of Iowa, where she lives happily with her spouse, three cats, and one dog. She's been writing her stories since the middle grade - with Cursed Legacy as her debut novel.

Questions and Answers:

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

It was after a writing assignment in middle school (we were assigned to write a short story on a certain theme...couldn’t tell you what that was to this day), and how much fun I had completing this and how happy and fulfilled I was.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

It varies. Short stories, I can complete in a day or a week. Longer stories, it’s between 1 month to 6 months. I only have one book currently published - had most of it written in 8 months, but due to edits, several revisions, and a severe bout of depression, it took closer to 17 months.

3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Currently, I’m working from home with a very flexible schedule, but that may change when I start my new job in a couple weeks where I have to go back to the office. I tend to write best at night (around 6:00 PM until about 10 PM - 12 AM).

4. What would you say is your unique writing quirk?

I don’t know if it’s unique, but I tend to write my books out of order (I almost never start in the beginning) - I usually write the ending first, then hop around as I see fit).

5. Whether it be traditional, self, or story book apps. How do you find the publishing process?

I prefer self-publishing, as that is what I did; however, people need to remember that no matter how you publish, you’re all still valid and one is not better than the other. Self-publishing was right for me as I am a control freak and did not want to give up much in terms of creative control, and I want to use my marketing degree to its potential.

6. How much of your writing process involves research in your subject matter or plot?

For “Cursed Legacy”, there was a bit of research as each chapter takes place in a different year (sometimes decade), and I wanted the information for setting purposes to be as accurate as possible. So, a fair amount. Depending on the subject, it may be more or less in the future.

7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book in 7th grade/12-13 years old (going back to that writing assignment) - it ended up being 12 pages long, single spaced and about a girl joining the military against her father’s wishes.

8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I like to scrapbook, amateur photography, genealogy research, road trips, going on wine/brewery tours, work on getting my marketing business up and going, watching movies.

9. What does your family think of your writing?

My parents didn’t know what to think at first until I told them it was published and my mom read it. It definitely was not her genre, but she thoroughly enjoyed it and wants me to do this as a full-time career.

10.What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books (characters, location, plot)?

How easy it is to find a creative way to kill a character in my book despite limited resources - as well as how I came to learn I hate writing filler sections (yes, they need to be there, but it’s incredibly hard).

11.What is it you particularly like about the genre you write?

I love horror movies (more like supernatural/psychological and not gory), and how there aren’t as many writers in that field as there are in others. Also, I feel I have enough twisted personal tales that need to be shared in story form.

12.Do you have any suggestions to help others become writers? If so, what are they?

One that might be cliché, but definitely helps is reading quite a bit (and a variety of genres as well). Picking up the pen and writing down your story/thoughts is the most surefire way to get a start. Dreaming about writing a book is nice, but nothing will get accomplished until you pick up the pen and start writing what’s in your heart and/or your mind.

13.Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Honestly, maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have heard nothing but wonderful things about my book so far (I’m still waiting on that one bad/one star review that I know is coming). They like how I executed the complex timeline, some of the characters, the overall premise and how unique I was able to make a story from a board game.

14.Do you like to create books for your target audience?

I’m still trying to figure out my target audience, ha-ha. I don’t think I try to write for a specific audience -- I just write what I want to write and if someone reads it, great. If not, that’s fine too.

15.What do you think makes a good story?

For me, what makes a great story is plot-driven, captures my attention from the beginning, characters that are fleshed out and relatable. Another thing that makes a good story is if there’s a twist or ending I didn’t see coming or if the writer knows how to build up a real sense of fear while I’m reading.

16.How do you handle writer’s block and what do you tell other aspiring authors who may be fighting or fearful about hitting that wall?

We’re all going to hit writer’s block at some point as a writer. I hate it myself and took several breaks while writing “Cursed Legacy” so the story didn’t veer off-course because I wanted to push through the block. Suggestions I have for it is this: there is no shame in taking a break, stepping away from your story for a bit. Write a different section, work on something else not related to the piece giving you the block or take a few days away to get a clearer head. Another thing I found that helps is watching movies in the genre I’m writing to try and see if that sparks some inspiration. The point is, don’t try and force yourself through the block. That ends up doing more harm than good for your story.

Final Thoughts:

We could all use a little controlled horror in our lives. And what better way to experience a little gore and fear than in a good book. I just ordered my copy of this authors debut novel and I cannot wait to dive head first into her macabre world of horror, danger, and gore.

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