Inkpop Blog

Write, Read, Connect

Inside the Mind of a Bestselling Author

Posted by inkpopbecki on May 19, 2010

What does it take to become a New York Times Bestseller? Kim Harrison can tell you. She hasn’t just done it once, but multiple times. Want to know more? Come talk to her personally at the live chat today at 5 p.m. EST.

Photo Credit: Blue Heron Photography

How did you get started writing?
It was almost by accident that I got started writing.  I hadn’t taken any but the most basic English classes in high school, focusing on technical fields instead.  But I was a voracious reader, and so when the words started to flow, they came in a flood.  I actually got bored one weekend, and started to write down a story I’d had in my head for about ten years.  The next day, I wrote a little longer, and the day after that, I wrote longer yet until I was writing about four hours a day.  I treated it like a part-time job, until I could finally quit my day-job and work at it full time.

How did you find your literary agent?
I credit my writer’s critique group with me finding my literary agent.  One of the members was a published writer, and she arranged a party at a writer’s conference and invited a few agents with me and a couple other writers in mind.  I had actually submitted to Richard Curtis before, but after having met me and seen my drive, (and having nothing to do on the plane ride home) he read my work , asked me to make a few changes, and took me on when I proved I could work under direction.
What is it like writing in two separate genres? Do you have to keep certain things in mind when writing for one versus the other?  Are there similarities between the two genres that make it easier to cross over?
I quite enjoy writing in two genres.  It helps keep my storytelling from going stale, and I get bored easily.  I’m sure that I’m unconsciously keeping a lot of things in mind as I shift from one to the other, but much of that comes from simply changing from an adult character to one still living at home.  That I’m still writing about the supernatural is a big plus in that it makes the transition easier, but it doesn’t allow me to stretch my writing muscles as much as I’d like.

What do you think it takes to become a New York Times bestseller?
The same thing it takes to get to Carnegie Hall.  Practice, practice, practice.  And an editor who wants to see you there as much as you want to see


yourself there.  And a spouse to pick up the slack of daily living.  Oh, and someone to pay the bills until you start making enough money to keep yourself in paper and ink.  Okay, so it takes more than practice, but if you don’t write, you’ll never get there at all.

Kim’s new book, Early to Death, Early to Rise comes out May 25, 2010. Check it out here. Want more supernatural stuff? HarperCollins is bringing you vampires, witches, werewolves and more all summer long at

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