KD Harp: Faith Infused Fiction

Written By: carolmoye - May• 15•14

KD Harp

What’s the story behind your latest book?

It’s the story of why I write at all. I’m so tired of romance that can’t see the totality of the people involved. I understand the temptation. Suspense in particular is difficult to expand characterization. You’re juggling a suspense thread, a romance thread, and for many brick and mortar publishers, they want this done in only 75,000 words. Not much room for characterization and backstory, and a villain’s running amok through everything too. I love to multi-layer a scene, using setting, action, dialogue to reflect more than one thread’s progress, but come on! The end result is, most writers use physical behaviors as shorthand for emotions. (We copulated. That means we’re in LUV. Fifteen minutes of court TV shows can prove otherwise, but they persist in the myth).There’s never a real-life consequence for these behaviors of course, and I suppose if it’s a fantasy piece, that’s appropriate…Where’s the romance in that? People are totally shorting themselves settling for this in their fiction and their lives. I like smart people of character who’ll stand their ground on who they are, what they believe and what they’re going to tolerate in their world. Oh dear. The deal was, you’re supposed to stop me when I’m ranting…

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Pulling it from consideration by a major house.

 

Spencer code prodigal webpage CODE PRODIGAL sat with an editor for a year. I commented on and received every edit she wanted in fast, good humor. After gentle pings every quarter to see how things were going and getting out of office auto-replies, I saw a cattle call from the house for more submissions. That’ll make ya think. I’d also read industry news about the house in the interim and wasn’t so keen on them anymore, so I rewrote the story with the depth I wanted, but without the length requirements I could not accommodate. I wrote a longer, more satisfying version which borrowed a character from my other series, TRUE COLORS . I LOVE this cross series visit (it keeps them from Doing Stupid Just To Facilitate The Plot) and it meshes with the overall purpose of my career. Meanwhile, the SPENCER world also grew more characters to marry off. Add in this possible character ‘rights’ nightmare of that situation, one book published by this house, the others with shared characters published independently, and it’s a no brainer to withdraw it. I have others which may fit with a ‘big house’ someday, but this piece isn’t right for publishers who won’t negotiate, and no sane starting author would think they would. I try to be sane. …On occasion. (Incidentally, the editor, a very nice lady, kindly responded within minutes with a lovely ‘don’t be a stranger’ type reply. Go figure! Despite the horror stories I hear at writer watering holes, 90% of the editors and agents I’ve interacted with thus far have been very supportive and kind, enthusiastic, even connecting me someone who’s a better fit, and flat out stating they hope it finds a home, it’s just not the right fit for theirs. The other 10% weren’t unkind, they just were having an off day and missed the Next Literary Genius in their midst…) cough, choke.  Sorry. Something caught in mah throat there.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

Listen to what the pack advises, see what’s seems to be the current ‘universal truths’ and choose your own path. This is harder than it sounds, because as independent as authors like to think they are, in groups they are pack animals, often repeating rhetoric with no firsthand experience to back it up. If a thousand people say jump off the cliff and your gut says ‘hold on thar, Babba-Louie’, smile at the people in the room and listen to your gut. Listen to what they say, not the bottom line rule. Experienced authors often give the rationale behind their advice, often the numbers behind it and there ARE kind people who are generous to share their experience. It’s the why of the rule which matters most to you, not the rule. Don’t balance following every rule thrown out there, with having your own voice. Have your voice and see if the rules enhance it. Your bottom line is producing the most engaging, entertaining time with your pages as you can. People get very knee-jerk about those writer rules, too…
 
For instance, prologues are verboten these days to industry types. I love an appropriate prologue, as do my fans thus far. Everyone else can hate them. Mine make my villains someone to fear without jerking offstage to where they are in the middle of my hero and heroine’s story. They are crucial. My readers know the bad guys way better than my principals ever will. My principals can intelligently munch pizza right next to a psychopath while my readers are screaming at them to ask for a box and GET OUT! I still have editors/other writers going knee-jerk because instead of Chapter One, I labelled the material correctly, with a Forbidden Prologue. Hmm. FORBIDDEN PROLOGUE might make a good publishing world murder mystery… Write the thing. Write it badly if that’s the only way it can exist. (By the way, I just violated The Rules by using an adverb and the word ‘that’ and no one died as a result. You probably did not even NOTICE…) Fix your MS later. WRITE IT. You are playing writer if writing time isn’t built into your life. (You, in the back, stop whining about your schedule. We’ve all had classes to take or people in the hospital. Take the computer to the hospital and work while your loved one sleeps.) You are PLAYING if you aren’t doing it. You’re not a parent if you’re ‘thinking about having children.’ Don’t tell me you’re a writer if you aren’t writing. More importantly, quit lying to yourself.

Find authors: local groups who meet for coffee, online groups, industry recognized ones like Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, or American Christian Fiction Writers. Go to some conferences. (Learn it the Cheaper, Closer, Easy Way: my local RWA conference is a better place to score face time with editors/agents than national will ever be for new authors by far.) If you want to traditional or hybrid publish someday, the bare minimum you’ve GOT to have is something to show the professionals you’re serious about your career. Even that’s not a sure credential. I am gobsmacked to meet people who’ve paid out and attended conferences for YEARS without publishing or even querying. Get connected to the players, at least enough to learn how to make your work better. Risk your work. Query editors. Enter contests. It makes you get tougher. You’ll get impartial industry feedback. You might even score a contract. (I want 10% or at least an adoring mention in your dedication and good review on at least one of mine!) When feedback hurts your feelings, you’ll be that much closer to being ready to get bad reviews, and you have insight in what you can do to make your work ever better.(My alternate plan is a stockpile of tissues.) Remember, it’s about learning what you’ve missed to make your product shine, not collecting praise. When you win, you’ve added the term “award-winning’ author to your resume. You’ll be working now in less of a vacuum, knowing someone who doesn’t love you, personally loves your work. This is invaluable on those down days, and we all have down days. MOST IMPORTANT– Concentrate on your product. If you’re debating pen names and font types, your head is not where it needs to be. Write something worth reading again. (You, in the back, that’s MY tagline. Get your own!) No one’s gonna care if it’s Garamond or Times New Roman if you haven’t delivered on the story. If your brain’s still arguing with me about this, your head is definitely not where it needs to be. Want proof? Most beginner authors won’t even publish paperback. It’ll be electronic. AND THE READER will choose the font size and type, because they rule on electronic formatting and your precious download of Fantasia Gothic Impressa will not see the light of day. Now, go ‘like’ me on Facebook or write me a fabulous review in penance for doubting.

What do your fans mean to you?

A little background- God’s gotten me through far worse than the most embarrassing writing career, if that’s my fate, so no worries. Family and friends have been kind and supportive all along. My fans- they put their money where their mouth is. I remain flabbergasted at how humbling that feels and hope it NEVER changes. When they offer words of support in the midst of their busy days, it never fails to touch my heart. They stopped in the middle of all they are juggling to encourage me. I save that stuff for down days. So in a nutshell, their encouragement means the world to me. (My peers are busy with their own careers. We don’t have a joint project where everyone scores a lunch together to celebrate at the end. The End is a solo effort, followed by publishing tasks, marketing tasks, the growing concern about editing the next in the series, and getting that first draft rolling on the one which is three books down the pike going again…) Bottom line, my boss works me like a dog and unless I’m in the field doing research, this is a very solitary business. Without doubt, I’m FAR more attached to my supporters (an elite group of especially bright and kind persons) than they are to me. They have a chorus line of authors entertaining them. I just happen to be court jester of the day.

What are you working on next?

Thanks for asking! (Boy, do you know how to get an author in the palm of your hand, or whut?) My sister series, American Booksellers oriented TRUE COLORS, which is far more gritty than “ Spencer” (language, violence). WHITE LIES, the second in that series, is due out before Thanksgiving and it’s exciting to be getting reader prods to get that one in the public’s hands. WHITE LIES took fourth place in the multi-national Hook, Line, & Sinker! Awards and is in third edit now. It’ll percolate while I draft back cover copy, and complete the cover design for softcover editions. (You can peek at the cover on my website.) Then, hopefully, a final read-through edit, (Stop snickering at me! It could happen!) and it’s released to the four winds to find its place in this world. The next in the Christian Booksellers oriented “Fighting for the Heart of Spencer” series is RESCUE ME. Police Sgt. Ike Porter is rescuing a couple stranded in the midst of a hurricane ravaged river when an upstream dam breaks, and they ALL need a hand. Fortunately, Heather Harmon, a CERT volunteer, (Community Emergency Response Team) is working a home nearby and saves them. Unfortunately for her, she’s just left a murder scene and is marked up with all sorts of evidence, including using the murder weapon to save Ike and company… ) RESCUE is past initial edits but needs a final chapter by chapter edit and a read-thorough. Worse, its cover hasn’t even been drafted. My boss stinks, I tell you. (I serve on my local CERT board, by the way. Even if you can’t help others, it’s got great training for yourself and your family in case of a disaster. Check it out!)

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Truthful answer: Sleeping or buying groceries. Oh, and pretending I keep house. Fantasy answer (which doesn’t occur often enough these days): traveling, on a ride-along, four-wheeling in the Jeep, shooting my bow, remodeling the house, listening to Andrea Bocelli, beating the pants off the local cops at trivia. Note to self: Schedule Trivia Night for next week.

Back Cover Copy: CODE PRODIGAL

(Cast Your Cares): Lt. Col. Boone Ballestra’s finally found the courageous woman of his combat weary dreams. (Too bad he’s gotta dump her to save her from his sister’s Mafia in-laws.) Hugs & home-baked cookies sound good to a Marine back from OPS, but Boone’s got nothing but a note from his sister putting him on deck to fetch his 4 year old niece …20 minutes ago. A lifetime of cleaning up family messes makes this no surprise, but lead-footing it into camp just in time to stop the child’s Mafia Grampa from abducting her IS. The toxic in-law plans to stop Boone’s sister from testifying against his murderous son by making a pawn of his innocent grandchild. Fortunately camp director Brianna Parrish confronts the mobster, or spunky Savannah would be lost to them forever. …It’s not exactly how Boone planned to impress the woman who helped him watch over his sister while he served his country. Back home & in control, he has no intentions of relying on outsiders again, but his sister goes missing & Boone discovers knowing 100 ways to subdue an adversary is useless when it comes to your basic preschool princess wrangling. Brianna’s gifted insights however, console his traumatized niece,& decode parts of Boone he’s kept camouflaged from the world (& himself.) She even teaches the man with a boatload of concerns to ‘cast his cares’ on God, which sounds just dandy, until Brianna foils the mobs plans one time too many & puts herself in their cross-hairs. Boone pushes away the love he’s lacked all his life in order to keep Brianna safe. It’s the perfect plan, (if only she were the kind of gal to abandon the people she loves). When she doesn’t, Brianna’s marked for death. Boone will trade his freedom for Brianna’s in a heartbeat, which it just might cost them.

WEBSITES

More on K.D. at: http://www.kdharpbooks.com

K.D. Harp Author Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/kdharpbooks

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kdharp

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/kdharpbookscom

You can buy CODE PRODIGAL at major online retailers worldwide. (Available in regular and large print paperbacks and for Amazon Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.) Easy links to the format of your choice through http://www.kdharpbooks.com

Author Bio:

GENESIS award semi-finalist and native Atlantan K.D. Harp enjoys world travel, volunteering, and educating non-Southern folk about the appropriate use of the phrase “Bless his heart,” the original meaning of which has NOTHING to do with sarcastically calling someone a sucker or dimwit, and is properly used to imply a ‘there but for the Grace of God’ sentiment. Bored and dismayed by the trend in fiction to equate genuine love with the pale imitation of lust without personal investment, K.D. portrays people of character engaged with a world that lacks it. When they do it without losing the physical passion and sense of humor God would give to them, it’s a total win. This debut author needs all the support she can get in this endeavor. Your prayer support is coveted. The Georgia State University, B.B.A grad has no patience for dumb protagonists, and true to form, her female leads will MacGyver their way out of some sort of situation whether it’s jury-rigging a flamethrower with kitchen supplies or finding new uses for a fire extinguisher to escape an inferno. K.D. won 4th place in the nationwide 2012 Hook, Line & Sinker! contest. She volunteers for her local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and has been honored for her service to children and community with a Distinguished Service Award from her local Boy Scouts of America council. Of course, until she snags the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, the ultimate reward is a heartfelt “I love you” from her husband or son. (The things a person will write in order to get the trash taken out on time…) Thanks so much for visiting with me today! –K.D. Harp
 
dividing line

Note from Blog Author:

In addition to enjoying reading KD’s response to my interview questions, I read the prologues of Blackmail (True Colors) and Code Prodigal. They are both really exciting. So many twists and turns and so much excitement before the story even begins! I’m looking forward to reading both at a later point.

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