Sunday 21 April 2013

Author Interview – Marie Harbon


Marie, was the research for the novel huge or hard? Once I’ve highlighted the needs of the plot, I tend to take notes from the books and web pages I’ve read, indicating how it fits in with my story. Smaller details and any location research are often researched as I progress through the book, reflecting where I need more detail. It can be quite difficult to capture the feeling of a country or city if you’ve never been there, but I find there’s plenty of information online, such as tourism sites and YouTube.

What are the best aspects of writing? In many ways, I’d say the second draft is the most pleasurable, in that you’re not faced with a totally blank page. At this stage, you can really lay down the more emotional aspects of the story, such as the character’s thoughts and feeling in each situation. It’s where you really cut the diamond. I enjoy writing both action sequences and relationship interactions, one because you get to create dangerous and exciting situations where you can kill characters in highly imaginative ways, and the other because you can really touch the soul of the reader, creating joy or heartbreak.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? Like many writers, I find sections of a book where it doesn’t flow so easily and when you’re staring at a blank page, it can be frustrating. The final read through can make you want to gouge your eyes out, so it’s handy to have something else to work on for a bit.

Can you tell us about your main character? Max is a central character in the second book, as it’s his demons and ruthlessness that links the character arcs of Tahra, Paul, Ava and Sam. In the first book, we came to understand him as an enigma with a controlling and narcissistic side however, in the second book, his darker side emerges and runs riot, creating absolute chaos for everyone else. We start to see how his objectives are not only personal, but are tied to a greater over-arcing programme involving a sinister military organisation.  The question is: where will his actions lead, to victory or will they have tragic consequences?

How important do you think villains are in a story? You definitely need some sort of antagonist in a story to provide the conflict, otherwise the story arc can become rather flat. However, I’m not one for cookie-cutter bad guys. Good people make mistakes and can be mean sometimes, while even sometimes the bad guy can have feelings and regrets. In real life, that black-white distinction doesn’t exist, but there are many shades of grey. Although Tahra is essentially a good person at heart, her experiences in the first two parts of the second book draw out the darker aspects of her personality. Should you destroy simply because you have the ability? We see her thoroughly challenged in this novel, her triumphs and her despair. Meanwhile, Max’s character arc is more dramatic as it is sordid. He becomes more the archetypal bad guy, and I’ve taken his traits to the edge in this book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? We get a real sense of karma in this book, in that we eventually have to face the consequences of our actions. What goes around, comes around. I also wanted to explore the notion of toxic relationships, in that despite a very magnetic attraction between two people, sometimes they have very deep seated issues which challenge their ability to love each other. I’ve also begun to introduce more topical discussion around ancient wisdom, particularly from Egypt and India, and notions of age old advanced civilisations.

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Genre - Science Fiction (PG13)

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