Katherine Harbour Katherine Harbour
Katherine Harbour
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Katherine Harbour

I was born in Albany, NY (upstate NY is where Thorn Jack takes place) and now live in Sarasota, FL. I briefly attended college in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before attempting life as a painter (the artsy kind). I've been writing since I was seventeen and juggling a few jobs while doing it. I wrote Thorn Jack when I was seventeen—as well as many, many other things over the years—and I took it out of the trunk (a literal trunk) two years ago, dusted it off, and began revising it...


How did you get published?

A: I entered an open submissions call for Harper Voyager with encouragement from my manager and a friend at the bookstore where I work—I was very pessimistic about my chances. After the editor, Diana Gill, chose Thorn Jack, I was accepted by Thao Le of The Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, who had been working on revisions of an earlier version of the story with me prior to my independent submission to Harper Voyager's open call.

What is your writing process?

A: I love characters, so the story is always based around them and their growth. I write a brief 3-act outline and fill in scenes around it. The scenes are inspired and planned, but it's mostly like a movie in my head—finding the correct words is the challenge. Then I revise the manuscript as many times as needed.

Who are your favorite writers?

A: There are so many. My fav fantasy writers are Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Hand, Charles De Lint, and John Crowley. YA favs are Francesca Lia Block, Cassandra Clare, and Melissa Marr.

What inspired Thorn Jack?

A: The dream scene where Finn is speaking with her older sister and things grow sinister was an actual dream I had when I was seventeen. The revision was influenced by a book called Visions and Folktales in the West of Ireland, by Lady Gregory, a collection of local stories about some very scary faeries. The Thorn Jack trilogy is influenced by Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Frankenstein.

What else do you like to do aside from write?

A: I love to paint in oils, strange and eerie figures. I like to garden, but I'm not very successful at it.

What are your favorite movies? TV shows?

A: I like dark fantasy movies: Labyrinth, William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, The Company of Wolves, and Brotherhood of the Wolf. I'm addicted to paranormal reality shows. Buffy the Vampire Slayer will always reign. And I love Syfy's Face Off, which kind of reminds me of what it's like to be a writer.

What was the first book you ever wrote?

A: I was fifteen and it was after my English teacher (who was actually a gym teacher), talked about how writing stories is like a game. My first book was a terrible kids-lost-in-another-world fantasy with a unicorn named Rocinu (that's unicorn spelled backwards) and a villain named Reggie. Yes, Reggie.

What do we have to look forward to in the Thorn Jack sequels?

A: Finn's and Jack's romance being tested and becoming more intense.
Finn's attraction to a dangerous and familiar killer, and a bit of a love triangle.
A surprise twist for Christie and Sylvie.
Phouka's true identity revealed.
Jack's and Christie's bromantic adventure.
The appearance of the predatory and seductive Wolf King.
Caliban's comeuppance and trickster Absalom's just deserts at the end.
A journey to the Ghostlands.

What advice do you have for writers?

A: Get better. No matter how many times you're rejected, make yourself better at what you do.

Do you believe in faeries?

A: Some of the scenes in Thorn Jack were inspired by real things—the abandoned mansions on the Hudson, the eerie Sunstone House, Finn's childhood memory of meeting 3 children in the woods. Do I believe in faeries? I like to keep an open mind...