Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview with Kate Maruyama, author of Harrowgate - October 24, 2013

Please welcome Kate Maruyama to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.  Harrowgate was published on September 24th by 47North.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Kate:  Thanks! Nice to be here.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Kate:  I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was quite small. I visited home recently and I found a mortifying page of prose I had written while studying abroad in England—I could tell it was done there because it was done with red typewriter ribbon. My black had run out, so it was a red year.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Kate:  I have an especially ugly sweater I like to wear when I write. I won’t even let my family see me in it.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kate:  Both. I pants my way through a draft, the plot starts taking shape and then I work on solidifying the structure in further drafts.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kate:  Composing. I’m always so happy revising because the clay is already there on the table—I love to move things around for character, tension. I cut mercilessly. But not knowing where I’m going or what I’m doing—having the story just out of reach-- is a terrifying daily leap of faith.

TQ:  Describe Harrowgate in 140 characters or less. /like a tweet/

Kate:  A guy’s wife and kid are dead but living with him in his apartment. He tries to make it work.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Harrowgate?

Kate:  It actually came from the last five pages of a screenplay I wrote years ago—I couldn’t get it to work. Probably because the ending was, guess what? They’re dead! Big surprise. But I really loved those five pages and they nagged me. I started to ask, “They’re dead. Now what?” and the book started growing from there.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Harrowgate?

Kate:  Thanks to Google, I could go to New York City, a neighborhood I know, an apartment I know, and figure out the rest. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine was rather snippy on the phone, but they answered my questions. As my story doesn’t travel much, the research was pretty mellow compared to other things I’ve written.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kate:  They got easy and complicated in turns. The villain, Greta, had about three drafts just about her—motivation, rules, power—these were all questions that needed answering. Sarah came after Michael, and she was shadowy at first and needed filling in. Michael was easy, but then there were subtle layers left to add later which made it complicated. His reactions to all of the strangeness in his life had to be measured carefully.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Harrowgate?

Kate:  There’s a scene with rotten vegetables that actually started this whole thing. I have some nostalgia for that one. But my favorite space to write was really the relationship between Michael and Sarah, the things they can’t say to each other; the things they do say.

TQ:  What's next?

Kate:  I have a very different novel at market now, which I’m smitten with. It takes place in early 1940s Hollywood, 1990s Hollywood and Baltimore of all places. More soon, I hope.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kate:  Thanks for having me!


47North, September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 286 pages

Michael should be overjoyed by the birth of his son, but his wife, Sarah, won?t let him touch the baby or allow anyone to visit.

Greta, an intrusive, sinister doula has wormed her way into their lives, driving a wedge between Michael and his family. Every time he leaves the Harrowgate, he returns to find his beloved wife and baby altered. He feels his family slipping away, and as a malevolent force begins to creep in, Michael does what any new father would do?he fights to keep his family together.

Kate Maruyama?s debut novel, Harrowgate, is a chilling, richly detailed story of love, loss, and the haunted place that lies between.

About Kate

Kate Maruyama's work has appeared in Controlled Burn, Arcadia Magazine and Stoneboat, as well as on The Rumpus, and The Citron Review among others. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and two children. Harrowgate is her first novel and she'd love to hear your haunted stories on

Website  ~  Twitter @KateMaruyama  ~  Harrowgate Tumblr


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