Please welcome Sarah Harian to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Wicked We Have Done is published today by InterMix. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Sarah a Happy Publication Day!
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Sarah: I started writing at the age of eight. I was obsessed with Nancy Drew and wanted to write a mystery of my own. I still have the notebook somewhere.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Sarah: Pantser. Plotting is a waste of time—I never follow the outline.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Sarah: Being satisfied with something enough to think it’s ready to be published. I’m a compulsive reviser. I’m going to be one of those authors who wants to take their book off the store shelf and mark it up with a pen.
TQ: Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?
Margaret Atwood, Lev Grossman, and Angela Carter off the top of my head. They all write in a way that terrifies me and astounds me all at once.
TQ: Describe The Wicked We Have Done in 140 characters or less.
Sarah: Girl commits heinous crime. Girl sentenced to prison that kills if she doesn't pass its simulation. Girl makes friends and fights for them.
TQ: Tell us something about The Wicked We Have Done that is not in the book description.
Sarah: The prison in The Wicked We Have Done is located in a closed off portion of experimental wilderness.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Wicked We Have Done? The novel is described as "New Adult". What is "New Adult"? The novel mixes the romance and SF (dystopian) genres. Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel? In your opinion does a romance have to have an HEA?
Sarah: The Wicked We Have Done was inspired by me wanting to write a speculative book that was both scary and emotional. I also really wanted to write something in the point-of-view of someone who wasn’t your standard hero, which is where the criminal aspect came in.
New Adult is a new category that encompasses the college age range. Books within this category are commercial and read a lot like fast-paced Young Adult, but with content geared more toward people in their twenties. I like to think of them as adult books for people who love the style of YA.
In all honesty, I didn’t really mean to write a dystopian novel. I just needed a near-future setting where technology was advanced enough to establish the prison that you read about in The Wicked We Have Done. The world kind of painted itself!
I don’t think that romance needs a HEA. I know people believe that the hero and love interest must get together at the end, but just because they get together doesn’t make the story have a happy ending. I think romance can be more complicated than that.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Wicked We Have Done?
Sarah: Oh God… so much “How to Kill Someone via [insert method]” research. The book is pretty morbid.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite character?
Sarah: The easiest to write was a secondary character in the book, Valerie, who gets her own novella being released in August. Her voice flowed from me very naturally. The hardest was the villain that you meet in flashback, mostly because I have more of a difficult time fleshing out truly evil characters.
As for favorite… honestly, it changes every time I read through the book. I know I sound like a fair Mom, but I promise I’m being honest!
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite lines from The Wicked We Have Done.
Sarah: I drag across his skin three claws of blue sky. Reaching his scars, I’m desperate to read him like braille.
TQ: What's next?
Sarah: Two more Chaos Theory books are being released this year—a novella in the point-of-view of a secondary character, and A Vault of Sins, the sequel to The Wicked We Have Done. It’s a busy year!
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
The Wicked We Have Done
The Wicked We Have Done
Chaos Theory 1
InterMix, March 18, 2014
Darkly suspenseful and completely unexpected, The Wicked We Have Done is a debut author’s thrilling new take on New Adult romance.
Twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.
If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.
Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.
Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.