This week, we sat down with Jennifer Harlow, whose third Midnight Magic Mystery, Witch Upon a Star, was released earlier this month.
Midnight Ink: How long have you been writing?
Jennifer Harlow: I’ve always been a storyteller in some capacity. When I was a child, I barely left my room because I was always playing with my Barbie dolls. I’d even fake sick far more than I should so I could stay home from school and continue their adventures. When I got too old for that, I moved from pen to paper. Once again school suffered as I’d write my stories in class instead of paying attention. I cut my teeth on screenplays, then when I was nineteen I decided to try writing a book. I haven’t stopped since.
MI: What influence have other authors had on your writing?
JH: Without question I learned from the masters: Janet Evanovitch, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Stan Lee. From Evanovitch I learned how to incorporate humor, mystery, and sexual tension while keeping a quick pace in the story. Hamilton showed the perfect was to combine two genres effectively, thriller and paranormal, and that a heroine doesn’t have to always be a sweet, perfect woman. She can have a hard edge and still be likable. From Stan Lee’s comics, especially X-Men, hidden in the action scenes and love triangles was a parable on prejudice and acceptance of self no matter how different you are from the crowd. I can only pray I do my idols justice with my own work.
MI: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
JH: Advice columnist. Everyone I know comes to me with their problems, and they all say I help them. It’d be wonderful to get paid for it.
MI: What is/are your favorite thing/s to do when you’re not writing or
JH: In my old age I have basically become a teenage boy. I’ve gotten obsessed with video games. Lately I’ve been addicted to the Dragon Age games. They are like crack.
MI: Who is your favorite mystery sleuth and why?
JH: I can’t decide! That’s like choosing a favorite child. The list includes: Miss Marple, Stephanie Plum, Sydney Rye, Poirot, Harry Bosch, Jaine Austen, okay I’m stopping now. So many!
MI: What was your inspiration for the Midnight Magic Mysteries?
JH: I wanted to expand the F.R.E.A.K.S. world and also get a bit more romance in it. The F.R.E.A.K.S. is more action and mystery oriented, following the misadventures of Special Agent Beatrice Alexander. In the Midnight Magic series they’re stand alone, following one woman in her quest for understanding and love but with some action and mystery thrown in for flavor.
JH: This book begins decades before Bea ever joined the F.R.E.A.K.S., years before the super-natural co-op began, or before Vivian and Jason met. This is a prequel to all the books that came before. It’s also a very dark, twisty romance between two very lost souls that doesn’t end in a traditional way.
MI: Tell us about Anna Olmstead.
JH: I introduced the character in the second F.R.E.A.K.S book, To Catch a Vampire. She’s a witch, a former FREAK who helped Beatrice with a case a murderous vampires, something she had a lot of experience with having been raised and then falling in love with a vampire named Asher. She also has ties to the Goodnight Coven I introduced in What’s A Witch To Do? Basically the events that occurred with her set in motion every event in both the F.R.E.A.K.S. and Midnight Magic series. The supernatural co-op, the events in the Eastern Pack, Oliver joining the F.R.E.A.K.S., it all stems from the adventures of Anna Olmstead Asher West.
MI: Do you have a pet? Tell us about him/her.
JH: I have a six-month-old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier named Elsa Lanchester, after the actress who played the Bride of Frankenstein. Potty training has been a nightmare!
JH: French fries. I cannot live without them.
MI: Do you have a favorite recipe?
JH: A White Russian. One shot Vodka, ¾ shot of Kahlua, half a cup of cream served over ice. Like drinking Starbucks coffee that gets you soused. Yum.
MI: What’s your favorite part about being an Inker?
JH: The community. Everyone is really there for each other when we have questions or concerns. We’re a lucky group.
Witch Upon a Star is available online and in bookstores now!