Interview with Glenn Harris
Questions: R. Murry
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I was born in Illinois and grew up in the Midwest. Since my late 20s I’ve lived on the west coast, first in Berkeley, California, and for more than thirty years now in Hood River, Oregon. I’ve been a writer since experiencing the thrill of having a “poem” published in my second grade newsletter. I’ve been a journalist, editor of a weekly newspaper, had my own public relations and (very small-time) publishing business. I’m only recently a published author for the first time but I plan to make up for it with a long series of detective novels.
Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Vaguely. My parents bought me a typewriter when I started high school and one of the first things I wrote on it was a “science fiction story” about a kid who stowed away on a spaceship. Not too surprising, since I was at the time a kid who desperately wanted to stow away on a spaceship. I actually sent it in to a pulp magazine but it was mercifully rejected and I didn’t save it.
Were you inspired by someone or something?
So many things. First of all, my mother reading books like Black Beauty to me when I was very small. Too many teachers to name even if I remembered all their names. Perhaps most importantly the librarian at the local public library when I was in elementary school. I particularly wish that I remembered her name, but I don’t. She was a big woman with gray hair and glasses, always wearing a print dress—the perfect grandmotherly type. And she indulged me like a grandmother with those books. The limit was supposed to be three at a time. She let me take home a shopping bag full every week—and I read them all every week. It was there that I discovered all the wonderful worlds of the old Winston Science Fiction series and the simple but compelling mysteries of the Hardy Boys. I wanted to live in those worlds and solve those mysteries myself.
What do you like about writing a story?
That’s really it. I get to create my own worlds and solve their mysteries. Not long ago I described it in a blog post this way: In the beginning there’s a wonderful new story forming in your imagination, growing and blossoming and spreading out like the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen. (Yes, it’s that good.) There are fascinating characters with compelling lives and terrible conflicts and great loves and greater danger and consequences that could not possibly have been known before you came along. It’s a heady time, looking forward to filling all those pages.
Can you tell us about your book?
It’s the first book in what will be a series featuring two Portland, Oregon, private detectives named Clint McCall and Devon Malone. In Turnabout is Fatal Play, they each have a client who wants to catch a cheating spouse—and it turns out the clients are married to each other. This is what brings the two of them together and they ultimately find themselves trying to stop a serial killer who is targeting young women in downtown Portland and might have his eye on Malone.
What genre best fits for the book?
It’s a classic private detective story with some elements of romantic thriller.
Are you working on something new at the moment?
Just finished the second book in the series, Decease and Desist; I expect it to be available in September or October. I’ve started working on the third, entitled One Deadly Game.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Live a wide life. Pay attention to people. Write rather than planning to write or talking about writing. Write.
Where can people go to read your work?
My books are currently available only in electronic form. There are links on my website, www.glennharris.us, to Amazon (for Kindle owners) and Barnes and Noble (for Nook owners). Free apps are also available so that you can read them on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows phone, Android tablet or Blackberry.
Do you have anything to add?
Only that I’m very grateful for this opportunity to visit with you and let more people know about what I’m doing.