1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
My pen name is Harriet N. Everend. Born and raised in small-town Iowa, I currently reside in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
Cursed Legacy is my first published novel. The central synopsis is focused around four families affected by the same curse of a mysterious entity over several generations. I would personally classify it as horror and/or thriller.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
My story is a bit different in there aren’t main characters, but the four main family lines: The Porters, the Sterlings, the Bornes and the Rosenthals. All four families were some of the original families that first settled in Norwich, CT (the book’s setting). The Porters are a patient and tenacious bunch, while also being a bit on the arrogant and domineering side. They are seen as a prominent and respected family throughout. The Sterlings are seen as intuitive and supportive but are also viewed as the outcasts and strange (a lot of them study in the occult/witchcraft). The Bornes are highly intelligent and honest, hardworking people but tend to have bad luck in terms of keeping peace with the other three families (through no fault of their own – just legitimate bad luck). The Rosenthals are the last family and they are viewed as very passionate/affectionate and reliable. They can be a bit critical and judgmental in their views, but they mean well.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
The last two chapters were the hardest to write, but not for the reasons you think. This story was very personal to me to write, and the final characters from each family were loosely based on myself and three very real people in my life.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
I went back and forth on which route I wanted to take. Eventually, I chose the self-publishing route. I feel both sides have their merits, but I’m a bit of a control freak and wanted to maintain as much control on my book as I could. Maybe down the road I’ll look into traditional publishing.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
The most difficult part about my writing journey was how lonely I felt at times. Yes, I have my husband and a wonderful support of friends (in person and the writing community alike), but those feelings still crept up from time to time. The advice I have for other writers is to never stop writing your story. It may get hard at times; you may get discouraged or think it’s not worth it. Believe me, your story deserves to be heard. Someone out there is waiting for your book to be written. It isn’t a race – but eventually finish that book.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
With this current book, I haven’t decided. In my opinion, the end is pretty cut-and-dry…but maybe there could be room for a spinoff or something. Down the road, I hope to write a series, but we’ll see. Come to prefer writing standalones.
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Some of my favorite authors are Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling and John Steinbeck. There are too many others to list, but those are a few that come to me. I’ve wanted to be a writer since middle school (12 to 13). It was after completing a story project for English class, and I fell in love with that assignment.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
As someone with her B.A. in Marketing, I feel this should be an easy question to answer, but it really isn’t. It depends on several factors in my opinion. What has been the most successful for me has been the traditional “word of mouth” marketing as well as uploading daily content on Instagram and TikTok that is not only appealing to see, but informative as well; engaging with other indie authors is incredibly valuable. You can learn from one another and teach one another as well. When you’re genuine and consistent with interactions and content, it does benefit everyone. Another thing I don’t think writers (especially new ones) realise is damaging to them is giving away too many free copies. I don’t slam those that do, but you want the reader to come to you…not you going to them and seeming desperate. Be as professional as possible as people are more attracted to visuals than words.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
I made a whole TikTok video on this, but I’ll sum up tropes and clichés that I can’t stand: “the chosen one” trope, stories that over-glorify rape and sexual assault, some strange, bizarre event that happens in a small town but somehow never gets picked up in the news and killing a character only to bring them back later (illogically or for no real purpose)…and to be honest, the last trope I can’t stand is insta-love romance books.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
Don’t have any review to read yet (as my book was released very recently – have to give people time to read it and give an opinion). To be honest, I know not everyone will like my book (whether it’s due to the genre, writing style, storyline or several other reasons), but as long as people are respectful as to why they don’t like it or give constructive criticism, I’m fine with that.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
I’m still trying to figure out what I am – I’m some hybrid between a plotter and a pantser, haha. I’m sure this has been said before, but when I write, I tend to write what’s “playing through my head.” It’s almost like I can see a movie of my scenes and what I want to put on paper, so I let myself get lost in my head while writing (lose track of time so easily this way). I don’t like to listen to music, but instead white noise (the sound of rain falling or something similar). As much as I love music, it’s too much of a distraction when trying to write.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
The best advice I’ve ever received is there are no real “rules” when it comes to writing (despite what a lot of us new authors are told); they are merely guidelines to follow. For me, other than knowing the basics (that anyone would be taught in school), write what you want to write and enjoy doing what you do. Advice I have for new writers – don’t let anyone crush your dream, but also remember that unless you fall into that lucky 3% of writers, you aren’t going to get rich from writing. It’s not meant to discourage at all, but keep in mind some realistic goals for yourself.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I don’t have anything set in stone, but I do plan on writing a poetry book under a second pen name as well as another novel that has some tragic real-life backstory to it. Been also asked to work on a collaboration with another author as well but have to see how that goes.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
Working on getting a website (eventually), but feel free to check me out at:
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