Molly Harper is the author of the critically acclaimed Jane Jameson series (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men, and Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever.) She has recently branched into non-paranormal fiction with her first trade paperback, And One Last Thing.
Molly Harper worked for six years as a reporter and humor columnist for The Paducah Sun. Her reporting duties included covering courts, school board meetings, quilt shows, and once, the arrest of a Florida man who faked his suicide by shark attack and spent the next few months tossing pies at a local pizzeria. Molly lives in western Kentucky with her husband and children.
We’re delighted that Molly has joined us to take a spin on the Deb dance floor, and double excited, because she’s offered up a SIGNED copy of And One Last Thing to one lucky commenter! More details after the interview.
Molly Harper Takes the Deb Interview – Extended Edition!
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
I was a pretty heavy Roald Dahl reader when I was a kid. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY was the first book I can remember totally losing myself to, only coming out of that fantastical world when I had to.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Again, a Roald Dahl gal, MATILDA. It was my favorite book growing up because Matilda didn’t wallow. Sure, she was special, and she was smart, but her family was horrible and they treated her like dirt. She went to arguably the worst school since Jane Eyre’s Lowood. Oh, and she had out-of-control psychic powers. But did she whine? Did she cry and feel sorry for herself? No. She chased off the people who made her school miserable and photocopied her own adoption papers so she could be separated from her parents.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Just one? My daughter, Darcy, has developed a talent for swimming, which means my clumsy, no-athletic-talent genes have skipped a generation. I do feel sorry for my grandkids, though.
Where do you love to be?
My favorite Chinese food place, where they know to add fried dumplings to my order, even when I forget to ask for them.
Which talent do you wish you had?
I wish I had any tiny amount of singing or musical talent. I feel the need to hum during church hymns, so I don’t ruin the worship experience for others.
What time of day do you love best?
About 8:30 at night, when my husband, David, and I have completed the “evening scramble,” of feeding the kids, chasing them into the bath and tricking them into bed. The house is quiet and I get to sit down and talk to him, uninterrupted, for about 30 minutes before I start writing.
Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.
I love tomato sauce and ketchup, but the texture of fresh tomatoes makes me gag for some reason.
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
Lacey has a secret stash of Louisa Burton books. The covers look like your average romance novel, so Mike doesn’t think anything of it.
Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.
Apparently, I’m a 7-year-old boy deep down because a profane rant gets me every time. If I could get Chevy Chase’s “Merry Christmas, Holy $%#@!… Where’s the Tylenol?” monologue from the Christmas Vacation movie as a ringtone, I would use it year-round.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Writers write. Reading books on writing, taking classes on technique, joining writers’ groups- these are all valid uses of your time. But the bottom line is that putting words on paper is what is going to build your story.
Which animal would you like to be, and why?
My dogs are probably the happiest, laziest creatures on the planet. So I’m going with dachshund.
What are the hardest and easiest things about your job?
I can’t think of many easy things about being an author, other than thanking people for reading the books. The hardest part is finding the time and energy to write. I still work full-time as an editorial assistant for a medical society. I write my books at night. Between work, raising two kids, and finding some time with David so he doesn’t feel totally abandoned, I’m stretched pretty thin. But writing is what I’m passionate about. If I never had to work another day, I would still write. So I find the time and sometimes I fake the energy through caffeine.
What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?
1. Contact solution. For some reason, every time I watched Lost, I was fixated on the idea that if I was on Oceanic 815, I probably would have lost my contact solution in the crash. I would have ended up wandering around Mystery Island blind because itching and discomfort forced me to take my contacts out. And who would want to be blind when Sawyer’s nearby and shirtless?
2. One of those Sears “modular home” kits that lets you build a cabin in 583 easy steps. I could probably get my own water, food and fire, but I’d really suck at weaving banana leaves and coconut fronds into a roof.
3. Sawyer. Did I not make that clear in Item 1?
Do you have any phobias?
I have a serious, deep-seated fear of clowns, which is OK, because I don’t run into clowns on an average day. The problem with being afraid of something “funny” is that people don’t take it seriously at all. If I was claustrophobic, I don’t think my friends and family would trap me in an elevator or bury me alive for a giggle. But for some reason, it’s hilarious to shove me towards a clown at a street festival. Trust me, my terrified struggle to get away isn’t fun for me or the clown… or the injured bystanders I leave in my wake.
What’s your next big thing?
I’m returning to my supernatural roots with my new werewolf series, which starts in February 2011 with HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF. It’s about a woman who moves from Mississippi to Alaska to get away from her intrusive parents, only to land in a dysfunctional werewolf clan’s drama.
What is the best perk of your job?
Getting e-mails from readers who liked the books. With AND ONE LAST THING, I’ve had several women contact me to say that they could identify with Lacey’s reactions to her husband’s infidelity, that I expressed the way they felt when their own spouses were unfaithful. That’s incredibly flattering and humbling.
Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
I’ve been reading Teresa Medeiros books for years. CHARMING THE PRINCE is one of my favorite titles ever. And she’s from Kentucky, so she was definitely a role model for me. The first time I attended the SOKY Book Festival in Bowling Green, Ky., I was seated three chairs down from her. She was so absolutely lovely and down-to-Earth. She ended up giving me some really great advice months later when I struggled with crippling writer’s block. And she read and liked my first book, NICE GIRLS DON’T HAVE FANGS. She gave me a wonderful cover quote for my new werewolf series!
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I was a telemarketer for a few months one summer, and my experience was reflected in Jane’s job struggles in NICE GIRLS DON’T HAVE FANGS. But I’m going to say working in the factory that makes Dippin’ Dots for a summer was stranger. My hometown is the only place in the world where Dippin Dots are manufactured. We had to wear four different layers of gloves, plus protective eyewear, hairnets and overalls. It was like wearing a snowsuit to work.
Has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?
My mom, Judy, insists that I tell everyone that none of my mother characters are based on her. And then her friends read the books giggle at the similarities.
Do you have a regular ‘first reader’? If so, who is it and why that person?
My mom reads my stuff first because she’s a long-time romance reader and she can tell me whether a story’s working or not from a consumer’s perspective. My friend and fellow writer, Brandi Bradley, gives me more of a “writer’s take” on plotting, character, dialogue, etc.
Thank you to author Molly Harper for offering a lucky Deb Ball reader a signed copy of her book, And One Last Thing. Leave a comment to enter. Be sure to include your email address on the email line, OK? We’ll announce the winner next Saturday on our News Flash. Good luck!
“If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger.”
Lacey Terwilliger’s shock and humiliation over her husband’s philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike’s company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of “administrative support” his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike’s family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say “instant urban legend,” Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town, a media punch line, and the defendant in Mike’s defamation lawsuit.
Her seemingly perfect life up in flames, Lacey retreats to her family’s lakeside cabin, only to encounter an aggravating neighbor named Monroe. A hunky crime novelist with a low tolerance for drama, Monroe is not thrilled about a newly divorced woman moving in next door. But with time, beer, and a screen door to the nose, a cautious friendship develops into something infinitely more satisfying.
Lacey has to make a decision about her long-term living arrangements, though. Should she take a job writing caustic divorce newsletters for paying clients, or move on with her own life, pursuing more literary aspirations? Can she find happiness with a man who tells her what he thinks and not what she wants to hear? And will she ever be able to resist saying one . . . last . . . thing?