1. It’s Halloween, pick 3 of your favorite writers to paint the town red with and tell us why you chose them.
Harlow says: Well, it being Halloween and all, I’d have to go with three authors who know how to do horror and do it well. So I’d pick Josh Malerman first. His book Bird Box scared the daylight out of me (and I’m not easily shaken). Then I’d have to invite Clive Barker, who wrote one of my all-time favorite books, Imajica. Although not classified as horror, it does contain a healthy dose. And then I’d have to invite Chris Pourteau, who’s put out a couple of books (one published, one soon-to-be-published, which I had the privilege of beta reading) in the Apocalypse Weird universe. The Serenity Strain really gets you in the gut, and his upcoming sequel, Ironheart, gives it a good, hard twist. I think we’d paint the town “read” with this crew!
Meredith Says: Great choices and I love Josh Malerman! Stay tuned for his interview on Oct 31st!
2. You’re ready to head out with your pillowcase to collect loads of confections on All Hallows’ Eve, what’s your costume and why did you choose it?
Harlow says: I’d dress up as one of the Weeping Angels from the Dr. Who episode “Blink.” I mean, what’s more horrifying than opening your door to hand out candy and finding yourself staring into the eyes of a freaky angel statue? And if you blink? It’s over. I take all your candy.
3. Old Mrs. Robinson opens her door and you’re holding open your pillowcase patiently waiting. “Oh deary,” she says in her frail, little old-lady voice. “I forgot it was Halloween. Don’t know why you kids go begging anyways. Let me go find something to give you.” She shuffles off and finally returns three and a half minutes later with 5 pennies, 2 peppermint candies that look like they went through the dryer, and her deceased husbands dentures. “Take what you like,” she offers, squinting at you.
What do you choose and why.
Harlow says: Oh, definitely the dentures. I’d wear them around my neck. Everybody would leave me alone and I’d get tons of writing done.
4. I really love reading Dean Koontz but some of his stuff scares the bejesus out of me. What’s the spookiest book you’ve ever read?
Harlow says: I like Dean Koontz too. Especially the Odd Thomas series. But truth be told, I’m not a big fan of the horror genre. Or, let’s say I’m kind of picky. I remember reading The Amityville Horror when I was a teen and I had a hard time sleeping at night for quite a while afterward. More recently, however, I’d have to say Bird Box by Josh Malerman really made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.
5. You’re a writer by day and supernatural creature by night. (Shed that human skin you sack of bones) What are you and why?
Harlow says: I don’t even have to think about that one. I’d be a vampire, no question. I’ve always had a love for vampire movies and books. (not the sparkly kind, although I make room for them too.). Vampires are powerful, silent, stealthy, and yeah, kinda sexy. There’s something about a vampire that gives me a chill and a thrill at the same time.
6. Every author has a bookshelf filled with his or her favorite reads. Run on over to yours and tell us some of the scariest books you have.
Harlow says: Wow, Josh Malerman is getting a lot of mentions in this interview. But I’d definitely have to include his book. I’ve been trying to catch up on all the books in the Apocalypse Weird series, and besides the two I mentioned by Chris Pourteau, Eric Tozzi’s Phoenix Lights, Elena E. Georgi’s Immunity, and Reversal, by Jennifer Ellis are all books that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Another one on my shelf that’s pretty scary is Roadside Picnic, by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. Next to that are some old favorites: Stephen King’s The Stand, and Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. Peter Cline’s 14 has a good creep factor. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Edgar Allan Poe. I have a collection of his deliciously creepy short stories and poetry. There are some others, but those are probably the scariest ones.
7. We don’t all write horror but there comes a time when you’ve got to surprise your readers and make sure their hearts are still beating. How do you prepare yourself to get in the spooky writing mood?
Harlow says: First I’d put on some dark, spine-chilling music, and maybe watch a scary movie for the mood. There would be popcorn. Maybe some chocolate. A craft beer or two. That would get me going, unless I got a stomach ache.
8. Stephen King’s front porch light is on but there are no Halloween decorations.
a) trick-or-treat and cross your fingers that he’s handing out the good stuff
b) run screaming
c) call your mom to bring your favorite King paperback and beg for an autograph
Harlow says: Definitely C. I don’t care about the treats. I want the autographs.
9. Congratulations, you just won the literary lottery and sold a million books at full price! The royalty check clears on October 28th. What are you buying for the neighborhood kids?
a) an assortment of mini candybars
b) an assortment of cheap, hard candies
c) full size Hershey bars
Harlow says: Can there be a D option? How about something healthy, like mini-bags of kale chips? No? You’re shaking your head no. Okay, then. I’ll go with A. Of course, not getting paid until October 28th means there won’t be much of a candy selection left. Sorry, kids.
10. Your writer friend calls you with some frightening news. They’re giving up on writing, can’t take the pressure any longer. What do you tell them?
Harlow says: I’d probably tell them to stop writing for others, and start writing for themselves. When I write under the thumb of deadlines and reader demands (I wish) I find it takes a lot of the fun out of writing. The pressure seems to squeeze out all my creativity. But when I separate myself from that, and start writing something that gives me enjoyment, the fun returns. Write for yourself. If you like it, if you’ve found pleasure in what you’re writing, you’re going to be okay. Don’t worry about others. It may seem selfish, but in the end, you’ll be more productive.
Connect with Harlow!
Today, her imagination continues to thrive. She channels her energies into writing, fueled by the curiosities of the world and the mysteries of the universe. Science fiction and fantasy are her genres of choice.
Harlow and her husband have five grown children, and have made Michigan their home for the past fifteen years.