She’s been called a “Dragon Writer” and has learned to embrace it with the heart of a dragon — bold, colorful and a bit mischievous. Pat Harris crafts epic high fantasy/science fiction tales, delving deep into the realm of fantasy while dancing on the blade’s edge of science—passionate, provocative, and faith-based. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Pat Harris and I hail from Michigan. Besides being an author, I am vice president of my husband’s software development company, Harris Technologies, Inc. http://www.ht-audio.com and http://www.ht-locus.com I have been a presenter at women’s conferences and participated in inner city ministries. My passions are writing, hiking, cycling and toying with photography. I love exploring the outdoors and discovering secret places (and the magical creatures hiding in them). I also enjoy cooking and baking. I have hundreds of cookbooks and have collected thousands of recipes. I’ve even made a number of them. I have a love/hate relationship with gardening. I blame it on gnomes. Currently, I’m attempting to learn Irish Dancing, but it appears I may need to enlist the aid of a leprechaun.
When and why did you begin writing?
In Second Grade, I quickly became disenchanted with our basic reader: ‟See Spot. See Spot jump.” I thought, ‟I can do better than that!” But I didn’t start writing in earnest until High School as a requirement for a College-prep English class, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve written on and off ever since, mainly poetry and essays, but the passion of writing as a career gripped me only a few years ago—and it hasn’t let go since.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer while working on my first book, Sheep Tales, What If We Really Were Sheep? Sheep Tales is a collection of short stories based on the parables of the Christian Bible. The book came about as a result of my involvement with an inner-city children’s ministry and was written in response to the difficult and heart-rending questions those precious children ask. Since it’s written for the young—and young-at-heart—I needed to incorporate a lot of humor while dealing with serious topics, which made the writing challenging. But the process was thoroughly enjoyable and inscribed in my mind that I was indeed an author.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
New Hope Chronicles is an epic fantasy/scifi novel series packed with spaceships that travel the galaxy by song, sorcerers, dragons, castles, mysterious new worlds, and dangerous and beautiful aliens. There are passionate love stories, terrifying alien beasts, good guys with pulse guns and—of course—swords. Book one of the series, Dragon Flame, is the story of Alin, who is desperately trying to escape his dark and dangerous past. He takes a lowly position aboard Earth’s premier starship hoping it will take him to the far side of the galaxy where he can hide forever. But someone knows exactly where he is and gives him a large, mysterious egg. The egg hatches, the bad guys catch up and danger explodes around him. He finds himself ensnared in the thick of things and facing impossible odds at the crux of a brutal war. New Hope, Dragon Flame is full of thrills, chills, tears and laugh-out-loud humor. It’s epic length, faith-based and written for the Young Adult age group. However, young teens to mature adults have enjoyed it.
What inspired you to write this book?
The concept of the New Hope series started as a dream—no, I mean a real dream—and as what my husband, David, and I call, ‟downloads” of inspiration. David is incredibly talented and contributes much to the inspiration and story of New Hope. We have always loved fantasy and science fiction and it seems only right to delve into the mysterious and mystical fantasy/scifi world to share inspiration and excitement with others.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I prefer a conversational style. My characters prefer to win your heart themselves, so I try not to interfere. I also enjoy injecting humor since humor is a ‟window to the soul.” I like big, big books that lure you into the story and coax you into falling in hopeless love with the characters and their magical, dangerous worlds—and never let go. And New Hope Chronicles is exactly that.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
In the world of New Hope, the premier spaceship of the galaxy is called the Earth Ship (E.S.) New Hope. And as Trekkies say, ‟These are the voyages of…” the E.S. New Hope, chronicled for your enjoyment. Dragon Flame refers to a mysterious prophecy in book 1 that a hero would birth from the flame of a dragon in a blood sky.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
From one of my promos: When darkness covers the world and deep darkness covers the people, when power resides with evil men and all that is good draws to an end, there is still hope. There is always hope.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Heavens no! I’d loathe to endure what I put my characters through. (Grins mischievously.) And, unfortunately, space travel as chronicled in the New Hope series is still some time off. But someday… I believe the color of every character is stippled by the author’s own heart and soul, and that is true of my characters as well.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Christopher Paolini and Stephanie Meyer. But not the Grimm brothers—they’re freaky creepy. Definitely not the Grimms. Well, okay, and the Grimms. JK has won nearly every writing award there is. I like to study her style, and particularly the way she develops a big story over many pages. I admire Tolkien and Lewis for their unbridled imaginations and imagery; Twain for his humor and style; Paolini for his portrayal of dragons, dwarves Elves, and his use of the English language; and, Meyer for her voice and her portrayal of a ‟dangerous” love story. And the Grimms for their grimness. (Shuddering unabashedly.)
If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?
My high school English teacher, Helen Rendell, who was also an author, though not well known, was perhaps my most influential mentor. She inspired and encouraged me to start on my writing journey. I learned a lot of the basics from her.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
David Harris is my illustrator, and my husband. You can see some of his work at our website: http://www.NewHopeChronicles.com More will be forthcoming in the future.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Learn the mechanics of writing well. There’s more to storytelling than crafting a good story idea. Crafting the telling of the story is vital, too. Write your heart and write it well.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am honored to to present New Hope Chronicles to you. I hope it touches your heart, makes you shiver, shudder, laugh and cry—and crave more. Lots more. (wink) And I hope you will come to see that no matter how bad things may become, there truly is hope. There is always hope.
New Hope Chronicles Book One: Dragon Flame
Cover Artist: David Harris