Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Forget Me Excerpt

Do you want to read the first two chapters of FORGET ME? Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive! Check it out: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/05/13/k-a-harrington-forget-me-exclusive-excerpt/

And if you like what you read, you can pre-order now from IndieBound, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

FORGET ME releases on August 7th. Yay!

Monday, October 21, 2013

FORGET ME reveal!

You guys! I'm so excited to share more about FORGET ME with you, including the fantastic cover!

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Two names. One face. A dangerous secret exposed. 

Morgan never minded her boyfriend Flynn’s dark and private nature. She found it mysterious and alluring. But now he’s dead, and she can’t move on. She feels much like her dying town, River’s End, with its overgrown amusement park and abandoned houses: once happy…now rotting away.

Hoping for some closure, Morgan uploads her only photo of Flynn to the social media site FriendShare along with a note to say good-bye. But she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as Evan Murphy. She’s never heard of Evan. A quick search reveals that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Same eyes, nose, jawline. Only this boy is very much alive. Digging through layers of secrets, Morgan questions everything she thought she knew about her town, her boyfriend, and even her parents’ involvement in this massive web of lies.

Forget Me is a heart-pounding novel that draws you in and keeps you guessing until the very end.

YAY! (Sorry. I'm a little excited.)

FORGET ME is a contemporary thriller (no paranormal). And it's a standalone. It releases August 14, 2014 from Putnam. I absolutely love the cover. The merry-go-round is in the book (in the abandoned amusement park). The hazy guy in the background and repeated the font treatment are very thriller-y. I adore it.

You can add FORGET ME to your Goodreads shelf or pre-order now (Amazon, B&N, IndieBound).

Feel free to share the cover far and wide. I am delirious with excitement over this book and want everyone to know about it! Thanks!



Monday, December 31, 2012

How I got the idea for THE DEAD AND BURIED

The Dead and Buried releases officially tomorrow! So I thought now would be a good time to share how I got the idea.

Sometimes an entire book lands in your head in one daydreaming session. And sometimes a book comes together in pieces, over years and snippets written in your idea notebook. Clarity was the former. The Dead and Buried was the latter.

I always wanted to write a haunted house book. I’ve loved the genre since I was a little girl and it’s no coincidence that some of my favorite novels of all time are ghost classics. But the genre has been done to death. I didn’t want to rewrite the same story that had already been done. So I waited for inspiration, for a fresh spin. And it came to me in three parts.

1. One day I read an article in the real estate section about “stigmatized properties” (a.k.a. murder houses) and how they can be a bargain for families looking to trade up to a nice town or that dream house they always wanted. And I thought THERE IT IS. That fresh spin. My haunted house is not a traditional 100 year-old drafty monster. It’s a benevolent looking McMansion on a typical suburban street. And the ghost? She’ll be a fresh one. Someone who continues to affect the lives of the townspeople.

So now I had my house, but I still didn’t have a main character I wanted to play with.

2. Apart from any supernatural ideas, I’d also been interested in writing about, in a subtle way, the theme of educational inequality (resources in rich towns vs. poor towns) and the immense amount of competitive pressure many students find themselves under. Teen readers are very concerned about grades, homework, and college, but you don’t often find mention of this in paranormals. I wanted to include these themes in a book, but in an organic way. Not just plopped in for the sake of it.

One day, I was lunching with a friend. She grew up in a very rural area with a graduating high school class of under thirty kids. She’s brilliant and school was easy for her. Then she headed off to a highly competitive college where everyone was smart and driven like her, and it was a shock to the system. I thought…wow, creating a character with that background could help me play around with those ideas I wanted to include. But in what kind of book?

And then I thought…the ghost book.

My main character could be a fish out of water, taken from a town where school was easy to her and placed in a highly competitive high school full of academic pressures. How would her family afford to uproot themselves and move to this wealthy suburb? By purchasing a murder house, of course. One where the Queen Bee of the high school lived until her untimely death last year. And my little fish out of water, Jade, now finds herself in the dead girl’s house and school, surrounded by the dead girl’s old friends…and boyfriend.

3. The last piece was essential. I needed my main character’s motivation. Why would she care about this ghost girl? Why risk her life to investigate her death?

What happens on page 127 (my favorite scene in the book) was inspired by a real-life middle of the night scare with my son. I can’t go into details because it would spoil what I consider a big turning point in the book. But when it happened in real life, it had a non-supernatural reason. (After you read the scene, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.) Nonetheless, it FREAKED ME OUT. But a writer’s mind always plays the “what if” game. So I thought…what if it hadn’t been [harmless thing it really was]…what if it had been [thing that happens on page 127]?

And then I had my motivation.

Three ideas, spread across months of time, finally clicked together to create The Dead and Buried. So when people ask me how I came up with the book, I say, “It’s kind of a long story.” Sometimes you just have to wait for things to come together.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Dead and Buried Reviews

I'm delighted with Publishers Weekly's review of The Dead and Buried and happy to share it with you guys!

Having moved from rural western Massachusetts to an upscale Boston suburb, 17-year-old Jade Kelley thinks her biggest problems will be making new friends and putting up with her stepmother. She didn’t count on being haunted by the ghost of Kayla, the popular mean girl who died in Jade’s new house under suspicious circumstances earlier in the year (that’s why the house was a steal). Jade ends up in the middle of a romantic triangle with two boys tied to the dead teen, but the real race is to figure out what really happened to Kayla before the impatient and vengeful ghost takes out her anger on Jade’s family. As she did in Clarity and Perception, Harrington continues to demonstrate her gift for threading paranormal elements into thrilling mysteries—haunted old estates are a dime a dozen, but there’s something especially creepy about ghosts lingering in suburban cul-de-sacs and McMansions. Harrington’s crisp prose, humor, and fluid storytelling serve the mystery well, and coded diary entries from the deceased Kayla let readers play detective along with Jade.

Kirkus also gave it a great review, calling it "spine-chilling" and "lively and fast-paced." Kirkus says readers "will keep trying to guess the real murderer until the final pages. Downright, satisfyingly creepy."

YAY! CHOCOLATE FOR LUNCH! :)

Also, don't forget to read the first teaser from the book, posted here on the blog yesterday, and come back every Sunday until release for a new teaser.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tropes and the Unexpected

Last week, I blogged about how I think "The Walking Dead" does an amazing job subverting tropes. Today I’m sharing how I attempted to do the same while writing The Dead and Buried.

Sonia Gensler did a post a while back on “Bulletproof Kinks.” Which isn’t as dirty as it sounds. It actually just refers to any kind of plot, setting, character, etc. that you are consistently drawn to. For me, it’s always been haunted houses. When I was a little girl, if there was a ghost story in the Scholastic Book Club flyer, that would be the book I wanted. The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were awesome for me because almost every publisher had a horror line in mass market paperback and they were churning those things out like crazy. I spent all my babysitting cash on haunted house books. And even now, whenever I see a book about a ghost or haunting, I’m like HERE’S MY WALLET. TAKE MY MONEY, BOOKSTORE.

So obviously I’ve always wanted to write my own haunted house book. But the problem is, when you’ve read that many, every idea seems like it’s been done to death. There’s only so much you can do with a ghost story. I wanted to put my own spin on it. So I made a conscious effort to take a look at haunted house tropes and clich├ęs…and turn them on their heads.

Examples:

1. The house itself. When you think “haunted house,” you think of a big, scary looking home. Probably old. Maybe isolated. Maybe even with hidden staircases and rooms behind bookcases. I love reading about those houses. But I didn’t want to write one. I thought…what if my haunted house was…ordinary? What if it was a typical new-ish McMansion in a well-to-do suburb? A house you can picture yourself in. A house you might actually live in. A house that feels familiar. A hundred-year-old Victorian haunted by a ghost is expected. The supernatural disturbing a new colonial? Unexpected.

2. The ghost. Many haunted houses have old ghosts. Spirits that have driven out occupants for years and years. A legend old townspeople whisper about. So I made mine a fresh death. A girl who died only months before. A girl whose effect on others is still seen and felt.

3. Is the house haunted? Another trope has the reader wondering, sometimes for the entire length of the novel, whether or not the house is actually haunted. (Example: The Turn of the Screw. Sidenote: I’ve read two YA retellings of The Turn of the Screw this year and, really, I could read one of these a month. I love them. I want MOAR TURN OF THE SCREW RETELLINGS.) Again, as much as I love to read books like this, I didn’t want to write one. Whether or not the house is haunted is not my plot. I made it straight-up obvious that the ghost is real from a certain scene on and that’s where my book morphs from ghost story to murder mystery.

4. Just leave, dude! How many times have you read a haunted house book or watched a movie and thought, DUDE JUST LEAVE! GET OUT! Yeah, me too. So I needed to have a reason for my main character to stay and “no one believes me” isn’t good enough. There has to be something more. So I gave her a big, huge motivation. It’s a spoiler, so I won’t tell you what that reason is. But it was key to creating the book.

Lastly, I also worked hard on character tropes and bringing out the unexpected in seemingly familiar characters. But I can’t give you specifics because, well, spoiler city. I just hope you enjoy the read. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Foreign Covers

I always update the Book Covers album on my Facebook page with foreign covers as soon as I get them, but today I thought I'd share a few here, too.

This is CLARITY in the UK. I adore this cover. It came out from Scholastic UK this past summer.

And here's the sequel! PERCEPTION, coming from Scholastic UK on March 4th, 2013.

My standalone, THE DEAD AND BURIED, will also be making the trip across the pond! Scholastic UK will release it in October 2013 under the title THE KILLING OF KAYLA SLOANE. Check out this amazing cover!

CLARITY released in Germany this month. The title translates to I SEE YOUR SECRET.

And here are the French covers of CLARITY and PERCEPTION (already released).


Which foreign cover is your favorite?