Linear Park (States of Love) by Ken Harrison
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ken Harrison here today on tour with his latest novel Linear Park. Welcome, Ken, and thanks for sitting in our author’s Interview chair.
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Ken Harrison
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I tend to write about what I know, so a good amount of myself goes into everything. In Linear Park, Sean’s backstory comes from a few people I know and my own experiences living with a person with alcohol issues. A lot of Nick’s personality comes from my husband.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
What I’m working on now is contemporary and takes place in New York City and Rhode Island. The main character is an artist, and I know a few artists and have a slight understanding of how things work. Still, I needed to do some research to get specific aspects of painting right. I think for any story that takes place in the real world, there’s a certain amount of research that needs to be done. Nobody knows everything.
Has your choice of reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
Yes and no. Back when I was writing erotica, what I read sometimes influenced my stories. I wrote a few stories that were inspired by Jim Thompson and two from cyberpunk fiction. I’m new to romance, so we’ll see what happens.
Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?
Although I’ve never had to put a story aside because I was too close to it, I need to have some type of emotional response to know that what I’m writing is worthy of my time. If I don’t laugh or cry, then I’m not attached to it enough to continue.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
I like realistic endings. If an ending isn’t believable then the entire story can be ruined for me. It’s nice to have everything work out, but not all stories can end that way.
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
I’ve always read a wide variety of fiction. When I was a kid it was horror and sci-fi. Throughout my twenties, it was mostly women’s fiction. I love Margaret Atwood, Erica Jong, Alice Walker and a few others. I also read a lot of gay and lesbian fiction. I didn’t seek out romance until I was in my forties.
Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?
I love language and the use of words. A book needs to have a tone or strong voice to catch my attention. When I read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, I was in love with her prose and sense of voice. Steven King has a way of using the omniscient voice to pull the reader into the story. Jim Thompson has a grittiness to his prose that works with his edgy fiction. I remember reading Ann Beattie and falling in love with the simplicity of her language. She can tell so much in so little. I believe that the best writing uses an economy words.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
I’m a tech guy, so I like ebooks. With that said, I also believe in ebook standards and the ePub format. Proprietary formats drive me bonkers, which is why I was pleased when Amazon allowed kindle users to upload ePub files. All ebook readers should use a single file format, IMHO.
What’s holding ebooks back right now is pricing. Small presses, especially romance presses, understand how to price ebooks. Sometimes I look at the price of books coming from the larger publishing houses and cringe. Why would I pay for an ebook that costs as much as a hardcover? An ebook is a file the publisher pays to set up once, then sells worldwide without the cost of printing or shipping; there’s very little overhead. Ebooks are the new mass market paperback and should not be priced the same as trade paper or hardcover.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
I considered asking to design my own cover for Linear Park, then decided to relax and let somebody else do it. I’m glad I did. It was great to see another person come up with a cover and give input.
What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?
I think the most outrageous story I’ve written thus far was the title story for Ten Thick Inches. A man is hired by a mobster to steal a gold replica of his penis. The entire story is a bit out of control.
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
Someplace quiet with natural light and a stereo. I sometimes play music in the background, usually Brian Eno or the Cocteau Twins.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on another contemporary romance now, but have an idea for something much more fantastical when it’s finished. I would also like to write something glitzy, like a gay Scruples or Valley of the Dolls. I’m a sucker for a good glitz novel. I love both those books so much.
Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.
When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?
About the Author
Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.
When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.
Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.