Aileen Harkwood is a die hard fan of the mysteries, thrills and romances life has to offer and has wanted to write her own since she penned her first, safely-hidden-away-in-a-drawer-never-to-see-the-light-of-day novel in high school. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing, and resides in the Southern Rockies of the United States with her family, a Labrador with an extensive chew stick collection, and two cats named after birds.
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Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I always start out with a premise that includes a set-up, main characters and a potential problem. I never start writing until I know how the story will end. Too easy to get lost without a goal in mind. Usually I’ll flesh out a minimal plot in a set of notes that covers the major points where the story changes and moves off in a different direction. A few paragraphs, a page, no more. For me, the fun of writing is discovering the story as you go along, watching it unfold like a movie.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Yes. Definitely. And I don’t mind. I like to let my characters tell the story rather than forcing them to do what I’d like.
What is your favourite food?
I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t say chocolate. But living in New Mexico, I’m also addicted to Hatch green chile. It goes in, on, and with almost anything, including chocolate. The annual harvest is just coming in and the chile roasters are already fired up outside local grocery stores. I wish I could send you the scent online. It’s heavenly.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl. My favourite time to write is late night to early morning. Sometimes I’ll write all night and my need to get the words down won’t let me go to sleep until the sun rises.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I would love to visit Hong Kong and go shopping. I’m a tea person rather than a coffee person, so shopping for tea there sounds like a huge treat. Another place I’d love to go is home to California. The high desert is stunning, but I miss walking on the beach, and seeing the neighborhood where I grew up. Shopping at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena would be awesome. Finally, I’d love to return to the U.K. where I took a semester in college. I’d create a little Austen tour for myself and visit the places featured in her novels.
Unfortunately, work obligations on the day job mean the longest getaway I can afford for the foreseeable future is a day trip to Santa Fe, which is exotic in its own right.
Do distant places feature in your books?
In a way. I’ve lived in many parts of the U.S., so I have a fairly large repertoire of places to choose from when selecting a setting for a novel. The only country I’ve visited—beyond quick jaunts to Canada and Mexico—is the U.K. London was fantastic. Loved the bleak romanticism of Scotland in January, as well. It doesn’t feel like I know any part of the country well enough to write about it, however.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Nope. No music. I prefer the whirring of a portable room fan. White noise that drowns out everything else. Though right now I’m listening to thunder over the mountains behind me. I love that sound.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
DANGEROUS DREAMS is the first novel in a trilogy featuring The Dreamrunner Society. Dreamrunners are psychics with a special ability for sending a duplicate of their living, breathing bodies to anyplace on the planet they can accurately visualize, either from memory or with the aid of photos and videos. As you might imagine, the gift is one that people in power would like to exploit or destroy. Imagine what someone with that talent could do. Travel to and eavesdrop on enemies or competitors, free captives or, alternatively, position themselves to assassinate someone. No place is secure from a dreamrunner if the runner knows what a target location looks like beforehand.
Of course, the runners aren’t interested in doing any of this. They’d prefer to live their lives ethically and on their own terms. They don’t want to be anyone’s pawns or tools. Sadly, their enemies are determined to capture the best and kill the rest.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
It takes persistence. And a lot more time than you would expect to make an impact on readers. I don’t see myself as landing on many readers’ radar until I get to my fifth or sixth book. If I’m lucky. ;-)
Is there anything you would do differently?
Start earlier. Years earlier.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Nature has a huge influence on how and what I write. It inspires me. It sets a mood, and once I’ve found the atmosphere for a book or novella it’s much easier to find the story’s voice. People think of writers as having a voice or style, but in my mind, it’s the story that owns the voice, not the writer.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Keep going. No matter what. If you want it, go for it. Don’t let people tell you your writing isn’t good enough. Just start work on something. Finish it. And repeat.
What are three words that describe you?
Procrastinator. Stubborn. Kind.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
As you might guess, I’m a cliché. It’s Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice. I love Hemingway and Ian Fleming and am fascinated by the work of Sebastian Junger and Kazuo Ishiguro, as well. For total popcorn, I never miss a Kay Hooper novel. Other favs are most of the paranormal themed books by Nora Roberts, Melinda Leigh’s romantic suspense, and anything by Susanna Kearsley.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
The Dreamrunners Society,
Genre: Paranormal/Romantic Suspense
Number of pages: estimated 220 pages
Word Count: 65K
Plagued by nightmares of terrorist bombings, Lara Freberg is a so-called Lost One, unaware of her psychic gift for literally being in two places at once. While her true body sleeps, her twin is helplessly drawn to scenes of unspeakable horror.
Kidnapped by a corrupt, CIA-like organization determined to exploit her abilities, Lara is given no choice. Cooperate or die. Until the midnight spying missions that make her the willing prisoner of an erotic stranger. Does she dare trust him with her warning of a future attack on American soil?
Jack Mayfield will never forgive himself for being too late to free Lara from the Greys, The Dreamrunners Society's sworn enemies. An elite front line operative, Jack is able to find and save the Lost Ones no one else can. Nothing, however, can prepare him for the shock of losing the woman who holds the key to unlocking his war weary heart. Now Jack is in a race for her life. Lara's dreaming half may be able to drive him wild with passion, but can he believe her when she says the Greys haven't turned her against him and the Society?
It won't be easy to rescue his one true love from certain death.
List of previous books if any
Wolf’s Den: Legacy of the White Wolf (paranormal shifter novella from The Wild Rose Press) Available here:
As you might tell, I love British literature and contemporary fiction, so it’s wonderful to have a chance to connect with U.K. readers. Thank you so much for the opportunity!
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