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AOTW- A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte

About the Author:
I am an author with many aspirations, amongst which sampling chocolate from every country in the world and finally managing to catch up on my sleep.
An avid reader, I’ve been writing fiction far longer than anybody’s been paying attention. I am fascinated by the untapped potential of digital content, particularly when it comes to indie publishing and the online fiction community. 

I am the Editor-in-Chief of 1889 Labs, commissioning projects and just generally ordering people around. I also have volunteered as an editor for Web Fiction Guide and run my own online publishing project, qazyfiction. And just to kill myself a little more, I try to do my bit in helping other authors by running a review blog, quillsandzebras.
During the daytime I work at a legal publishers’. I live in London, a city not half as foggy as some seem to think.

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Interview with A.M. Harte

HP: A.M. Harte -- From your blog one can discern that you are a very busy and devoted individual. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A.M. Harte: I'm a twenty-something London-based author who should really learn when to say "no". You're right: I'm far too busy. On top of my day job, I'm an indie author, the editor of Canadian publisher 1889 Labs, a book reviewer, and I'm even part of a team that's developing a new podcast dedicated to webfiction. When I get excited about new projects I always agree to take part before thinking twice, but it's better to be this way than to miss out on an opportunity. You only live once, after all. Might as well bite off more than you can chew, and then chew as furiously as a rock star!

HP:
Have you always lived in London?

A.M. Harte: Nope! I'm one of those confusing kids. I was born in Belgium, lived in Spain for a short while, then spent the bulk of my formative years in Milan, Italy. I moved to London just under six years ago, which I think is long enough to start considering myself a Londoner. I certainly feel most at home in London, after all, and can't really imagining living anywhere else.

HP: You are the Editor-in-Chief of 1889 Labs, "an independent publisher dedicated to producing the best strange fiction conceivable by the human brain". How did you get this job, if you don't mind my asking? What do you do on a regular day? Do you enjoy it?

A.M. Harte: I met the publisher of 1889 Labs, MCM, through the online fiction community a couple years ago. He did a crazy thing where he wrote a novel live in three days, and somehow we ended up being friends after that. Then a couple months ago, we were both at a loose end and began bouncing ideas off of each other for cool projects we wanted to launch, and before I knew it I was hired!

What I do on a day-to-day basis changes regularly. I was mainly brought on to hunt down and discover talented authors whose work we'd like to publish, and I handle everything from the initial idea pitch to MCM, through to liaising with the author, setting the publishing schedule, proofing, etc -- it's all about being organized and making sure everything is ticking over smoothly.

On a large scale, MCM and I are working together to expand 1889 Labs and push new publishing boundaries, whether it's through crazy livewriting stunts, experimental business models, or fun projects we've always wanted to do but never had the time to. For example, right now, for the whole month of May, I've organized a month-long promotion called Party Like It's 1889, where we're giving away dozens of prizes such as ebooks, paperbacks, Amazon vouchers, and even the grand prize of a Kindle!

HP:
You have a novel that just came out January 2011 called Hungry For You-- which is available at Amazon.com. From what I could find the book is a collection of short stories by you. Can you tell us about it?  What was the writing process like? Is the set of short stories what you set out to write or did it just happen over time?

A.M. Harte: “Hungry For You” is a zombie love speculative fiction anthology which takes a hard look at love and death, because at the end of the day, what else is there to write about? The collection is a study of extremes, from all-enduring love to twisted relationships, from traditional brain-eating zombies to thinking, sentient creatures. Perhaps my favorite description of the book is from one of my reviewers, Lauren Smith (from Violin in a Void) who said: “Hungry For You makes zombies less scary, more revolting, but also morbidly fascinating. It’s smart and spunky, bringing together horror, tragedy, romance and dark humor.”

I didn't set out with the intention of writing a collection of stories. An author friend, Lori Titus, challenged me to take part in a zombie love flash fiction contest. I hated zombies at the time, so decided to challenge myself to take part. As soon as I started writing I realized there was a lot of potential in the subject, and more and more story ideas kept appearing out of nowhere. Somewhere into my third story, I decided I'd make a collection. So it's been a pretty unexpected experience!

HP: You have another book coming out in September 2011, the first of your new series, Above Ground. Can you tell us a little about the first book and the idea for the series? Where do you plan to go with this series as a whole?

A.M. Harte: Above Ground is a post-apocalyptic adventure fantasy set in a world where humans live underground and monsters live on the surface. Lilith Gray is a human girl who inadvertently becomes trapped above ground after a day trip to the surface ends in bloodshed. Forced to rely on a taciturn werewolf who saves her against his will, Lilith must struggle to survive as she makes her way back home... or die trying.

At it's core, Above Ground is about self-discovery, because the only way you can carve a place for yourself in a hostile world is by understanding who you are. I've been working on the Above Ground series for around three years now, so the story is very close to my heart. I expect the series to ultimately become a trilogy, but I'm focusing on getting the first book polished and published, first!

HP: Can you tell us a little about speculative fiction from your point of view?

A.M. Harte: I'm a bit of a daydreamer, so I've always been drawn to speculative fiction. I love to spend time wondering about what life could be like in an alternate universe where magic exists, or demons are real, or cars run on toothpaste. When reading or writing speculative fiction, you can really let your imagination go and wonder: What if?

The hard part is making all the crazy things you imagine make sense. Whether you have werewolves or vegetarian zombies, your story needs to be coherent and consistent -- everything must be plausible in the world you've built, or a reader won't be able to sink into the story and truly escape.

HP: What are your goals as a writer?

A.M. Harte: To be read! What other goal would a writer have?

Of course, everyone would love to win awards and make millions and have huge displays in brick-and-mortar stores, but at the end of the day, I write because I want to share my dreams and stories with others. Eventually I would love to be able to inspire others, and perhaps even get readers writing fanfiction of my work!

HP: You wrote a short story in the anthology-- Other Sides: 12 Webfiction Tales. Your story, Belonging, is a prequel actually, to the Above Ground series. Which can be downloaded for free at your blog. Can you tell us a little of the process that goes into writing an anthology?

A.M. Harte: The first step in writing an anthology is figuring out what your anthology will be about. There should generally be a common theme or topic throughout all the stories, so that reading them together makes sense. Then you've got to pick a word count and overall length for the whole collection, so you have a rough estimate of how long each story should be. Then it's write, write, write!

Writing an anthology is both fun and frustrating. It's fun because you can explore so many ideas at the same time, and each story is quick and intense, because your space is limited. But it's frustrating because you can never fully sink into one story and world -- at the back of your mind is the constant thought that this is only one small part of a greater whole of work you need to get done!

HP: I think I have to ask, because it is something everyone loves to know from authors-- How did you start writing?

A.M. Harte: I have no idea. I've been writing since, well, forever. I can't really remember when or how I began! As a teenager I used to write a lot of fanfiction, which gave me the space to practice my craft -- I don't think I'd be half as good a writer now if I hadn't had that background. Eventually I grew tired of writing about other people's characters, and began writing about my own. But I could never finish a story.

Then, three or so years ago, I stumbled across the webfiction community, and decided to post my writing online, chapter by chapter. Having a weekly deadline really encouraged me to write more regularly, and I finally finished my first novel. Since then it's just been onwards and upwards, setting myself continual deadlines to keep the writing flowing.

HP: You have a review blog, http://quillsandzebras.wordpress.com/. Again I have to ask-- but for my own curiosity-- How do you manage all the things you do--writing, publishing, ect.-- and still have time to read and review books?

A.M. Harte:
I can't not read; it makes me unhappy, just like if I go for long enough without writing, I become really cranky. It's my love of books and stories that got me into writing in the first place, so it would be strange to stop reading! It helps that I have a half an hour's commute into work every morning, which is when I do the bulk of my reading.

I also think it's essential for authors to read as much as possible. Reading (and reviewing) other people's work helps you improve as a writer, because you learn what works and what doesn't in a story. Besides, I know how much I appreciate reviews of my own work, so it seems fair to spread the love and give back to the community!

HP: Did you set out with the intent of being an author, publisher, and editor-in-chief? Or it just something that happened over time?

A.M. Harte: Like with most things in my life, I kind of fell into it all. When I started writing it was something I was doing only for fun, with no expectation that I'd have a book published. Likewise, working as Editor-in-Chief at 1889 Labs wasn't ever something I planned on doing -- it just happened. I think it helps that I always keep my mind open to new opportunities and tend to say yes to new ventures, although I must say I have been pretty lucky in that so far, nothing bad has ever happened to my saying "yes"!

HP: Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

A.M. Harte: I'm currently re-reading "Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes" by Greg X. Graves (link: http://1889.ca/books/morals/ ).

It's a hilarious anthology of Aesop-like fables, each ending with an unexpected tongue-in-cheek "moral". Among my favorite stories is one where Graves explores how we could avoid the energy crisis by creating a dinosaur-breeding program -- that way when they die, we could bury them and continually create more fossil fuels.

It's quite wacky stuff, but it's unlike anything you'll find anywhere else -- I highly recommend it!

HP: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and future readers?

A.M. Harte:
Let's stick with something simple: Thank you! I wouldn't be writing if it weren't for you.

(Oh, and dear future reader, are there really flying cars in the future? If so, please send one back in time to me.)

HP: What do you do to unwind and relax?

A.M. Harte: One of my favorite ways to relax is to lie in bed and daydream, but the problem is that just ends up creating more work for me as I eventually come up with yet another story idea!

No rest for the wicked, I suppose, although I do procrastinate a lot by reading, finding yet more cat videos on youtube, oversleeping, and occasionally hitting the streets of London to party my socks off. And let's not forget eating chocolate. Lots of it. Mmm....

HP: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for us A.M. Harte!!!

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Books by A.M. Harte
Hungry For You
Available in ebook format at Kindle US, Kindle UK also at Smashwords and in Paperback at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository, Chapter’s and Powell’s

Anthologies
Other Sides: 12 Webfiction Tales
Available in ebook format at Kindle (US), Kindle (UK) and Smashwords and in Paperback at Amazon

Short Stories
Second Sight, to be featured in the Tales for Canterbury anthology
Dead Meat, posted on iamcheckedout, April 1 2011.
Swan’s Act, in the 12 Days 2010 anthology, December 2010.
The Kill, in Flashes In The Dark, November 1 2010.
Belonging, in Ergofiction‘s Other Sides anthology, October 14 2010.
The Perfect Song, in The Random Eye Magazine [defunct], January 2010.

Coming Soon
Above Ground, book 1 in the Above Ground Series-- Coming September 2011

You can also find A.M. Harte at:

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Giveaway

A.M. Harte has offered to giveaway an Ebook copy of her book-- Hungry For You!! She will provide the winner with a Smashwords coupon so they can download it in whatever format works best for them.
 



Book Description:

""There is no greater drug than relationships; there is no sweeter death than love."

Love is horrible. It’s ruthless, messy, mind-altering, and raw. It takes no prisoners. It chews you up and spits you out and leaves you for dead. Love is, you could say, very much like a zombie.

In this haunting short story collection, anything is possible—a dying musician turns to tea for inspiration; a police sergeant struggles with a very unusual victim; a young wife is trapped in a house hiding unimaginable evil….

With "Hungry For You", A.M. Harte explores the disturbing and delightful in an anthology that unearths the thin boundary between love and death.



Giveaway Details: 
  • Open to US & Canada & International
  • Giveaway will run from May 23rd 2011 - June 3rd 2011
  • Winner will be announced and contacted on June 4th 2011. The winner has 48 hours to contact back before another will be chosen.
  • This giveaway is provided by the author.
  • One entry per-person please!

To Enter:

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