Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Sarah Harian to HJ!
Hi Sarah, Welcome to HJ!
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title of the book should be? Why?
Would you rather…be invisible or be able to read minds? Why?
I think I would choose invisibility, but only if I could turn it on and off. Reading minds would be terrifying… while I could probably win a lot of poker games, I’d rather not know what people were constantly thinking about. The mind can be a scary place.
Let’s talk about your newest release: The Wicked We Have Done
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here…
The Wicked We Have Done is about a young woman named Evalyn Ibarra who’s been convicted of shooting up her school and killing her best friend. She’s been sentenced to a month in a Compass Room—a technologically-advanced prison that will designate whether or not she’s truly evil. If she is evil, the prison will kill her. However, Evalyn is more concerned for the lives of the inmates she’s made alliances with than her own, and the book is about her trying to save her friends.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book.
The majority of the characters in my book are convicted killers, sociopaths, and psychopaths. Even the ones that aren’t truly guilty are still screwed up in some way or another. None of them are what you would consider your typical hero or heroine.
As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
The main thing that surprised me about Evalyn was her lack of bashfulness. While she feels shame for her wrongdoings, she isn’t the kind of girl who is embarrassed easily.
What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?
One of my favorite scenes happens between the heroine and her love interest. The book has few sexy moments because of the thriller element and the fact that the heroine is almost always on the run (and filthy!) which is what makes this scene extra sweet. The heroine, Evalyn, is an artist. She’s painting an image on Casey’s bare chest.
“In front of me. Scoot in front of me.” I study his chest when he does so, deciding where I want to start. I’m biased with the scars and bruises that twist his skin. A pang of guilt slices my stomach as I find myself stuck with the fleeting thought that there’s something beautiful about his marred flesh.
I reach out, grazing him right below his left nipple with my paint-covered finger.
He releases a sharp gasp, and then laughs. “Seriously?”
I say with the straightest face, “You mind? I’m working.”
The light in his irises shifts, his expression giving into mischief. “Fine. The lady wants to work, so I’ll let her work.”
“Thank you,” I say flatly, trying to ignore the thrill racing from my gut to my thighs. Something seems wrong with being turned on in the Compass Room. My next move doesn’t really help the matter either. I ask him to lie down.
This time, his complies without even stalling.
I drag across his skin three claws of blue sky. Reaching his scars, I’m desperate to read him like braille.
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
I can’t share the scene that was hardest because that would be giving away too much, but one of the hardest relationships to build was the relationship between Evalyn and Tanner, a side character. He is the smartest of the Compass Room group, so I had to carefully balance his observations and personality.
Tanner sits in the armchair next to mine. His gaze is fixed on Blaise, intent.
Soon, the silence is so thick in the living room, so hot and itchy and unbearable, that I have to say something.
“Do you think Stella is telling the truth?” My voice is so quiet that I’m not even sure Tanner heard until he breaks from Blaise.
“Her trial suggests otherwise.” He pushes his glasses up with his forefinger.
I stare at him blankly.
“Please tell me that you know of her trial.”
I glance around at a lifeless Blaise, at Erity, caught up in a book and not paying us an ounce of attention, and then at Gordon and Salem, both of whom are invested in a certain kitchen cupboard.
“I’ve kind of been in jail.”
“We all have kind of been in jail. I’m pretty sure I’ve kind of been in jail longer than you have.”
I lean back in my chair. “Does that mean you’ve studied up on us?”
“All of you, but not as thoroughly as I’ve studied the Compass Room itself.” He narrows his eyes.
“What?” I say defensively. “No, I didn’t research Compass Rooms after my sentence. Nor did I go out of my way to research any of you.” I hug my torso, as if that will make the next words out of my mouth any more comforting. “It’s pointless research if you’re going to die anyway.”
“I guess if that’s the way you see it.” He shakes the bangs away from his face. “Or your plan all along was to harass another criminal to explain everything to you.”
I scoff. “Looks like you’ve figured me out.”
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
I don’t know! I’ve had dream casts for all of my previous manuscripts, but with Wicked I’ve had the hardest time casting for some reason. All I know is that I wouldn’t object to Evalyn being played by Josie Loren.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Don’t trust the system. The reason why is because many of the characters have come to terms with the fact that they’ve betrayed the rules of society without acknowledging that society has sort of screwed them over too.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2014?
I am currently working on edits for OUR BROKEN SKY (novella) and A VAULT OF SINS (novel), both Chaos Theory books releasing later this year.
What’s the best place for readers to get in touch with you?
Anywhere! I am constantly online. I am particularly active on Twitter though, and I respond to all tweets! (@sarahharian)
GIVEAWAY: Digital copy of The Wicked We Have Done (Amazon)
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: How moral or heroic must a character be for you to sympathize with them? Can they be deviant? Evil? Must you agree with all of their actions?
A series of floor-length windows surround the lobby—grated and bulletproof, but somehow classy. Good ol’ federalized prison. A classy lobby for the worst of us cretins. Cells and living quarters reside beneath the ground. We are invisible. Endless. Until we are allowed on floor two for visitation.
Beyond the windows, a train with a direct track to the California Compass Rooms waits for us at the prison station.
I see the protestors through the panes, behind the fence surrounding the station walkway. They pound the chain link with their fists, their signs waving back and forth. Ready for us. Their shouts weasel their way through the bulletproof glass.
We join the line of convicts. Some tall jerk shoots me a teeth-grinding glare. He’s toned—no, more than toned. He could snap my neck in half in his sleep. His sleeves are rolled up, his bare arms freckled by the sun. All that bulk must have come from outdoor physical labor. His square jaw is clenched and not a muscle in his face even dares to twitch, which makes me wonder if he knows who I am, or if his expression is stuck that way. The guards on either side of him walk stiffly, as though they are secretly scared shitless to be near him. “Casey Hargrove, prisoner number 92354, male number five in Compass Room C. Accounted for,” his guard says as he presses his finger to his earpiece.
And then the guard escorting the girl with dimples. “Jacinda Glaser, prisoner number 48089, female number four in Compass Room C. Accounted for.”
“Evalyn Ibarra, prisoner number 39286, female number five in Compass Room C. Accounted for.”
I swear the space around me goes dead quiet for half a second. The doors open.
Vibrant sound gushes into the lobby like water through an empty canyon. I am numb. My guards drag me forward. Jacinda’s fists clench behind her back—delicate fingers and white knuckles.
I evade the wall of noise and tilt my head to the overcast sky—a final fuck you from the universe. When I bring myself back to earth, I wish I hadn’t.
Hundreds scream at us, thrusting boards with contradicting text against the fence.
Compass Rooms = Barbaric
Repent, Child of God
“You will burn in hell for what you’ve done!” someone shrieks.
A woman presses a photo of one of my victims to the chain link. She mouths my name. Evalyn.
It bounces through space, multiplying. Breeding. Evalyn. Evalyn. Evalyn.
The train waits, silent and magnetic—a silver bullet on tracks—ready to shoot us to California in a handful of hours.
I follow the line of prisoners to the turnstile. Jacinda places her thumb on a panel embedded into the arch of the station. A green light blinks brightly above her and she pushes through.
“Miss Ibarra, right thumb, please,” my guard says. I comply, and the turnstile unlocks.
My name again, sharper and angrier than the others.
“I hope it hurts—I hope it fucking HURTS.”
I’m guided up the steps and into the train car.