NATALIE S. HARNETT: "BOOKLOVERS ARE STILL ALIVE!"
Interview by Carl Marsh
Your debut novel The Hollow Ground has received so much praise, it must have been like winning the lottery once it was published, and then go on to be so well reviewed?
Carl, it was nothing short of a dream come true. It is an indescribably wonderful feeling, and I hope that everyone gets to feel the same way one day.
How did you stay motivated when writing this book, as it must have been hard as I know distraction and procrastination are an ever present thing?
What was hard was the fact that I had a baby in the middle of writing it! While I was pregnant, I was so afraid I’d never finish that I think it actually motivated me to write faster than I would have otherwise! My family was also a huge help, both with babysitting and basic cheerleading. I actually handwrote a lot of the book whilst holding my infant daughter in one arm!
Do you long for all the attention that being a successful writer can bring you, or will you shy away from all the attention that it could possibly bring?
I used to long for it, and a part of me—a big part of me—still does. But now I realize how difficult being in the spotlight can be, so there’s also a part of me that is relieved that it hasn’t happened. If I am fortunate enough to have that happen one day, I hope I’ll handle it in as a calm a manner as possible. I think there’s a lot of truth in the expression that things happen when you’re ready for them. I wouldn’t have been ready for success ten years ago. I wanted it, but I wasn’t ready for it.
When reading books yourself, what is your preference?
I love an author who writes with an ear for language. It’s probably my single biggest draw when choosing what to read.
Hearing that then, what authors possess those skills?
Marilynne Robinson, Alice Munro, Mary Gaitskill, Junot Diaz.
In our ever evolving technological society, people still should read more, shouldn’t they?
Probably most of us could say that. I certainly should read more. As a teen, I used to clear 1-2 books a week. That just doesn’t happen for me anymore. Do you know I’ve taught a number of community college students who’ve never read a book before! Or even a short story! Then again, I’ve been inspired by all the readers I’ve met online and at events. Booklovers are still alive! Yay!
Last question Natalie, if you were an animal or creature, what would it be, and why?
I would be a firefly, because they make June magical!