Molly Harper, author of the Nice Girls vampire series and Naked Werewolf series, is a guest of the upcoming 2013 Undead Con horror writers conference hosted by Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat Fan Club in New Orleans. Molly will also be appearing as a guest author attending the 25th annual Vampire Ball.
Fans can anticipate a panel with Molly Harper as she discusses her books with audience members during Undead Con's first panel. Molly will share the floor with fellow authors Christopher Rice, Robert Crutchfield, Carmen Dominique Taxer, and Greg Wilkey.
She took the time to answer some of this reporter's questions for Examiner.com New Orleans Literature.
Dionne Charlet: Molly, please tell our readers a little about yourself; particularly how you decided you wanted to write novels.
Molly Harper: I am a former newspaper reporter turned church secretary turned vampire novelist. I wrote my first complete novel, ‘NICE GIRLS DON’T HAVE FANGS,’ at night while I was working as the receptionist for a Baptist church. That was an interesting conversation with the pastor.
I have lived in Kentucky all of my life. I am married to my high school sweetheart, David, a local police captain who has no shame in telling his coworkers that he is the inspiration for all of my heroes. “It’s all right here,” he’ll tell him. We have two kids, who are just getting to the age where they’re embarrassed by my job. It could have something to do with opening a shipment of my newest book (complete with a shirtless man on the cover) when their friends were over.
DC: What led you to write stories about vampires?
MH: I was that weird kid that checked out all of the non-fiction paranormal studies books from the library. I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural, particularly movies and TV shows that manage to blend humor with the horror – Supernatural, Buffy, Angel.
So when I finally decided to get off my duff and write a book, it had to be a vampire story and it had to be just a little quirky. At the time, I was working for my local newspaper as a humor columnist. I noticed that my most popular columns were the “slice of life” pieces I wrote about messing up a project, injuring myself at the gym or some social humiliation I’d brought on myself. So I decided to write the most embarrassing way possible to become a vampire. My poor main character, Jane, is fired from her job, given a gift certificate to a TGI Friday’s type restaurant instead of a severance, has her car break down on the way home from drowning her sorrows, walks home along the proverbial dark country road, is mistaken for a deer and shot by the town drunk and is turned by a passing vampire to keep her from dying.
I felt a little bad, putting Jane through so much, but I think her lack of “vampire cool,” even after being turned, has helped readers connect with her.
DC: What are your thoughts on top vampire series in print, movies and/or television, and how does your "Nice Girls" series compare/contrast with the works of authors like Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice? (Or authors of your choice...)
MH: I think my books are lighter and funnier than some of the big series out there. You may not walk away from my books having learned a life-altering lesson, but you will feel better for having laughed for a few hours. It’s just a different style of writing. I admire writers who can put the reader through the emotional wringer and keep them coming back for more. I enjoy angsty, dark stories as much as the next gal, but I don’t think I write dark very well. I like writing slapstick humor and accidental Tasing scenes.
DC: I love the concept of a 'nice girl' gone vampire still trying to remain a nice girl. Does your main character Jane Jameson remind you of anyone you know? Has writing her into four books and a spinoff series changed anything in your own life?
MH: When I was a newbie author, I was pretty shameless in injecting my own personality in Jane. She is quirky and disaster prone, socially clumsy, which is all me. I can find the worst possible thing to say in any situation. It’s like I’m an ‘accidental insult’ bloodhound. Jane is also very loyal, funny, a Jane Austen fanatic and spits out random trivia when she’s nervous, which I am prone to do. So Jane will always be my favorite heroine, because she is the closest to my heart and she was my “first-born.”
MH: Writing Jane into four books and her various spinoffs has changed the way I look at my ‘universe.’ Every time I think, ‘OK, I’m done’ … some other character will pop into my head and say, ‘No, you’re not!’ There’s always room for more stories, more characters that the readers will enjoy.
DC: As a published vampire author, how do you spend your time away from fangs and word counts?
MH: I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we have two kids, so there always seems to be SOMETHING going on. I just started taking classes in Brazilian jiu jitsu a few months ago, which has been one of the most awkward, but awesome, experiences I’ve had in years. (There is no polite way to put someone in a chokehold. It cannot be done.) I am in training for a half-marathon–which my husband informs me CANNOT be completed in a golf cart. And I enjoy watching truly schlocky sci-fi movies like Sharknado and Spiderquake. Because if you can’t laugh at chainsaw-wielding citizens battling a storm system that drops live sharks on the Greater Los Angeles area, I am sort of sad for you.
DC: How did you react when you first held a copy of one of your books in print?
MH: I held it to my chest like a newborn baby and wept like a tiny, tiny little girl.
DC: Are you excited to be a guest author for the ARVLFC Undead Con and one of the guest authors attending with Anne Rice at the 2013 ARVLFC ball? (Again, update: Molly Harper will not be attending 2013 Undead Con.)
MH: Yes! I have never attended this convention before, so I don’t really know what to expect. But I have always found vampire-loving authors and readers to be a welcoming community, so I’m sure I’ll have a good time. I don’t know how to feel about the possibility of meeting Anne Rice. She’s one of those authors that is so significant that I don’t know if I have the right to be in the same room with her. I felt the same way when Nora Roberts walked about the hotel lobby at a conference I attended. I felt like I couldn’t look directly at her.
DC: Do you have a costume planned?
MH: I have trouble walking around uninjured in regular clothes, so I’m not willing to risk a costume. I’m more of a pretty dress and a masquerade mask sort of girl.
DC: Have you ever been to New Orleans? What do you love about the city?
MH: My husband and I drove through New Orleans on a road trip a few years ago, but we only had time to stop for lunch on Bourbon Street. It was nice, but we felt rushed. My mom, a lifelong romance reader, is coming along with me as my “support staff,” and she has spent a lot of time there. So she’s making a list of restaurants, shops and cemeteries we have to visit.
Molly's been keeping herself busy! Per her website:
"I have several titles coming out this year, including the latest addition to the Half-Moon Hollow spin-off series, 'A WITCH’S HANDBOOK OF KISSES AND CURSES.' The second title in the Bluegrass series, 'RHYTHM AND BLUEGRASS' will be released in October 2013."
For more information on the ARVLFC, 25th annual Vampire Ball and Undead Con, go to www.arvlfc.com.