1) Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yes, for as long as I can remember. I didnât think I could actually do it, of course, but I wanted to.
2) What genre(s) do you write?
My first novel, Manumission, is science fiction, because the story was already partly formed in my head, but I also rather like historical romances and contemporary crime, and I have other books to work on after the sequel to Manumission is out.
3) Have you ever self published?
I did try it once, with an attempted fantasy novel, but I was new and naive, and didnât realise that if no-one knows itâs out there, no-one will buy it. I pulled it off Amazon after a week or two, when I realised it wasnât very good!
4) Who or what inspired you to write your first book?
Iâve always read a huge amount, ever since I was very young. It was a natural progression, when I was made redundant, to start putting those nagging words down and see if theyâd constitute a readable book. Iâm still hoping it worked!
5) How many hours in a day might you write?
Generally it varies. I always mean to put in a solid eight hours, but in practice I have to go shopping, do laundry and let my dogs in and out, so itâs usually nearer four hours a day. I just canât work if the house is untidy though. It nags at me, so I often have to vacuum and tidy before I can really concentrate.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I always mean to be a plotter, and I write quite complicated plotlines and even define my characters before I start a new book. Then I put the book away and forget everything I wrote, and fly by the seat of my pants. I think I must be both.
7) Do you ever find yourself slipping away and becoming so immersed in your story it affects how you relate to others?
Oh yes, often. I can separate from the story easily enough, but I find that Iâm constantly wondering what the character would do and asking the dog what she thinks. Iâd probably seem a bit odd, but I try not to do it when thereâs anyone else in the house.
8) Are you in any of your books?
Absolutely not. Quite a few people that I know in real life are in it, but I donât think I could put myself in a book; Iâm far too dull.
9) What do your friends and family have to say about you writing?
Mostly helpful things like, âHurry up and get rich and famous,â or âAre you working? Do you mind if I just distract you for a minute?â
10) Please share an excerpt from your book that totally spoke to you when you put the words down on paper.
From: Manumission by ER Harding
Sheâd dressed entirely in orange and gold, and her face and hair were also heavily decorated with shimmering gold. Vito had excelled himself in the design of her outfit, and sheâd spent an extraordinary amount of her savings on the deceptively simple accessories. Heads swivelled as they were seated at their table, and Susan thought sheâd absolutely burst with pride.
The candlelight flickered in her huge orange eyes and gave her a bizarrely feral appearance, but her smile radiated happiness. Against his own judgement, Gabriel was at first astonished, and then genuinely entranced by her weird appearance.
They sat in the exclusive restaurant, overlooking the shimmer of the northern hemisphere of Earth far below, as other diners nudged each other discreetly, and Susan radiated contentment. She was aware of being watched, but was certain that the hiss of conversations that reached her were prompted by envy and admiration.
Gabriel was feeling particularly heartless in the face of her clear enjoyment, but the plan had been worked out months before, and shattering the pride of one Metaform employee was a negligible price to pay for the ultimate goal.
Two hours into the evening she was still having a wonderful time and knew sheâd never forget it. âI still canât believe Iâm here. Iâm breaking so many rules,â she said happily.
Gabe winced sharply. âItâs my pleasure, believe me, Susan,â he answered.
âWhatâs the matter, Gabe?â Susan asked in alarm.
âMy head. My head hurts. Sorry love, itâll go in a minute.â He pulled himself together and with a visible effort seemed to overcome the pain, and they continued to talk softly. Susan had noticed that Gabriel wasnât drinking, but had decided not to comment.
After another ten minutes, Gabrielâs speech began to slur and he seemed to have trouble concentrating. Then he groaned softly, and winced again, rubbing his eyes with his hands. Gabrielâs water glass fell to the floor and a waiter strolled over and picked it up.
âIs everything to sirâs satisfaction?â he asked with casual malice.
Gabriel didnât respond, holding his head in his hands. Only Susan could see that he was grinding the heels of his hands into his eyes, and his jaw was clenched hard.
âCall an ambulance. Now!â barked Susan. The waiter raised an eyebrow which suggested that an ambulance was a slightly excessive response to a mere drunken episode, but as Susan snarled the final word, he raised the other eyebrow and disappeared.
âGabe, the ambulance will be here soon. Hold on,â she said gently.
âI canât feel my hands.â Gabe looked up for a moment; his eyes were a bright, blood-filled red and tears of pain ran down his cheeks. Susan was horrified.
âI canât go to the EMF,â he said indistinctly. âI have to go back to my clinic. Theyâll know what to do. Susan, itâs important,â he gripped her hand in desperation.
The ambulance arrived within a few minutes, and since it seemed to be a source of worry to Gabe, Susan demanded that they take him back to his fatherâs private clinic. The ambulance crew grumbled briefly, but gave in.
Susan was left behind, sitting alone amongst the ruins of her romantic dinner. Wearily, she collected her bag and a shimmering wrap and boarded the shuttle back to her home to await news of Gabrielâs condition.
Amazon UK & US: http://myBook.to/Manumission
11) Which actor/character(s) would play the starring role?
12) For Gabriel, Iâd like Chris Hemsworth, I think. For Meilinn, Eva Green of James Bond fame would be great. Theyâre both more beautiful than real life people, but thatâs ok. Ultimately, Manumission is about what people will do to be, and stay, beautiful!
13) Whatâs next for you?
Iâm finishing the sequel to Manumission now, and Iâve enjoyed it hugely, but afterwards, Iâd like to go back and finish one of my other novels. Iâll wait and see which one shouts the loudest to me when I revisit them.
Thanks for stopping by today!
ER Hardingâs website: https://erharding.com/