Harrison Squared Tour Schedule
Welcome to my stop on the Harrison Squared Blog Tour, brought to you by Rockstar Book Tours. Today I will be featuring an interview with Daryl Gregory, and there will be a tour-wide giveaway at the end of the post!
Title: Harrison Squared
Author: Daryl Gregory
Publisher: Tor Books (Macmillan)
Tour Organizer: Rockstar Book Tours
Release Date: March 24, 2015
From award winning author Daryl Gregory comes a thrilling and colorful Lovecraftian adventure of a teenage boy searching for his mother, and the macabre creatures he encounters.
Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.
On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish¬-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.
Kayla: Hi Daryl, thank you so much for allowing me to ask you a few questions. To start us off, I have to ask after reading the Harrison Squared description – are you afraid of water or its inhabitants? I personally refuse to swim in anything that doesn’t have concrete on the bottom.
Daryl Gregory: Right? What if is something comes out of the sand and grabs you?
I’ve always been a bit freaked out by large creatures moving under water. It’s not been a debilitating fear -- I have managed to swim in the ocean, and I like it -- but a shadow in the water can still get my heart racing. I was snorkeling near Honolulu a couple years ago, and this sea turtle came up beside me. When you’re on the beach, turtles are these cute, slow creatures. But when you’re in the water with them, it’s like being naked in Jurassic Park.
Kayla: I'm right there with you: a stingray killed any joy of the ocean for me. *shudders* Can you tell us a little bit about the Dwellers? (If it’s too spoilery, please tell us about what inspired them.)
Daryl: The Dwellers are an homage to H.P. Lovecraft’s Deep Ones, a race of near-immortal amphibians who were featured in his stories in the 1920s. When I was writing Harrison Squared, which is deeply inspired by those Lovecraft stories, I kept thinking about the poor Deep Ones. Don’t they get bored? What do they do all day? Hence, Harrison’s best friend Lub, a Dweller who would much rather read comics and see what’s on TV than float in the ocean all day.
Kayla: What is your favorite development that came along in the story that wasn’t originally there?
Daryl: In the first draft, I was very free-wheeling, throwing in characters and odd details even if I didn’t know why they were there. For example, Harrison was missing his right leg from the knee down, but I didn’t know how he’d lost it, or when.
But in the second draft, I put on my structural engineer hat, and I said, What if none of these things are a coincidence? You become a conspiracy theorist, connecting all the dots. I suddenly realized that this was not Harrison’s first visit to the town of Dunnsmouth--his parents brought him there when he was a toddler, and he lost his leg not in a random boating accident, but because a creature took it. It turned out that it was no accident that his mother brought them back to this town on this particular year, at this particular time. Sometimes when you figure these things out, you’re sure your unconscious knew these “facts” all along.
But of course, not all the weird details get to stay -- sometimes they just distract you from the heart of the story, and you have to throw them out. Or rather, most of them, because you never know what odd, unexplained detail will be explained in a later book.
Kayla: What do you think sets Harrison Squared apart from other young adult novels?
Daryl: The book is ostensibly a horror novel -- because there are monsters, and some scary bits -- but you could just as accurately call it a comedy. (Though a comedy with monsters.) This may disappoint some horror fans, because there’s no constant feeling of dread.
I like to write how strange, surreal events would affect real people, and real people can’t maintain a constant feeling of dread, at least not for the length of a novel. My zombie novel Raising Stony Mayhall, for example, spent much more time on zombie politics and religion than it did on brain eating.
So my characters laugh, worry about things that aren’t in the main plot, and are self aware. Harrison especially realizes that some of the things happening in Dunnsmouth are outlandish, and because he’s read books and seen movies, he knows when some of them are horror tropes. I’m not writing parody, but my characters are at least as smart as the average reader. If this stuff happened to you, you’d be thinking, My God, this is just like a movie. So does Harrison.
Kayla: If you could rewrite the events of Harrison Squared by another character’s point of view, who would you choose?
Daryl: Always pick the monsters. There’s a woman/dweller hybrid named the ToadMother who simply wants to rule the world--is that so wrong? The novel would be about her struggles trying to get everyone to cooperate. And if those slackers and naysayers have to die, well, they’ve brought it on themselves. She’s got a dream.
Kayla: Will there be any more books about Harrison?
Daryl: One already exists. A short novel called We Are All Completely Fine is out now (and is a current Nebula award nominee). It takes place years after the events of Harrison Squared, and is about the grown-up Harrison who’s still dealing with the events that happened to him as a teenager. He joins a therapy group for people who have also experienced supernatural trauma, and the patients find out that their stories are not only connected to each other’s, but they’re not quite over.
I also have a few more books planned for young Harrison. I just need to make time to write them!
Oh, and one more thing. On my website there’s a choose-your-own-adventure game about Harrison Squared that runs in your browser-- it’s called Harrison Squared Dies Early. You can find it at darylgregory.com/harrisonsquared.
Thank you for your time!
Thanks for having me on the blog! Much appreciated.
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About the Author
Daryl Gregory is an award-winning writer of genre-mixing novels, stories, and comics. His most recent work is the novel is Afterparty (Tor, April 2014) and the novella We Are All Completely Fine (Tachyon, August 2014). His first novel, Pandemonium, won the Crawford Award and was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His other novels include the Philip K. Dick award finalist The Devil’s Alphabet and Raising Stony Mayhall, which was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.
Many of his short stories are collected in Unpossible and Other Stories, which was named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. His comics work includes the Planet of the Apes series, and Dracula: The Company of Monsters series (co-written with Kurt Busiek). He lives in State College, PA, where he writes programming code in the morning, prose in the afternoons, and comics at night.
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Blog Tour Giveaway
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Ends at 12:01am EST on April 4th
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