Interview with author Sarah Harian!

Today we have a special treat for interview with author Sarah Harian!

Sarah's debut speculative fiction novel, THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE, released this month (congratulations, Sarah!) and we're here to dish the dirt about the novel, what it's like being a new author, and more!

Before we dive into the interview, here's a little info about Sarah's book:

The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix Books

Synopsis: Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.


Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.

What inspired you to write The Wicked We Have Done? Was there a specific thought or event that sparked the idea in your mind? 
I was re-watching my favorite show, LOST, when then idea came to me. I wanted to write a book where a bunch of unsavory people were stuck out in the wild somewhere and facing their demons. I didn’t really know who these people were when I started developing the story. Hell, I didn’t even know that they were criminals. The story really started unfolding from the middle. If there is a scenario where my protagonist somehow faces the darkness of her past in the middle of the woods, how did this come about? Why was my protagonist in the woods? What aspect of her past was she so afraid of?

Who was your favorite character to write, and why? 

I drafted this book so many times that I had a new favorite character with each draft. I think Valerie was the easiest character for me to write. Her voice was so natural and fun. She’s the protagonist in a Chaos Theory novella releasing later this year.

There are some pretty intense moments in the story. Is it hard to write those kind of scenes? Have you ever freaked yourself out while writing one? (We won't judge, we promise, lol ;)) 

Great question! I’m not really freaked out when it comes to stories. Like, I can pretty much watch any scary movie without blinking an eye, or read a scary book and go to bed right after. So I think that I channeled that part of me when writing Wicked. Often while writing, I thought, Wow Sarah, that’s pretty effed up, but I never freaked myself out. In real life situations, however, I am the BIGGEST chicken. I panic so easily. I guess I’m just able to perceive media as something completely fictional. 

Most New Adult books focus almost exclusively on romance. In your book, the romance is more of a subplot. Was that intentional, or did it just sort of happen?

I never really envisioned this book as a romance novel, so I guess it just sort of happened. This sounds a little pretentious, but I didn’t write this book in order to fit in with the current state of the NA category. I wrote it because I wanted to. It happened to be a book with romance existing as a subplot and I was lucky enough to acquire a team (my agent and the wonderful people at NAL) to take it on.

What authors have influenced you and your writing? 

I talk about Lev Grossman all of the time. He really influenced me in terms of writing the characters that I want to write and not worrying if they’re likeable or not. I’m influenced by Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter too, although they write stuff much more literary than mine.

As a debut author, it must be so exciting to see your book in the hands of readers. What's been the craziest part of being published, and what advice would you give other aspiring authors out there?

I think the craziest part has been writing a book that people aren’t expecting. Entering the romance-driven category of NA with a gruesome speculative novel… it really shocked people to the point where the reactions to the book were very polarized. Some readers were stoked, others were disgusted, and some didn’t know what to make of it.

My advice would be to stop paying attention to trends. Writers are creating this vortex of uninspired fiction because they’re trying to write for money, and it’s really a bummer.

What's next in the series? How many books are planned? Will each book focus on a different set of characters, or will Evalyn and Casey's story continue? 

Right now I’m slated for a novella in Valerie’s point of view that’s releasing in August, and the sequel, A Vault of Sins, out in September. A Vault of Sins is in Evalyn’s point of view.

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