My cousin Pamela Harrison recently published her first book, a young adult suspense novel titled Eyes of the Game. Part detective story and part psychological drama, it centers around a college girl, Megan Powell, who is kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend. Among other things, it is about obsessive love, game playing, and the perils of being too nice.
Eyes of the Game is a quarter finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
My cousin’s journey to publication is all the more impressive considering that she made it with two children under age three.
She found time—I don’t know how she found it—to do an interview for Writer’s Rest. Enjoy.
The author at home
How did you get Eyes of the Game ready for publication while also taking care of a one-year-old and a two-year-old?
I have a wonderful, very computer literate husband, who helped me through the whole technical process (including punctuation; semicolons are not my friends).
Who are your readers?
My book is for older young adults, but I think it has crossover appeal for adults, too. I list it as Mature YA on Amazon, and that is because it deals (sometimes graphically) with the dangers of stalking and obsessive love.
How did you come to write this novel?
Writing has always been cathartic for me. When I started Eyes, I had lost my dad, broken up with my fiancée, and had been fired from a very bad writing job (where they kindly told me “I wouldn’t trust you to write a letter”). So I didn’t write a letter; I wrote a book.
Everyone has had a bad breakup. Love, or whatever is masquerading as love, makes people do insane things. I was hurt. I was angry. I think I wanted a place where I could control what happened. It didn’t work that way. I felt like an observer as I wrote Eyes. I saw what happened and didn’t always like what I saw, but I wrote it down and got lost in it.
Why did Megan’s ex-boyfriend resort to kidnapping her? What went wrong?
Erik has backstory, which I edited out. His mother died in the hospital when he was very young, after promising him she would come back to him. His father had no interest in raising a son. From an early age, Erik felt abandoned and betrayed. He fights those feelings by trying to always be in control. When Megan tells him thereis hope that she will come back to him, he doesn’t really believe it, but he thinks this time he can get what he wants by forcing it. It doesn’t justify what Erik did, but it does help explain it.
The setting is rural Pennsylvania. What role does setting play in the novel?
Forests are amazing—the astounding beauty, the quiet, the feeling of being very much alone while at the same time being so surrounded.You can go twenty feet from a lighted house into a forest at night and the darkness will swallow you up. I wanted my setting to convey the isolation of the forest along with its primal fears, to pull my audience into the terror Megan feels as she runs, not just from Erik but from everything around her.
Was any part of Eyes especially fun to write?
The scene below. I love its If only…moment. You can feel the desperation in Erik as he begs Megan to tell him the truth.
“I love you, Megan,” he’d told her, and he meant it. Every string, every fiber, every cell in his body told him how much he loved her. But she’d just seemed sad. She didn’t say the words back. “But you don’t love me?” he’d asked, needing to know the truth more than he’d ever needed it before.
Lashes damp with tears, she didn’t, couldn’t look at him, but her answer gave him what he needed, what he craved, a whisper of hope. “I don’t know,” she’d said. Three words that sealed her fate.
What were your most cherished books when you were growing up?
Yum! so many… I read Little Women so often in the bathtub that I need to have it rebound, Chronicles of Narnia, Half-Magic, Gone with the Wind, Encyclopedia Brown, anything by Lois Duncan. The late Robert Cormier was a YA master. I still happily re-read The Great Brain and All of a Kind Family. I am a huge fan of Thomas Perry. Right now, I am devouring the Game of Thrones series. I am never sated when it comes to books!
Links to Eyes of the Game: