Sunday, January 20, 2019

Clarissa Harwood

Clarissa Harwood holds a PhD in English Literature with a specialization in Nineteenth-Century British Literature.

In addition to being a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, she is a part-time university instructor and full-time grammar nerd who loves to explain the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses.

She lives in London, Ontario.

Harwood's new novel is Bear No Malice.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
My usual reading material is either historical fiction or historical research for whichever book I’m currently writing, but lately I took a break from my usual genre to read two refreshingly different books.

Lauren Sapala’s Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers is unlike any marketing or promotional advice for writers I’ve ever heard or read before. I’d already read and loved Sapala’s The INFJ Writer (people familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality types will recognize the acronym), and I enjoyed Firefly Magic even more. This book is a balm for the soul of writers who hate the "hard sell" approach or who shrink from the thought of marketing and promoting their work. I wish I’d known about this book when I published my first novel: it would have made my life much easier! While Firefly Magic contains practical suggestions for creative marketing, it also encourages writers to examine their deep-seated (and often misguided) beliefs about what marketing “should” look like. This book can help writers and artists of all types who want to make a meaningful connection with their audience.

The other book I’m reading now is Unbroken Threads by Jennifer Klepper. It’s about an American attorney turned stay-at-home mom who is testing the workplace waters by taking the pro bono case of a Syrian woman seeking asylum in the US. I’m very impressed with Klepper’s insight and sensitivity as she plunges into the controversial subject of racial tensions and stereotypes. The book is told in close third person from the alternating perspectives of Jessica (the lawyer) and Amina (the refugee), and I was hooked from the first tension-filled meeting between them. Amina, who is turned off by Jessica’s “American TV lawyer” clothes, speaks fluent English and is highly educated. Thus, her very existence forces Jessica to confront her stereotypical notions about refugees. And Jessica is so insecure about her ability to return to work, much less take on such a difficult case, that she feels like a failure and doesn’t want to continue working with Amina any more than Amina wants to continue working with her. An attorney herself, Klepper explores a timely and important subject through the eyes of two women who seem very different but who learn that they are similar in all the ways that matter.
Visit Clarissa Harwood's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bear No Malice.

--Marshal Zeringue