Thoughts On Saying Yes and Introducing Clarissa Harwood

Many years ago, in a dark, noisy bar, I was standing by the stage listening to a band, when a big burley guy approached and asked if I was Becky. As I said, no, a woman dressed in black leather tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I’m Becky.”

With that, he picked her up, flung her onto the stage, and handed her a microphone. Two spotlights illuminated her and she belted out a song.

I reeled back against the wall where I closed my eyes and gave thanks to my mother, my father, and God that my name wasn’t Becky.

Since that time, I’ve found that while I’ll never be comfortable on a stage under spotlights, it’s good to challenge myself, move outside my comfort zone, and say “yes” to opportunities. Authors 18, the debut author group I belong to, has offered me those opportunities and I’m happy to say this introvert has jumped on them. From small things like organizing a Twitter chat and running the risk that no one would show up, to doing a live radio interview! The fact that others in my group did it and survived, made me believe I could do it too. That’s one of the many benefits this group has given me.

My next challenge? An Authors 18 Facebook launch party! 10 debut authors will introduce you to 10 fabulous books. We’ll have fun, we’ll have contests. You could win books or maybe even fancy author swag. If you read, you won’t want to miss this!

January 17th, 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm (EST)

FB Jan party pic

An Interview with Clarissa Harwood

I had the pleasure of interviewing two of the authors from the launch party. I posted Pamela Kopfler’s interview on my last blog. This week I’m talking with Clarissa Harwood about her debut novel, IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS, which released January 2nd.

Clarissa Harwood

England, 1907. Lilia Brooke bursts into Paul Harris’s orderly life, shattering his belief that women are gentle creatures who need protection. Lilia wants to change women’s lives by advocating for the vote, free unions, and contraception. Paul, an Anglican priest, has a big ambition of his own: to become the youngest dean of St. John’s Cathedral. Lilia doesn’t believe in God, but she’s attracted to Paul’s intellect, ethics, and dazzling smile.
As Lilia finds her calling in the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, Paul is increasingly driven to rise in the church. They can’t deny their attraction, but they know they don’t belong in each other’s worlds. Paul and Lilia must reach their breaking points before they can decide whether their love is worth fighting for.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

The genesis of the novel was a scene that popped into my head about twenty years ago: it was as vivid and detailed as if I were watching a movie. I saw a confrontation in a meadow between a studious boy who didn’t know how to play, and a fiery girl pretending to be Jeanne d’Arc, leading her army of brothers. That scene haunted me for many years before I finally gave in and started writing Paul and Lilia’s story. The scene doesn’t appear in the finished novel, but both Paul and Lilia refer to it and remember it as their first meeting.
No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.

My protagonists’ choice of heroes says a lot about them. Paul’s hero is the Victorian founder of the Oxford Movement (and ultimately Anglo-Catholicism), John Henry Newman. Lilia’s hero is early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?

I’d be happy to spend a day with either Lilia or Paul, but Paul is harder to get to know and I could see myself becoming frustrated with his reserved nature. The two of us might just sit in opposite corners of a room reading books! It would be more interesting to follow Lilia around, hearing her speeches and watching the effect she has on the people around her: she’s very charismatic and passionate about women’s rights. Maybe she’d let me be her personal assistant!

Can you share a teaser from your book?

“How well do you know Whitechapel?” she asked.
He hesitated.
“Have you ever been there?”
“No,” he admitted, “but I don’t need to go to Hell to know I don’t want to spend time there.”
She laughed. “That’s a terrible analogy.”
“Don’t you think you could better achieve your ends by adding a little prudence to your fearlessness?”
“You sound like my mother.” She tapped her foot impatiently. “Why is it that men’s courage is called bravery but women’s courage is called recklessness—or, even worse, foolishness? If I were a man, would you urge me to be prudent?”
“I certainly would,” he said firmly. “Not everything is a question of sex.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Everything is a question of sex, but because you’re a man, you don’t see it.”

If you’d like to connect with Clarissa you can find her on her website or connect with her on Facebook , Twitter , or Goodreads .  You can order Impossible Saints Here or your favorite retailer.


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4 Responses to Thoughts On Saying Yes and Introducing Clarissa Harwood

  1. Clarissa Harwood says:

    Thanks, Dianne! I would have exactly the same reaction as you did to the Becky scenario!


  2. Renee Ann says:

    Dianne, I wouldn’t have wanted to be Becky either. Clarissa, your book sounds fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading it!


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