Former Hawthorne resident Kim Harnes is a wife, mother, banker and now—author. Not just some self-published hack sitting forlornly in a forgotten corner of the library—an author with an agent and book publisher.
Harnes, dressed casually, sat behind a table of books with her daughter, Katie. Harnes’ new book is called “Still Photo”, and is a young adult psychological thriller. Harnes said she spent about two years writing and editing the book.
Although Harnes left Hawthorne in 1999, she maintains a regular presence in the community as her mother still lives here.
Harnes’ book is called “Still Photo”, and is a young adult psychological thriller. Harnes said she had no idea how the book would end when she started writing it. “The idea just popped in my head, and as I wrote, it just kept escalating,” Harnes explained.
“It’s about a girl whose abusive and alcoholic mother left her when she was nine. The girl eventually becomes a photographer’s assistant and when she receives a camera as a gift from her father, she notices some of the photos from the camera contain a smudge,” Harnes said.
“The girl and her boyfriend realize the smudges are on a different place in each photo. Eventually, they figure out the smudges are pieces of a picture of the mother’s murder, and it goes from there,” Harnes added.
Harnes said she developed an interest in writing at an early age. “I wrote all through school and everything. I had some really good teachers here.” Harnes mentions them by name in the book’s dedication.
Surprisingly, Harnes does not have a college degree. She said she only went to college for a year or so. I have a lot of friends in the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; they really help me a lot with my writing,” Harnes explained.
Harnes said she spends a lot of time at writer’s workshops. “They’re so helpful because people in the business give you meaningful advice,” Harnes met her current agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, of Foreword Literary, at a workshop.
Since writing “Still Photo”, Harnes has already completed a children’s chapter book series, tentatively titled, “Zeke the Freak”, which her agent, is currently shopping to publishers.
Although Harnes professed a fondness for Stephen King’s earlier literary efforts, she doesn’t have a celebrity author who is her inspiration.
Harne’s writing routine varies from day to day. “I write when I get a chance, because I work full time.” Harnes said. She also works part time at the Reno Aces ball park so she can watch games for free. “I love baseball, even the main character in the book loves it,” Harnes said.
Harnes’ future plans include more writing, as well as helping set up and appearing at a writer’s workshop in Hawthorne.
Aspiring writers need to keep plugging away, according to Harnes. “Don’t get discouraged, it’s so easy to get discouraged. I sent this book to 200 agents and got turned down by all of them. You have to keep going,” Harnes advised.