Category Archives: The Opposite of Life

Q&As from the Scar Tissue Launch

Narrelle M Harris Q&A

I recently held an online launch for my collection Scar Tissue and Other Stories. Part of the launch involved me answering questions, so I thought I’d share that Q&A here for anyone who missed it!

George asked: Will there be a third book for Gary and Lissa?

Yes there will! Once I’ve finished editing my latest Duo Ex Machina novella (which is being serialised on my Patreon) I’ll be writing the third book in the Vampires of Melbourne series!

Question as an image

The working title is “Beyond Redemption” and when it’s done, Clan Destine Press will be re-releasing The Opposite of Life (which is out of print, but I have the rights back for it now) and Walking Shadows with a matching set of covers!

Scar Tissue contains a story set after the end of Walking Shadows: “Bad Night at Bite Club”.

Margaret asked: Will there be more adventures in Australia for Holmes and Watson?

The Holmes and Watson from The Adventure of the Colonial Boy appear in the Scar Tissue story “The Beekeeper’s Children”. I would like to write a short story collection for them, but as a project that is at the back of the queue for now.

I am considering writing a modern Australian alternative universe series for them in my Patreon when the Duo Ex Machina novellas are finished next year, riffing off my short story from The Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot where are a pair of Aussie hipsters running, solving mysteries while they run a cafe called The Sign of Four. Does that count?

Sally F asked me if I ever put people I dislike into my books and then killed them off. 🙂

I never put people I dislike into my books. If I don’t like them, I don’t want to spend more time with them in my head if I can avoid it!

Instead, I put people I like into my books – sometimes just as a set of background characters, sometimes in minor roles, sometimes in more prominent roles. I do sometimes kill them off too, but usually I give them warning and make sure they’re okay with it.

My out of print Witch Honour and Witch Faith books have lead characters inspired by two close friends. (Sylvia and Leenan become their own people, but they have real people roots!)

A friend I worked with at World Vision was a dead body in The Opposite of Life. (She gave Enthusiastic Consent for that :D) Gary the Vampire is kind of based on every nice geekboy I’ve ever known.

Other people have been in the background (walking their dog on the beach; laughing together at a far table in a cafe; that sort of thing).

Maybe I should make it a Patreon Reward – to become a character in a story I’m writing.

Sally F also asked “Do you think you are on ASIO’s watch list from researching anything odd for your stories?”

My running joke is that ASIO keeps two lists: one of dodgy individuals with criminal leanings and writers. When they get a ping about someone researching murder, how to hide the bodies, explosives, detailed building layouts and schematics for aeroplanes and trains, they first check to see if the Googler is on the Author list (and maybe bookmark to see what novel results a year down the track).

I’ll be very disappointed if I’m not on the ASIO Writers to Watch For list purely on the strength of my research for crimes for Sherlock Holmes stories.

You know who is stalking me though? Google ads. And some of the ads that come up for me on the strength of writing some of my stories is HILARIOUS.

KRin asked “Has a story idea ever stopped you in your tracks and you had to write it down then and there?

The answer is “all the bloody time”. My phone is full of ideas and bits of prose and dialogue I’ve emailed to myself, and I always carry a notebook (or three) into which I scribble down ideas.

Because of course the time when I am most likely to come up with an interesting new concept or resolve a plot problem or think of some really sparky dialogue is when I’m walking or in the shower or in bed, rather than in front of the computer. So I leap up, scribble things down and hope it’s still legible when I got to type it up.

Robin asked “How do you dream up your characters?”

My characters come from a variety of sources, but a lot just seem to manifest themselves. I’m sure they spring from somewhere that I just haven’t worked out how to articulate.

Some of course are inspired by fictional characters, and very directly too – my versions of Holmes and Watson are obviously derived from Arthur Conan Doyle and have elements of the Granada Holmes & Watson too – but I’m often writing romances with them, so I try to work from the source material that I then extrapolate from to create the Victorian-era men in love, or the modern-era versions.

A few are inspired by people I know personally, though there it’s more that I might be inspired by a facet or two, rather than inserting them wholesale (see my answer to Sally’s question about putting people I know into my books.)

Some are inspired by other fictional characters I’ve liked (me and Lois McMaster Bujold both cherry picked some personalities from Blake’s 7).

Often, however, the concept that I want to explore in a story readily suggests the personality type that will be involved to help tell it, and the other kinds of characters they need around them to create balance, conflict and drama. The characters evolve within that context, so I may begin with particular “types” but then they grow.

When I was writing Kitty and Cadaver, I initially plotted about half of it then only sketched out the rest. I had to write the first half before completing the plotting – because I had to get to know everyone better before I knew how they’d respond to all their troubles. Once I knew who they were, it was easy to plot the rest of the book with each of them behaving in character.

KRin asked “What is your favourite colour?”

…which should be an easy one but it turns out, no. I will not make this easy.

I suppose the short answer might be ‘red’ but I like it in combination with black. and jade green. But I love that brilliant peacock blue too. Also rich purples.

I’m not a huge fan of yellows and oranges in my clothing because they make me look jaundiced, but a glorious buttercup yellow or bright burnt orange? Gorgeous.

I should have gone with the answer Janet MacLeod once gave: “My favourite colour is shiny!”

Robert asked “What’s your favourite story in the collection? Why?”

This could be like the ‘what’s your favourite colour’ question, or possibly make me howl DON’T MAKE ME CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE.

I mean, I loved getting back to Gary the vampire for “Bad Night at Bite Club”, and it’s primed me for getting to work on the 3rd of the Vampires of Melbourne series. It made me happy to write Ravenfall‘s James and Gabriel again in “Shadow at my Shoulder” – I’d really like to write another novel with them some time.

I think of the long stories, maybe “The Beekeeper’s Children” is my favourite – Holmes and Watson (from The Adventure of the Colonial Boy) in a loving relationship, in retirement in Sussex – but Sherlock is off in danger, John is caring for the bees (and reading the oblique love notes Sherlock has left for him) and also caring for two young men who are negotiating love as well as trauma.

Of the super short stories I have a soft spot for “Long Live the King” because I feel Richard III has been given a rough deal by history, but my favourite is “Plot Bunny” because of the juxtaposition between the sweet little toy bunny and its murderous intent.

But otherwise, don’t make me choose – they are all my favourite.


Scar Tissue and Other Stories is available in paperback and ebook directly from the publisher, Clan Destine Press, as well as the usual online sellers: Amazon, Kobo, Booktopia etc.

Upcoming rewards for my Patreon supporters!

My first six months on Patreon have gone really well, and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me there to write fiction! The second of the Duo Ex Machina novellas, Sacrifice, will wind up its chapter-by-chapter posting soon, and will then be prepped to go to all my supporters there as an ebook!

I’ve also reached my first income goal, which means a new short story collection will be produced in the next few months. All my supporters will get a copy of Scar Tissue and Other Stories as a reward before the book goes on sale elsewhere.

My Patreon supporters help me write fiction directly by paying a small amount each month. The income helps me to pay for things like covers, editing and proofreading. In time, I hope I’ll have enough income from all the mini-Medicis who support me to work a little less on the corporate writing side so I can write a little more on the fiction side!

What do you get for supporting me on Patreon?

Depending on your reward level, you get access to:

  • sneak peeks at Works in Progress
  • song lyrics
  • posts about music that has influenced me
  • writing advice/tutorials
  • chapters in my Duo Ex Machina series of M/M crime/romance novellas as they’re posted.

Duo Ex Machina

Everyone who supports me gets a copy of my first Duo Ex Machina novella, Fly By Night and, when it’s finished the fortnightly posting, the second, Sacrifice, will also be available to all my Patreon supporters.

I have three more novellas in the series planned, and those will also be posted chapter-by-chapter as well as being provided as ebooks as they’re completed.

Scar Tissue and Other Stories

I’m currently completing some stories for a short story collection, Scar Tissue and Other Stories, which contains previously published fiction as well as new stuff.

These stories includes flash fiction, Holmes♥Watson stories, stories set in the universes of my novels, including The Adventure of the Colonial Boy (canon-era Holmes♥Watson), The Opposite of Life (vampires in Melbourne), Ravenfall (M/M paranormal thriller) and the yet-to-be-published Kitty and Cadaver (urban fantasy with music).

Levels of support

  • For the $1 level, you’ll get free books, posts about my research and lyrics, and early cover reveals.
  • For $3, you’ll also get sneak peaks, fortnightly chapters of new books, art and music posts.
  • At $5 you also get bi-monthly writing tutorials.
  • $10 sees you get naming rights in stories and ebooks
  • At $15 I’ll also send you greeting cards three times a year!
  • Top level supporters can get autographed paperbacks and I’ll write you a personalised short story!

If you’d like to support me, at whatever level, you’ll be helping me write more fiction, so that’s win/win, right?

Support Narrelle M Harris on Patreon.

Thank you!

Cover Reveal: Scar Tissue and Other Stories

At the beginning of May, my Patreon reached its first goal of $100 a month! That means that, as soon as I’ve finished writing the last few stories, getting them edited and getting it all formatted, all my supporters will be getting a free short story collection from me! (The rest of the world will be able to buy it a week or so later.)

Once those final three stories are completed I’ll release a Table of Contents to whet your appetite. In the meantime… TA-DAAAA! This is the cover! Designed by me, using Canva. 🙂

Scar Tissue and Other Stories will contain several stories that have appeared in print elsewhere, along with stories, poems and photo art that were written just for this collection!

Stories include Lost and Found flash fiction, stories set in the worlds of some of my novels, Holmes♥Watson fiction, Holmes+Watson epic besties fiction, and one of the few non-genre stories I’ve written, which gives the collection its title.

If you want to get a free copy of Scar Tissue and Other Stories when it comes out, and get access to other books, works in progress and other exclusive content, you can support me on Patreon for as little as US$1 a month.

Sneak Peek: Photo Art for Scar Tissue and Other Stories

In 2018, I’m planning on releasing a collection of short stories, both previously published and brand new, once my Patreon reaches its firstly monthly income goal. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m busy writing new stories for inclusion.

The collection will be called Scar Tissue and Other Stories. Some of the stories are flash fiction based on lost and found things I’ve discovered (and photographed) in my wanderings. I’ve previously blogged some of these flash fictions on Mortal Words, but I’m editing those and writing new ones, as well as zhuzhing up the photographs on which they’re based using the fabulous Enlight app.

The artified photos will appear in the book next to their relevant flash fics. Above is a sneak peek of the image for the story ‘Bouquet’ – inspired by a bedraggled bouquet I found on the beach in St Kilda. This is a new story for the collection about mermaids and maidens and love and compromise.

This art is for a flash fiction story called ‘Journey’, which was originally published here on my blog.

I’m aiming to make Scar Tissue at least 50,000 words long. New stories include ‘Faithful’, a canon-era Holmes♥Watson adventure in which John is a werewolf, and ‘Bad Night at Bite Club’, a story about Gary the vampire (from The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows) and the son of an old frenemy.

I’m hoping to have a Ravenfall short story and an origin story from Kitty and Cadaver among the stories as well.

If you want to help me achieve my monthly goal (and the get a copy of the collection for your support) you can support my Patreon (for as little as a dollar a month)and get hold of the collection at least a week before it goes on general sale.