TELL US YOUR BACKSTORY with Narrelle M Harris
I’ve been writing stories, or telling them, for as long as I can remember. One of my brothers and I used to act out stories. I got reading as soon as I could, and read books in advance of my years. I was horse-mad for a while as a kid, and I remember that I bought exercise books and wrote horse stories in them.
Our family moved every few years when I was growing up – dad was in the air force – so I read voraciously. Books were my friends while I was waiting to make friends with whatever new crowd of kids I was meeting at my new school. I lived a lot in my imagination then (and I still do). I suspect I lived more in Narnia than I did in the various air forces bases. I read fantasy, crime, science fiction, a lot of books about animals. I loved the old Scholastic Book Services and spent most of my pocket money on stocking up my library.
As a young teen, I loved the old 60s British SF-ish series The Champions. I’d stay up late with my Dad to watch it, and started to write my own adventures for them. Now I know that’s called fanfiction, but I didn’t know it then. I changed everyone’s names and gave them a psychic dog too. I discovered fanfiction proper when I became a Star Wars and then a Blake’s 7 fan, and that’s where I learned a lot about character, structure, world-building, in a pretty supportive environment.
My first professional publication didn’t come for years, though. I’d had two books short-listed for the George Turner Prize (Witch Honour and Witch Faith) in the ‘90s but couldn’t quite turn them into a sale – the Australian market was quite small, then, and I kept *almost* getting picked up but often the publishers had done a book with a similar theme or characters. But then Homosapien Press in Canberra published Fly By Night, two crime novellas in one book. That was in 2004. I was 38 years old.
By then the internet was a thing, and Witch Honour and Witch Faith were published by Five Star Books in America because I could email queries instead of posting paper bricks.
I’ve lived a lot of places in Australia and the world. I’ve tried to absorb as much as I can about what I see, experience and learn. I’ve learned so much about myself, and about what connects human beings together – and about all the different ways there are of being human.
I write in a lot of different genres too – always just exploring ideas that catch my attention. A few years ago I started writing romance. I began because I was playing with fanfiction again, dealing with writers block, and challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone to write romance and erotica. Just as I was experimenting there, my publisher, Lindy Cameron at Clan Destine Press, said she wanted to expand the press into having erotic romance titles and invited me to submit. They’ve published five short stories so far, and are considering a queer paranormal romance novel at the moment.
I have just written my first full length romance novel – a Holmes/Watson romance! There’s a long history of readers perceiving those characters as queer, and now a UK publisher, Improbable Press, is filling that reader niche. The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is their second book – and my seventh!
The Adventure of the Colonial Boy
Narrelle M Harris
- Dr Watson, still in mourning for the death of his great friend Sherlock Holmes, is now triply bereaved, with his wife Mary’s death in childbirth. Then a telegram from Melbourne, Australia intrudes into his grief:
“Come at once if convenient.”
Both suspicious and desperate to believe that Holmes may not, after all, be dead, Watson goes as immediately as the sea voyage will allow. Soon Holmes and Watson are together again, on an adventure through Bohemian Melbourne and rural Victoria, following a series of murders linked by a repulsive red leech and one of Moriarty’s lieutenants.
But things are not as they were. Too many words lie unsaid between the Great Detective and his biographer. Too much that they feel is a secret.
Solve a crime, save a life, forgive a friend, rediscover trust and admit to love. Surely that is not beyond that legendary duo, Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson?