The Glare will be on sale on 7/14, and I’ve already said all the usual stuff on social media, including trumpeting its place on a top 10 list (Kirkus, YA reads of the summer) and my upcoming appearance on a Comic-Con @ Home panel.
Now I’ll say something else: Book birthdays are terrifying. What most writers long for, down in our insecure inner depths, is for readers to connect with the book. That’s it. For me, anyway, it’s not about the sales, it’s about that connection. (This is why I am a writer, not a publisher! Because publishers, of course, need to think about sales.)
In that way I’m very like my main character, Hedda. Raised in complete isolation, she yearns to connect with her peers. She will do anything to make them like and acknowledge her—even play a dangerous game.
If I can distract someone from the stress in their life by keeping them up turning pages, or give them new ideas for approaching real-life problems (in this book, that could be social media-related anxiety), I’m happy. If this book scares anyone (in the cheesy, spooky, fun way OR in the thought-provoking way), I’m happy. If anyone reads this book and doesn’t totally hate the main character, I’m happy. If you hate the MC but love a supporting character, hey, I’m still happy!
There’s something very, very egotistical about creating your own little world and trying to draw people into it. That’s what my villain does in The Glare by creating a dangerous game and posting it on the dark web, and it’s also what I’ve done (in a hopefully less deadly way) with the book.
I am a weird person with weird ideas, and this is a weird little story that took me a long time to plot and write. It’s very ambitious in some ways (probably too ambitious) and very personal in others, so I honestly don’t know if anyone will connect with it. But I hope some readers will give my strange little world a chance. I hope they find something they’re looking for there.
And now I’m going to do something seemingly contradictory: Post glowing quotes from trade reviews of the book. They aren’t really here to convince you to buy it. They’re here to convince me that somehow, sometimes, weird stuff finds people who like it.
And if you feel weird, too—keep on being weird. Make it into a beautiful, twisted, revelatory art the way Shirley Jackson did. (Her writing inspired me and often showed me the way.) Maybe someday I’ll be reading your weird little story.
Here are my favorite trade review quotes about The Glare:
“The expertly balanced reality-blurring storyline and strategic technology depictions seed psychological scares that will linger long after reading. … A chilling way to turn screen time into scream time.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Harrison … will thoroughly scare readers in this eerie tale of playing people’s fears against them with the power of suggestion. … a worthwhile read for lovers of horror and beyond.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Ambitious in scope, this dark novel takes on a range of topics and themes … the critical mystery … is resolved in an extraordinarily compelling manner. … [P]atient readers will be rewarded by the fantastic final act.” — School Library Journal
“Harrison deftly blends techno-suspense with urban legends for a thrilling page-turner with risks both high stakes and personal. … the novel depicts the oppressively pervasive nature of digital culture without making it the enemy. Ramped-up tension gives way to a nail-biting final showdown and neatly wrapped resolution, suitable for readers who like their techno-scares tempered by human sweetness.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books