Writing Superheroes: Natalie Harnett

She wears stiletto heels, just because. Read on and find out more…

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If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

  The most important would have to be reading 19th and 20th century poetry aloud to my grandmother.  It gave me an ear for and a love of language.  My earliest effort happens to be my mother’s favorite–“Here comes the Easter bunny, hopping all the way.  All the way from his home and back again to say, Happy Easter Day!”  Fortunately all my other work was lost along with my first word processor.


All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.

Twinkles’ Mommy.


Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

Laptop Larry and Internet Ike.  I love them for their ability to cut and paste and retrieve information that’s way beyond my everyday reach.


Where do you get your superpowers from?

The Party Store.


Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

An unbelievable mess of an office with a litter pan in it.


What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good? 

I take lots of nature walks to keep my mind clear and my writing powers in good form and pray they’re used just for good.


Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?

Extra large spectacles to see into the minds of my characters and stiletto heels, just because.


What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

Energy and time.  Making sure that I stay in the moment when I’m with my husband and daughter.


What was the supervillian that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?

Self doubt.  I cried, took sleeping pills and kept writing.


What important lessons have you learned along the way?

Everyone doubts themselves at times.


What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

The different authors who have reached out to me and been generous with their help.


If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?

I’d do many more events and much more aggressive publicity.  I wouldn’t change the slideshow/talk that I do. I find people enjoy readings that are less reading and more slides and discussion.


What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why. 

The best was to always write for my smartest reader because I have a tendency to over explain.  Thinking about that advice helps me to hold back.


Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

I’m working on a novel set in the 1950s that is inspired by my great grandmother’s and her servant’s lives.  My great grandmother was a diamond dealer, and she came over from Amsterdam under very shady circumstances.  Her servant was a white woman who was basically her slave.  That servant was never paid a dime, never had a day off and, once she became too old to work, my great grandmother gave her away to my grandmother.  

Their story has haunted me since I was a little kid, and it’s been a very powerful experience writing about them.  The novel is filled with snippets of family history, which includes my great grandfather’s speakeasy. It’s also loaded with some fascinating and little known NYC history. I think it will be of interest to a lot of people. 


What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

   I’m starting to plan out my 3rd novel.  It will be told from the point of view of an older woman who’s a child war refugee.  I’m trying to find her voice now.

 You can find Natalie at:


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