5 Questions for Harper Glenn

5 Questions for Harper Glenn Monarch Rising Voyage YA
Monarch Rising Harper Glenn Voyage YA

Harper Glenn is an author of fiction. In addition to creating literary works that unveil the psychological, sociological, and economic disparities in poverty-stricken regions around the world, they love vintage books, anatomy, and old cemeteries. Though born and raised in Georgia, Harper resides in Washington State. Monarch Rising is their debut novel.

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Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Monarch Rising? What made you want to tell this story?

Harper Glenn: Monarch Rising came in a dream, Fall 2016. In the dream, a young girl walked toward a forbidden bridge where a boy stood amazed, staring at her. “What are you doing?” the boy said. The girl wiped her tears. “I wanna see duh water.” “You need to go back.” The boy looked over his shoulder. “Why?” And then the boy said, “They’ll hang you if they catch you.” I woke up electrified, with chills, excited about the world I’d dreamt about. Who was this Black girl? Who the hell was this white boy? Who was this “they” the boy referenced? And why the hell would they hang her for crossing a bridge? Why was she crying? I had to find out. That’s how Monarch Rising started.

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V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?

HG: Sometimes the big bad monster lives inside our heads. I try to convey this while creating characters. If there’s one thing I’d like readers to take away, it’s this: Make the monster in your head your best friend(s). So, hopefully, when the monster(s) chants hurtful things like “You’re not good enough” or “Why don’t you just give up?” The monster(s) will shut up and listen when you respond, “Yes, I am,” and “Why don’t you?”

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V: What was the hardest scene of Monarch Rising to write?

HG: Monarch Rising explores the complexities of love, before and after it happens, and the effects of poverty. Much like the character Jo, I grew up poor. Monarch’s my love letter to my childhood as well as an anti-love/ love letter to love because… love transcends time. We need only close our eyes to touch how love brings joy, and sometimes, how love hurts. Exploring my past to explore these themes was difficult and freeing.

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V: If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

HG: I’d tell little Harper that it’s okay to be different. You won’t feel foreign inside your skin. I’d promise myself, there would come a time, a day, when who they are is forever okay—that they’d never have to choose between pink or blue because they can have both.

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V: What are your writing must-haves?

HG: Iron and Wine, Sleeping At Last, Mississippi John Hurt, and Ani Difranco (bands/music). The fear of failure (it keeps me going). Solitude (it’s peaceful there). And healthy friendships—(as introverted as most writers are, as I am, we need a community of solid and trustworthy friends—supportive people who are there when life is good, and show up to hold space when life is tough.)

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Head to our Instagram page (@voyageya) to hear Harper Glenn read the first page of Monarch Rising. Find Harper’s video under the videos tab.

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