Thursday, June 2, 2011

Escape with: Author Paige Harbison

Photo: From publisher, Harlequin TEEN.

When I read Paige Harbison's debut novel Here Lies Bridget I just kept on turning pages. Today I'm so happy to announce that Paige has taken some time out of her day to be with us here at Escape In A Book answering some questions.

For those who might not have heard about your debut novel, Here Lies Bridget, could you please describe it using four sentences?

It’s about a truly horrible girl, no worse than the worst we’ve all known, who freaks out when the spotlight goes off of her and onto the new girl at school. In a fit of selfish distraction she gets into a car accident and wakes up in limbo, where she has to step into the shoes of those she’s hurt most and see herself through their eyes. She then has 24 hours to say goodbye and fix what she’s done. Fourth sentence. J

Bridget, the main character, is an awful bully and readers will dislike her from the get go as I assumed is the point (or else there wouldn’t have been a story to tell). Have you ever known someone like Bridget who has learned her lesson changed for the better?

I have known Bridget, I have hated Bridget, and I have sympathized with Bridget. She’s a character who plays out all of the worst things we think about, and who lets her insecurities drive her and rationalizes everything bad she does by thinking her actions can’t matter that much. As for knowing someone who changed for the better, I know I did. But I also was never as bad as she was. The thing is, particularly in high school, there are a lot of people pushing the boundaries and figuring out who they are and what’s okay and what’s not. I saw a lot of judgmental and awful people in high school who have grown into perfectly normal people.
Photo: Publisher, HarperTeen.

Here Lies Bridget made me feel like I was reading a modern fairytale and that leads me to my next question. What is your favorite fairytale and what is it about that fairytale that makes it so appealing to you? I’m guessing on Cinderella but I might be mistaken.

Hmm…I love all fairytales. Cinderella was certainly on my mind during the book, and is probably tied for my favorite. As a kid I always loved Sleeping Beauty. Also Anastasia. I think I love rags-to-riches and riches-to-rags stories. I love the idea of a big change coming in your life from somewhere you never would have expected. In this one, it was a change that toppled a Queen Bee, but I also love stories about making it up that ladder.

While reading Here Lies Bridget I felt that even if we’re not a Bridget there might be a lesson in the story for all of us. Think twice before opening your mouth, once the words are out you can never actually take them back. Of course you can always apologize but saying sorry isn’t always good enough, and in that sense the story is quite realistic. Where you ever tempted to go a different road with the relationship between Bridget and her best friends?

There is certainly something to take away from it for everyone. Every single one of us is worse than we think. And better than we think, too. But we all need to remember that our words and actions affect those around us. How many times has someone done something to you that embarrasses you and makes you cringe to this day? And how many of the people who did those things look back on the event with the same crystal clear, mortification? Not as many. I can’t say without giving things away what happens in the end with Bridget and her best friends. I can say that it was a difficult choice between giving her what she deserved, which was an opportunity to repent and not have everything work out, and letting her have that one more chance.

The movie rights to Here Lies Bridget have been bought by Galgos Entertainment. What was your first reaction when you heard the news?

Oh, I still don’t even know. I’m overwhelmingly excited, but cautiously so. These things start and stop all the time, so I’m not banking on it, but it sure would be incredible.

You recently finished a book called New Girl, the story is based on Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic novel Rebecca(more information on the book in this interview). What is happening with New Girl now?
I’m going through one more bout where I’m changing a relationship in the book and just giving it one more go-round, but it’s in the final stages. They’re working on a cover right now.

If you were to choose only one novel to read for a good escapism for the rest of your life which novel would that be?

Any single one of the Harry Potter books. I listened to the audio books every single night for about ten years. I still do sometimes. If I had to pick one of them, probably the last one. But I also so like the third….

Is there anything you’re addicted to when you’re writing? Like silence, chocolate, coffee, sitting outside under a tree.

Ha, I’m addicted to almost everything. I love chips & queso (Tostito’s brand Hint of Lime chips and their Queso), Sour Cream and Onion chips (only the ones by Utz), Sour Patch Kids, Sour Skittles, Qdoba/Chipotle….mostly food I like to munch on. It hasn’t caught up to me yet, but I’m sure it will. Haha. Other than that, I like to work in bed with the windows open on a sunny day. I prefer when my golden retriever Rigby is lying next to me and doing one of her creepy stares at me.

I know you have done several interviews lately, is there a question you’ve thought you’d get but never have been asked?

That’s a pretty good question right there! Um, I guess I’m surprised I haven’t been asked whether or not I liked my book. I don’t know that I expected that question, but it’s a pretty good one. The answer is that yes, I liked it. It’s my first book, so there are a lot of things I’d change, expand upon, etc. if I had it to do over, but overall I’m very proud of it.

Thank you so much for inviting me and Bridget to Escape in a Book!

You're most welcome, Bridget. It was lovely to have you here with us :)


  1. Lovely! Anastasia was one of my favorites, too. :D

  2. Lovely interviews! I love fairytales too! And I enjoy YA retellings. :) I didn't know that the book will be made into a movie! That's something.

  3. Great interview :)
    I would sure have a hard time writing a book about a horrid character..though it would be fun too

  4. You have to love the premise of this book - we should all be seen through the eyes of others we interact with. Thank you for the wonderful interview and chance to win the giveaway.

  5. I am sorry I missed your review of this one. This sounds like a fantastic story. And that was a wonderful interview. :)

  6. Great interview and great questions. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I think I would have to choose one of the Harry Potter books too. I reread those the most.

  8. Hmm... Interesting story.... So Bridget is a bully huh. I want to try this! :))

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  10. I've seen this book around a lot! I even requested in on NetGalley but they rejected my request! :(
    I would love to win a copy of this book!
    Interesting interview! Thanks for hosting!:D
    I love the 3rd HP too!!:)I am so looking forward to the movie version!


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