I've partnered with Amazon to give away three copies of the World Between Worlds to lucky readers. All you have to do is click the photo above or this entry link to enter. Good luck! And don't forget to rate and review the book to help other people find it.

I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've loved it since I was an angsty teen recording episodes on the VCR in my mom's basement. Buffy was my style icon and her broody, tortured relationship with Angel was everything I wanted in a boyfriend. Oh, and I loved how she kicked ass.

I've gotten (a lot) older since I was watching Buffy in my basement. But thanks to Netflix, I recently got to rewatch the entire series. My love for Buffy lives on, but the show resonated with me differently as an adult.

First of all, Buffy is still my style icon. But wow, her relationship with Angel is tired. Do you know what's actual fun? Having a boyfriend you can talk to. I also reconsidered the later seasons of the show, after Joyce dies and Buffy starts working at the Double Meat Palace to make ends meet. I thought it was so dark at the time. As an adult, it just seems like life. Sure, you need to save the world, but also you need to pay the mortgage and banks don't care about supernatural threats.

Joss Whedon said the original idea for Buffy came from turning a horror trope on its head. What if instead of the helpless young girl getting murdered in a dark alley, that girl was the one hunting monsters? The thing is, it would have to be a teenager. Because who else has the time to do nothing but fight evil? Also, who else would get told they were the Chosen One and be on board with that?

Buffy struggles to acclimatize to adulthood. Slaying takes up for much of her time and her development is stunted. Trying to balance Slayerhood with adult responsibilities provided the germ of an idea for my book, The World Between Worlds.

Cleo is in her mid-30s, a recently divorced single mom with a young son about to start school. She's picking up the pieces of her life when she's told that she too is gifted with special powers. Peacekeepers are found throughout the world, but they're usually identified at a younger age and brought to a training academy. Cleo is the oldest trainee they've ever hard and it is a constant source of tension for her and the Granville Group that she's unable to give herself over wholly to her duties.

I was also inspired by Principal Robin Wood, whose mother was a slayer who was killed by Spike.

Pricipal Robin Wood

I already worry enough about my kids. Imagine if you had to parent and also knew the world was filled with real monsters? Robin's mother died young and left her son behind to be raised by her Watcher. That's Cleo's nightmare. She doesn't want to get killed and leave her son behind.

Anyone who has a kid knows that the second that child is born, he or she becomes the most important thing in your life. But what if your other responsibilities include saving the world? What if Buffy had to fight the Master and then rush home to relieve the babysitter? These are the kinds of things I wrestle with in The World Between Worlds.

I feel like there is an idea out there that artistry is somehow incompatible with motherhood. That if I can't give myself over completely to the creative process, then I'm bound to fail. I have two small children under the age of 5. They take up just about every ounce of energy I have. But they don't stop me from writing. If anything, I would argue that my writing has flourished since having children. Here are the reasons why being a mother has made me a better writer:

I've been inspired by a profound emotional experience

The agony of childbirth, the joy of holding new life, the middle-of-the-night paranoid googling of mysterious ailments. These are things I wouldn't have experienced without having children and inform my writing about women's lives.

My patience is infinite (or at least I try)

As Jay-Z says, "I'm not patient and I hate waiting." I've struggled with impatience my whole life. Writing and publishing are a long process. Building up my audience will take time. Spending time on thoughtful edits take a while. All of this would normally kill me. But now that I've had kids I know what it's like to wait for a 2-year-old to put on her own shoes agonizingly slow. My patience has been tested every single day and has slowly stretched. I'm also learning to value living in the moment. Every day that goes by is a day that they get older and it's a bittersweet feeling.

My time management is amazing

I do the bulk of my writing on my phone as I commute to work. It's 30 minutes of unlimited alone time and I maximize it to its fullest potential. I don't fool around with precious alone time because I appreciate it for its rareness. One of my author inspirations, Nora Roberts, says that the secret to her success is "ass in chair." She treats her writing as a job and shows up every single day to work. Get er done. That's my approach. Work hard, write lots, edit carefully, and keep going.

© 2019 by Joni Harrison