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Posted on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 4:49 a.m.

Best-selling urban fantasy author Kim Harrison appearing at Nicola's

By Kurt Anthony Krug

All the titles of Kim Harrison’s urban fantasy novels in “The Hollows” series are riffs on titles of Clint Eastwood movies, and her latest -“Ever After,” the 11th book - is no exception.

It takes its cue from 2010’s “Hereafter,” a supernatural drama about communicating with the dead that Eastwood directed, according to Harrison, 46, whose real name is Dawn Cook and lives near Ann Arbor.

“I think it’s especially fitting since much of the storyline revolves around the possible destruction of the ever-after, a secondary reality in the mythology of the series,” explained the New York Times best-selling novelist. “It was my idea to stick with the Eastwood titles. Part of the reason I chose them is marketability. Readers found the books because of the titles, which is neat.”

Asked if the legendary Oscar-winning actor/director knows about this, Harrison replied with a laugh: “I haven’t heard from him.”

“Ever After” (Harper Voyager $27.99) is being released today, and Harrison will sign copies tonight at 7 p.m. at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor. The new book features the return of series protagonist Rachel Morgan. Set in Cincinnati on an Earth where magic and supernatural species are prevalent, Rachel is a witch and a detective.

In her latest adventure, Rachel learns the demonic realm paralleling the human world is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all the magic. Rachel tries to set things right, but is thwarted by a demon who wants to kill her and also kidnapped her goddaughter and friend.

However, Rachel won’t give up without a fight and allies herself with the elf Trent Kalamack. The two have a love-hate relationship, but in this book, the balance shifts more towards love, according to Harrison.

“The whole series is the coming to close in a couple of books, so ‘Ever After’ was my attempt to start to gather all the little threads and everything I needed for those last few books and work the story around it,” Harrison explained. “At this point, Rachel is starting to look at Trent in a new light, so romance has started to rear its ugly head, so to speak, in the Hollows. That was a lot of fun for me to work with, and bringing Trent into the mix lets me up the stakes a little bit. Everybody needs to save the world, but when your heart is on the line it means a whole lot more.”

Readers know the end of the series is coming. They want to see Rachel get a happy ending. So does Harrison, but Rachel won’t get one if she keeps on writing her adventures.

“She really wants her happy ending but Rachel is not a traditional character, so we’re not gonna get the traditional happy ending of a white picket fence and 2.5 kids and a dog out back, but she will get a happy ending of some sort. That’s not for a couple more books, so I’ve been trying to lay the foundation for it now, so it’s been a little tricky,” said Harrison.

Athough she has written Rachel for 10 books, that didn’t make it easier for Harrison to pen “Ever After.”

“This one was not easier at all; this one was actually harder. I’m trying to tie everything together and I’m having to make some very hard decisions about who I can or can’t bring back into the storyline, and who I have to bring back to finish this,” explained Harrison.

You see Nick (Rachel’s love interest from the second book, “The Good, The Bad, and The Undead”) come back. A lot of readers are glad I brought him back just so I can kill him off. I won’t say if I managed to do that or not. Just deciding who I can bring back again and talk about again before the story closes was really hard.“

Harrison has also written two graphic novels that serve as prequels to this series - 2011’s “Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel” and 2012’s “Blood Crime: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel.” The protagonist is supporting character Ivy Tamwood, a vampire who met and worked with Rachel their first year at the Inderland Security service.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to use my creative muscles in a pictorial way to look at perspective and shift points of views... It was completely different and loved it,” said Harrison. “The reason I’m not really keen on doing another one is that it only gives me 125 words per page. I liked my dialogue sparse but that’s a little too sparse for me.”

A TV series adapting “The Hollows” was pitched to The CW season for the 2012-13. Unfortunately, it wasn’t picked up.

“The CW passed on it for this TV season. The way my contract was worded was if they don’t act on it, I want my rights back right away. So I have my rights back again. I’m a free woman. I’m at the dance looking for a date,” she said with a laugh. “It could happen, it couldn’t. I don’t like messing around with it unless it’s a real possibility. I would love to see ‘The Hollows’ on the screen, and I think if it was handled positively, it could just be gangbusters. The more I work in this industry, if not everybody’s excited about it, it goes nowhere. I can’t get people excited if they’re not excited about it already.”

Visit Harrison at Nicola’s Books, 2513 Jackson Road, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m.