Author Interview: Marissa Harrison
|Image provided by: Marissa Harrison|
MH: In 2013 I’d gotten into documentaries about the eighties because I was fascinated by the social issues of the time, and able to draw connections between my experiences as a child and what had been going on in the country. I came across a documentary about the making of Nirvana’s album Nevermind, and became a little obsessed with them. But it wasn’t until 2014 that I got the idea to write Rain City Lights. I was walking with my husband in Interbay - which is an area in Seattle that sits between two wealthy neighborhoods, is very industrial and dare I say, grungy - and we passed an industrial yard, train tracks and seafood processing warehouses. And suddenly, Sasha Coen popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone until I committed to writing about him.
The next year I started reading true crime books written in the eighties and nineties about the Pacific Northwest, mostly just to learn/remember what people wore and how places looked back then. I read The Search for the Green River Killer and was struck by the stories, or lack thereof, of the young women who lost their lives in such a gruesome way. One of those young women really caught my attention - she was fifteen or sixteen at the time of her murder and I thought to myself, “how does something like this happen to a child? And why???” But true crime books tend to focus on who the killer is and the investigation more than the stolen lives, and I felt very strongly that the stories of those young sex workers didn’t begin with their death and the moments leading up to it. I found myself wanting to know everything about them, because it felt like that’s what they deserved. And so Rain City Lights became my attempt to explore the world of those disadvantaged youth living in Seattle at that time, and specifically the disease of addiction as Monti goes through a journey of denial, anger and forgiveness.