Once again I'm interviewing my friend Lisa Harris. This time with a Heartsong book, instead of a novella collection. Lisa and her husband are missionaries to Africa, but right now she and her family are in Brazil in language school before they go to Mozambique.
Probably more than I realize. :-) I think it’s natural for your characters to be a part of who you are to a certain degree. I try to draw on as many different aspects of a character and push myself to go beyond ‘what I would do’ so they stay true to themselves. Otherwise my characters from one book to the next would all be the same.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Yikes, that’s a tough one. I suppose some people would think carrying buckets on my head, cooking over a fire, and eating fish heads was odd behavior, though to others, it’s perfectly natural.
I'm glad it's you and not me. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
My mother tells me that I used to dictate stories to her when I was about four. I always loved to read, and by the time I was ten or eleven, I was writing stories. One in particular I remember was about a girl escaping from the Nazis during WWII. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties, though, that I actually took the plunge and finished my first book.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
It’s pretty broad. I love romances with a mystery or suspense line, international thrillers, some fantasy, historicals, political/spy stories, cozy mysteries. . .is there anything left? LOL
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I recently sold my twelfth book, which is exciting. I have a historical series set in Massachusetts with Heartsong Presents. Michaela’s Choice, Rebecca’s Heart, and Adam’s Bride. This collection was repackaged and released this August as Massachusetts Brides. Two other of my Heartsongs released this year, Tara’s Gold (July) and A Matter of Trust (November) Besides Montana Mistletoe, I’ve enjoyed being a part of three other novella collections, To Catch A Thief, Cowboy Christmas, and Sweet Home Alabama. I’m also thrilled to be a part of Barbour’s upcoming mystery line. Recipe for Murder comes out in February, while Baker’s Fatal Dozen debuts next August.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I try very hard to take one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow. We are facing a lot of major changes with our ministry that will effect my life dramatically. If I sat down and thought out all that I was going to have to do, I’d probably panic. Taking things one day at time, dealing with what has to be dealt with on that day and leaving the rest to God is all I can do.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have two baby name books I use a lot. For me, when the name is right, I know it. Though sometimes I don’t get it quite right. I picked out a name recently that I loved. It was absolutely perfect for my character--until one of my crit partners informed me that it was the name of her heroine in one of the stories I’d been critiquing for her!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Having books published might fulfill a life-long dream, but never as important as being a mom and working hard everyday to ensure my three kids grow up to be well-rounded adults who are on fire for God.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Living in Africa has given me a huge appreciation for wild life. I think I’d be a cheetah. They’re strong, fast, and simply stunning.
What is your favorite food?
Tex-mex. I can’t get enough of it, and miss the real stuff here.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Rejection is one of the toughest things for a writer to handle I think. You hold that form rejection letter in your hand and wonder why that editor didn’t see the brilliance of your story. It often hurts so bad, all you want to do is quit. I finally came to the point where I took those rejection letters as motivation not to give up. I was going to work hard, learn my craft, and prove to the editors (really to myself) that I could write. I kept studying and writing everyday. With that, improvement followed and before long another letter stating “We want to buy your book!” It’s a mental battle on a lot of levels, but you can overcome!
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Keep writing. It’s a long and often difficult journey, but you’ll never make it if you don’t keep at it. DON’T QUIT!
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
This book is special to me because it was one of the first stories I ever wrote. I took the proposal with me to a writer’s conference back in 2001 where I met DiAnn Mills. The story was nowhere near being ready to be published, but DiAnn took me under her wing and gave me confidence to keep at it. I completely rewrote the story for Heartsong, but will never forget the encouragement DiAnn gave me as a newby author.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can check out my blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com or my website at www.lisaharriswrites.com. I have a newsletter you can sign up for at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LisaHarris Those signed up are automatically entered into my contests for free books and other great prizes.
Thank you for spending this time with us, Lisa.
Readers, A Matter of Trust, is book two in a contemporary Massachusetts series. My book Who am I? was book one in the series.
We will be giving away a copy of Lisa's book to someone who leaves a comment on the interview.
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