Sunday, January 30, 2011
To be honest, one thing I am constantly reminded of in this publishing journey is that I can write stories, continue to learn the craft, and submit to publishers, but in the end I have little control over the future. In spite of that, God has blessed me lately with opportunities to be able to write books that combine issues that are on my heart with fiction, something I am very grateful for. I’d love to be able to continue writing fiction that not only gives the reader a fast-paced adventure, but stories that stretch people’s worldview as well.
I love that your books do that so well. Readers, Lisa and her family are missionaries in Africa. Her books take me there, and I know the settings are authentic. Now, Lisa, what conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them?
Even though living overseas makes going to yearly conferences a challenge, I’ve still been blessed to attend several of the ACFW conferences over the past few years. We are now back in the States temporarily, and while I was unable to go to a conference, it worked out for me to visit my publisher, Zondervan, and meet in person with my editor and marketing director, as well as my publicist. Meeting face-to-face with all of them has been a real blessing. I’ve also been able to connect with a few of my writing buddies [including you, Lena :-) ] which has been a big encouragement for me.
If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why?
It’s a bit of a unique perspective, but I would love to hear from readers themselves as to what books have changed and challenged them the most and why.
That would be interesting. Maybe we should work on that for another year. How important is it to you to be active in writing organizations?
I think it’s very important to be as active as possible in a writing organization. They are a wonderful place to meet other writers, get advice, grow in your craft, and make connections with editors and publishers. I’m so thankful for the friends I have made through writing organizations.
Where in the community or your church do you volunteer?
My family is blessed to be able to work fulltime in ministry overseas. Besides my involvement with that, I also started a non-profit organization this past year. The ECHO Project was birthed out of a need to meet the physical needs of the people we work with in Africa.
I love the ECHO Project that you and Lynne started. Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how?
Wow, do I have to limit it to five? I guess because I’m home with family for the first time in a long time, I’m reminded again of how blessed I am to have such a supportive family. From my husband who has always believed in me and who encourages me to reach for my dreams, to my mom who’s always been there for me, rooting me on. I’ve also been blessed with the example of my husband’s aunt and uncle, Allen and Janelle Avery, who lived in Africa over forty years. We were able to work with them until Allen passed away last summer, but his impact on me and others will last a very long time. I’ve also been greatly impacted by missionaries like Jim Elliot and others who once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” What incredible words of truth, that continue to keep me focused on what really matters.
When I wrote for Accelerated Christian Education, I wrote the videoscript for a feature on Jim Elliot. That saying of his has stayed with me for years. If you could write the inscription on your tombstone, what would it be?
She lived with no regrets.
Blood Covenant is book two in my Mission Hopes series from Zondervan and a story I’m so excited to share with you. Here is the description from Zondervan’s website. “From the explosive first pages, Lisa Harris weaves a tale of heart-stopping suspense and adventure with her second book in the Mission Hope Series.
When fighting erupts between government forces and renegade Ghost Soldiers deep within the Republic of Dhambizao, thousands are forced to leave their homes. Dr. Paige Ryan, who works with Volunteers of Hope International, is sent to lead a team to set up a refugee transit site—where the immediate needs for shelter, water, sanitation, and food are critical. Nick Gilbert, a bush pilot for Compassion Air, joins the team to help fly supplies in and out of the area.
With the refugee camp already experiencing overcrowding, raids, and uprisings, a group of American mountain climbers is attacked by the Ghost Soldiers. Paige’s medical team responds immediately, rescuing survivors and taking them into the camp. When it’s discovered that one of the trekkers is carrying an infectious disease, the harrowing conditions of the camp are forgotten.
In desperate need of vaccines and the Ghost Soldiers blocking the only road out until their demands for amnesty are met, it won’t be long before the disease is out of control … and there is nowhere to run.
I can't wait until I get my book. I loved the first one in the series and have been waiting impatiently for the second one. Please share the first page with us.
PROLOGUE THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 3:48 P.M. Republic of Dhambizao (RD), Anamadi Township
Jonas Moya moved from the narrow alleyway onto the dusty street, then disappeared into the late afternoon crowd. The country's elite, with their fancy government buildings, commercial strips, and plush houses, had all but forgotten the tangled web of muddy alleyways that laced the sprawling slums of the capital. Which made the high-density township the perfect place to hide.
He breathed in a lungful of acidic smoke from the piles of trash burning in the distance, then glanced again behind him. A group of women balanced buckets of water on their heads. Children played along the edge of the road. A drunk loitered in front of a shop. But there were no signs of anyone following him.
He shook off the uneasy sensation. Rarely did President Tau's soldiers set foot inside the rambling settlement, known for its high crime and corruption—even with the recent order to round up every member of the Ghost Soldiers in the country-wide manhunt stretching from the capital to the to the base of Mt. Maja. It was an order that had left him on the run.
Anger replaced his unease. None of the president's government officials had complained about the generous financial kickbacks they'd received from the dozens of slave-labor camps the Ghost Soldiers set up throughout the country's fertile mines. But their fat payments didn't change the fact that he and the others would take the fall for their crimes, while the current government remained innocent before the UN and the rest of the world.
The crowd thinned and an eerie silence settled across the humid afternoon air. It took a full five seconds for Jonas to grasp what was happening. By then he stood fully exposed to a dozen uniformed soldiers converging on the leaders' rendezvous point less than ten meters in front of him. Automatically he dropped for cover behind a battered pickup, but not before catching a glimpse of his brother, Seba, and four others lying face down in the dusty street. If he'd arrived five minutes earlier, he'd be lying there as well.
Clinging to the truck's rusty bumper, he searched for an escape route, weighing his options one by one. His best bet was to take the alley across the street and get lost in the endless maze of cinder-block houses. But running would do nothing for his brother and the others.
Squinting in the bright afternoon sunlight, he peered around the dented bumper. One of the soldiers kicked Seba in the ribs. "Where are the rest of your men?"
Seba rolled over, sprang to his feet, and slammed into the soldier. Instinctively, Jonas pulled out the weapon hidden beneath his thin jacket, but not before a shot ripped through the humid air. Seba dropped onto the street. Blood seeped through his pant leg and spilled across the brown dirt beneath him.
Jonas fought rising panic. There was still no sign of Ngozi. Together the two of them might stand a chance, but alone, any heroic rescue would prove foolish against President Tau's elite.
The soldiers began to spread out, searching for the missing rebel leaders—and making his hiding place vulnerable. Another group of soldiers approached from behind. Jonas dropped to all fours and cursed. He'd waited too long, and now his only escape was blocked. Another gunshot echoed in the air. The few remaining curious onlookers scattered toward the surrounding compounds. A soldier yelled. Jonas' jaw tensed as two of them headed toward his position.
For a split second he considered the odds, then made a run for the alley. Halfway across the street, he felt a bullet rip through his shoulder. He stumbled, pain searing his senses. Blood dripped down his arm, but he couldn't afford to slow his pace. He flew toward the narrow alley lined with someone's laundry, trying to ignore the thundering footsteps behind him. Yanking a shirt from the line, he pressed it against the wound. Behind him, the two soldiers closed in.
Anger and adrenalin drowned out the pain. For years, he and the other men had been nothing more than puppets in the hands of their own government. Hundreds of them had been recruited and trained as the president's secret guard. Today they were called insurgents and rebels. Used for the government's purposes, like the running of their slave-labor camps, they were then easily disposed of when the rest of the world caught on.
Jonas slipped into the afternoon shadows of the deserted alley, took a sharp left, then a right, managing to put distance between him and the soldiers. A plan began to form in the recesses of his mind. That same government believed they could get away with watching them rot in some dark prison in exchange for more foreign aid and UN support.
Not if he had his way.
Wow! Bring it on!! Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Stop by my website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com/ or my blog for a slice of Africa at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com/.
To learn more about our new non-profit, please visit http://www.theechoproject.org/.
Thanks, Lena! It’s always a pleasure to stop by!
And as always, Lisa, I loved having you.
Readers, be sure to check out her links. I love all the pictures from Africa on her blog. And the ECHO Project is a very worthy cause.
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