Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Getting to know Lisa Harris & giveaway

Lisa Harris packs a lot into her life! Wife, mother, missionary, writer and no doubt a whole lot more :)

Lisa has more than twenty books and novellas to her credit but with Blood Ransom she combines her love of Africa and her passion for its people with fast paced action and a touch of romance.

Enjoy learning more about Lisa and be sure to add her books to your collection!

If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

Since I’ve always considered my name to be quite plain, I would definitely choose something very literary and flowery. Something like Lauren Alexander or Catherine Montgomery.

Your first pet’s name?

A cat named Sasha. (At least that is the first one I can remember. J)

Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?

One of my best friends from elementary school (was it really that long ago?) was Julie. It’s been fun to use face book to find some of these—not so old—friends!

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

Not a toy, but a soft yellow blanket with ribbon edging. My mother once told me that I would even hang on to one of the corners while it was on the line drying. Eventually, there was nothing left of it beside a few torn remnants that eventually had to be thrown away.

If you could meet a famous person, who would it be?

I’d love to sit down and talk with Elizabeth Elliot. I find her story, and that of Jim Elliot, so inspiring.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

Is there wireless? I suppose not. And no electricity either? (Hmmm…Sounds a bit like where I live at times J) And I suppose an object doesn’t translate to a person, but I would want my hubby (who is the object of my affection, right?)Then possibly, between the two of us, we could find a way off!

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Chocolate mint, with big chunks of chocolate. Yum!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a mother and a writer. As for motherhood, I struggled for years with infertility, so because of that I think it helps me to appreciate them more than I would otherwise. (most days! J)

And I’ve always loved gothic romances and had my heart set on writing novels set in England with the stormy sea in the backdrop and a forbidden romance. I still love that genre, though am very happy with the way my writing as gone.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

There are so many places I still want to visit, even though I’ve been blessed to travel extensively. I would love to take a cruise to the Arctic. I’m not really sure why, because I prefer the sun to the cold, but the whole idea fascinates me. I’d love to be able to photograph the wildlife.

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

My mother was always the strong spiritual influence in my life and has always encouraged me both in my faith and personally.

What's your favourite book?

Randy Alcorn’s Heaven is a book I’ve read several times and love because it’s such an important reminder to keep our prize--heaven--in front of us.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

Probably the end of the day when the house is finally quiet and my hubby and I curl up to talk and catch up on our day.

What's your favourite movie?

I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite, but I love Ever After. To me it’s the perfect Cinderella story.

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

A couple years ago we went swimming with the pink dolphins and fishing for piranha in the Amazon. It was different from the African bush, and I enjoyed learning about the forests, waterways, and animals that live there. My kids still talk about that trip and beg for us to take them back.

What's your most fervent prayer?

That my kids stay strong in their faith no matter what lies ahead.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

I suppose eating some of the things that have been offered to me out in the African bush. Sometimes you just don’t ask!

What gift have you received that you will always treasure?

My children. They truly were a gift from God.

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

I love Colossians 3:23 where it says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” That is where I want my heart to be, though it can be so hard sometimes!

What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?

Now, is this a memory I really want to dredge up? J Especially since I’ve been able to connect with a lot of my high school friends on Face Book. I’m really being honest when I say I don’t remember one. Really.

Your most rewarding moment as a missionary?

When I go out to the village and see the joy on people’s faces as they praise and worship God…it makes it all worthwhile! This is something I’ve noticed in particular lately because they talk about this newfound joy they have and you can see it in their expressions!

What do you love most about living in Mozambique? The least?

What I love: I love living near the sea, going out to the village and the simplicity of life that helps to remember that things are not important. It’s family and relationships and character that count.

What I like the least: The poverty, sickness, and pain I see.

Share your favourite African meal

I just made a family favorite for dinner the other night. Pap, which is corn meal cooked into a thick porridge and is actually is eat all over Africa and called by many names. I’ve eaten it in a half a dozen countries and love it served with a spicy sauce. This week I made it with curried cabbage.

Of course, I also can’t forget about the South African braai where the food is always fantastic and the company even better. Lots of meat, sosaties (a meat kebab on a stick), pap with sauce, boerewors (traditional farmer’s sausage), and milk tart ( a kind of custard pie) for desert.

Could you ask each of your children to share one thing they love about you?

Jayden 8: I love her because she is very lovable.

Mariah 11: She takes us to the beach on our day off where we eat pizza and swim.

Gabriel 12: She let me have my own room, and she makes us nice food.

How do you balance your writing with your mission work, parenting and other obligations and activities?

It’s not easy, but I know the same is true for every busy woman. I’m in a phase of my life where the kids and their schooling have to take priority. This means that I’m not as actively involved in ministry as I was when they were smaller and in school, and my writing time isn’t as much as it used to be either.

I also try to be very pro-active with how I spend my time, because if I don’t time quickly gets eaten up by the non-essential. I try to be organized (try being the key word here), use lists and set daily goals.

Blood Ransom

Why romantic suspense set in Africa?

Because it combines everything I enjoy! I love reading and writing romantic suspense. Being able to set a series in Africa was like icing on the cake. Africa, to me, is the perfect setting for adventure with its extremes in climate, land, people, and cultures.

How much of your own African experiences are in the story?

As far as what I put my characters through… not much really, thankfully! I’m not sure I’d want to experience what they did. J But sights and smells and people that I encounter everyday are definitely woven throughout the story.

Please describe each of your characters with one word





What was your favourite scene to write?

I tried to think of one that stood out in particular, and realized that overall, because I see my stories like a movie, I love the fast-paced action scenes that keep the story going. They are tough, but so much fun to write.

You are obviously passionate about the issues of slavery and child soldiers which occur in a number of African countries. How can those in the West make a difference?

I am passionate, because these are people who need hope, BUT they don’t have a voice. I find that incredible compared to all the freedoms we enjoy.

As to how we can make a difference: First of all, people need to become aware, but we can’t stop there. We need to get engaged in our world.

The bottom line is that we can’t save every orphaned child, or rescue every woman locked in the bond of slavery, but we can make a difference by touching the lives around us.

We can support an orphan in Africa, get involved with the modern-day abolitionist movement where people are working the front lines, become a foster parent, or a big brother, or take a meal to a shut in and sit and talk with them. No matter who we are, there are people around us in our own neighborhoods and communities who need the help and hope of Jesus Christ! All it takes is lives touching lives.

What do you hope readers take away from this story?

First of all, I really want them to simply enjoy Natalie and Chad’s story. I want them to laugh and cry with the characters, and experience their journey. But I also want them to see that God can use ordinary people, like you and me, to do extraordinary things!

What is in your writing pipeline? A sneak peek, please?

I just turned in book two in this serious, Blood Covenant, that is due to be released next May. I found it an incredible challenge to write as it is set primarily in a refugee camp and yet is also a fast-paced suspense.

Right now, I’m working on a slightly different paced project, a historical romantic suspense for Summerside Press’s new line. This book, Dark Continent is set both in Northern Rhodesia and New York in the early 1920’s. It’s turning out to be research intense, but also a lot of fun.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Rel!!! It’s been a joy!

Thank you, Lisa :) It has been great getting to know a little more about you, your love of people and your writing! Looking forward to your future books!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Blood Ransom

Character spotlight on Natalie & Chad

Visit Lisa's website and blog

Buy Lisa's books at Amazon or Koorong


I have two copies of Blood Ransom to give away. One to a US reader (thanks to Lisa) and one to an Aussie reader.

To enter, post a comment on or before Sunday 11th April, 2010 telling me your favourite African animal! Add a USA or AUS to your post, please.


Tracy said...

Thanks to you both for such an interesting interview.

The inner missioary kid is intrigued with this book. My favourite African animal would be the giraffe. I don't know why, but at some point in the last couple of years I decided they were the funniest animal in the world. They just make me laugh. Goofy looking long legs and that hilariously long neck!


southeastcountrywife said...

I got this book with CFBA so it was interesting to see your review! I haven't started reading yet but am definitely intrigued now. :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I have been fascinated with pink dolphins ever since they were featured in a short novella I read a couple months ago. Sounds like an amazing experience.

This book sounds good!

Lisa Harris said...

I agree Tracy, giraffe's make me laugh as well. I know God has a sense of humor when I look at them and the hippos, and a few other colorful characters. :-)

Swimming with the dolphins was amazing. My kids are a still begging me to take them back there.

Thanks for stopping by!


Abi said...

My favorite would be zebras. Love the stripes

USA reader

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot]comj

Linda said...

I am so intrigued with all of your African memories and stories. I would love to win your book. Please enter me. Thank you!
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

lisa said...

Hi both! Yay, I'm eligible for once! Please enter me! I'm still in the USA until the end of May and then it will be Laos. Thanks for the interview Rel. Very interesting - writers named Lisa who write about Africa... what more could you want?? Hope you're both well! (another) lisa

Atypical Girl said...

I really, really, really want to read this book!

My fave African animal is probably the lion. I wanted to pick something exotic and weird...but it's the lion.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Amy, USA


Anonymous said...

I like the springbok. I'll never forget riding the cable car in Pretoria, South Africa and watching springbok running and jumping through the veld. My 12-year-old mind deemed them the happiest animal alive!

Lisa, your South African meal description made my mouth water...all except for the Pap - we called it "Mielie Pap" and it was fed to us cold and congealed at a veld school. I never ate it again!

Thanks Rel and Lisa, loved the interview. If I don't win the book I'll just have to buy it:)
Jennifer (USA)

Mark said...

My favorite African animal would be the lion

lisa said...

Oops, Lisa again. I didn't tell you my favorite african animal, I blame jet lag for my inability to follow instructions today. It's the leopard.

Lisa Harris said...

I'm enjoying all your comments and your favorite animals. Thanks for joining in!

It would be very hard for me to pick a favorite as photography has become a hobby for me here. --Okay, where we live there are chickens and goats, but when we go to the parks in South Africa I love to just sit and watch the animals.)

The lions are incredible and bigger up close than I ever imagined. And the springbok and impalas are so graceful. Lisa, I saw my first leopard in the wild last year. My heart wouldn't stop pounding. It was incredible. Then there is the cheetah, and the hippos, and the monkeys...

Jennifer, cold pap/mielie pap does not sound nice at all! Thankfully, I've always eaten it hot. :-)


Jessica said...

A giraffe would have to be my favorite African animal!


Laura O'Connell said...

Rel and Lisa, I loved the interview. Thanks.

My favourite animal is the elephant. Big, strong and gentle too. Just love those trunks, a practical piece of kit for eating.


Michelle said...

Wonderful interview. Enjoyed reading it. :)

My favorite is the lion. There's just something majestic about them.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net


nolene said...

Thanks Rel and Lisa for the interview! It brought back a few memories from my growing up years.(South Africa) I haven't had milk tart in years and I think though I should now give the receipe a try. I have however never taken a liking to pap although my parents and hubby think its great!

My favourite animals are probably the lion and the hippo. They are fascinating up close(not to close). I am looking forward to the book! (AUS)

Laetitia :-) said...

Ever since I had to do an assignment on it in primary school, my favourite has been the cheetah; I just love their markings, particularly on the face and I'm a softie for cats big or small. I keep asking God if I can have one in heaven. :-)

I also think the okapi is pretty cool.

Laetitia :-)

Leola :) said...

Thanks for a fantasic interview! I really enjoyed reading it - and I so want to read the book now!! Brings back memories of my time in Africa...
My favourite animals would be the zebras and giraffes. But then the elephants facinate me too...
Thanks again, and please enter me into the draw Rel.
Leola (AUS)

windycindy said...

Lisa lives such an interesting life!
I adore her books and would love to be entered in this drawing. My favorite African animal is the Zebra.
Many thanks, Cindi

Julie H said...

Blood Ransom looks like my kind of book - I like multi-tasking with my reading - learning about different cultures and issues while being entertained by the story.
My favourite is the Meerkat- they are curious (nosey!), hang out with their family, and are good for a laugh. I could watch them for hours.
Julie (AUS)

Jen said...

Don't think I can choose just one! Love hippos, meerkats and elephants. Great interveiw Rel and Lisa. Thanks again


Rel said...

I have just started Beaded Hope, another story set in Africa and Pap was mentioned! Thanks to this interview with Lisa I knew what it was - LOL!

Enjoying everyone's comments - thanks for "playing"

Lisa Harris said...

A milk tart does sound delicious right now, Nolene! And you know, while I've eaten them many times, I've never made one myself. I think I just might have to try.

Here is a link if you are interested in trying it. It's a simple dessert, but so good.


I agree that it is hard to chose just one favorite animal, Jen! My list could go on and on because each is so unique and interesting.

BTW, this conversation has got me excited, because my husband just told me we get to go to Kruger (A game park in South Africa) for a couple days while we are there at the end of next month! Going on safari is definitely my favorite holiday. (Don't be too jealous, I'll post photos ;-))

And how exciting to read that several of you have been here. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read this book! Sounds amazing--I love fast-paced action!

Just one animal--the majestic elephant against an African sunset backdrop.


Jewelz said...

My favourite African animal is the leopard!
Please enter me :)

joyfuljewelz (at) gmail.com

Jewelz said...

Oops sorry, I forgot to put that I'm from AUS at the end :)

Sara said...

This sounds like a great book! My favorite African animal would have to be the Zebra. It's just so neat looking!


Christy said...

The new book sounds like a great read. My favorite African animal would have to be the giraffe, so graceful and so tall. USA

ReadingRobin said...

Another great intervirew! I would love to win a copy!
cmrobin at bellsouth net

Anonymous said...

Hi Rel,
Another great review. Sounds like a lovely book by a lovely author! My favorite animal would have to be the giraffe, I even have 2 cloth nappies in the giraffe print!!!
Louise AUS

jaana said...

My favourite would be elephants. Please enter my name in, thanks.


Rachel said...

My favourite African animal is the giraffe!!!! An amazing lady from my church was a missionary in Africa (and is now a leader in her mission, but is based here in Australia), and the giraffe is her favourite animal. Whenever I see giraffes, I am reminded of this lady who continually inspires me with her strength, joy and love for God.

Paris said...

My fav animal would be a zebra! they are so cute:)



Chloe-Anne =D said...

Hey rel, the book sounds good, my favourite African animals would have to be the elephant and the lion, because i can't choose just one C: i love elephants because i rode some in thailand and it was great (:
pls enter me thanks

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite animal would be the elephants. This book sounds really interesting. Please enter me. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Please include me. Africa is very close to my heart! My favorite African animal is a lizard because they are amazing to watch!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com


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