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!
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!
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.