Lisa, tell us about your life on the mission field as a writer.
Most of my days are filled with the same things I did while living in the States--cooking, cleaning, homework with the kids, and grocery shopping. The catch is that everything takes a whole lot longer in Mozambique. For example, there are no fast food restaurants within a couple hundred miles, so dinner is always made from scratch. And no English schools means that we now home school. On the positive side, I love having my kids involved first hand in our ministry, the flexibility to travel with my husband, and the occasional trip into the African bush to photograph the wildlife.
How do you ever find time to write?
This has become my greatest challenge lately. J It was easier when our kids were in the local school system in South Africa, but living in Mozambique has brought with it new adventures as well as challenges. I’ve had to cut back on anything extra and focus on family, ministry, and writing. There are times when I feel like I’m treading water, as most of us probably do, but I’m trying to learn to take one day at a time and enjoy my family and the life God has called us to.
You have a two book contract with Zondervan, tell us about that series.
I’m so excited about this series as it is something I’ve longed to write for a very long time. The series centers around a fictional nonprofit, medical organization called Volunteers for Hope. Each book highlights people who come to the continent to make a difference. In the process, faced with extraordinary circumstances, they will have their lives changed not only through the challenges they face as these two worlds collide, but also through their reliance on God. Book one will be released in March.
Here’s a blub about book one, Blood Ransom: Deep in the heart of Africa, two American lives are about to change forever. Natalie Sinclair and Dr. Chad Talcott want to make a difference in under-developed African villages … but they didn’t count on risking their lives in the process. Romance and adventure drive this powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.
What new project are you working on?
You were able to come back to the States for the ACFW Conference and are now in Texas for a few months. Your husband’s uncle, who is your mentor and co-worker on the mission field came home with a brain tumor. How is he doing and how long will you be stateside?
How have you overcome obstacles in your writing and in getting your manuscripts and proposals to me and to your editors?
Without you and the blessing of the Internet, I’d never be able to accomplish what I have done. I’m able to send manuscripts over the Internet, do edits, and even belong to a critique group. And being ahead six or seven hours from my editors has also come in handy a time or two when I’m facing a tight deadline.
What words of advice and encouragement do you have for writers just starting out?
I always tell people that writing is a hard long journey, though worth it if they want to put in the time and energy it takes. You have to respond to rejections with a huge dose of tenacity, spend long hours writing at the computer alone, and never stop learning and growing in the craft. Hook up with a writing organization like American Christian Fiction Writers, join a critique group, and attend a few conferences to meet others in the business.
What made you decide to become a Christian writer?
As a Christian I believe strongly that everything I does needs to bring glory to my Heavenly Father. And while I want my stories to entertain, I hope they encourage people spiritually as well.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Someone recently asked me how long I’d had my agent, and I was surprised when I realized that you and I have been working together for almost eight years (I’m pretty sure that’s right). I’ve been blessed with your friendship and constant encouragement through many of years of both rejections and successes. Thank you!
I thank you too, Lisa, it’s a joy to work with you. As a missionary you are special to me. I know the sacrifices and constant adjustments missionary families have to make, like the times when we’re praying that your electricity and water will stay on J Ministry is not always easy either here in the states or abroad, but it is a privilege to work for Him. I’m glad we’ve been able to be a team to get your stories published.
Here are Lisa’s current titles:
Check out her web site http://www.lisaharriswrites.com/, her blog is http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com/ and sign up for her newsletter
LOVE FINDS YOU IN REVENGE, OHIO -Summerside Press, August 2009
COLORADO CRIMES- Barbour, January 2010
BLOOD RANSOM- Zondervan, March 2010
In His service,