Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Human Trafficking and Murder? Interview with Author Lisa Harris


When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common--a tattoo of a magnolia on their shoulders.

Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. But it doesn't take long for them to realize that there is much more to the case than meets the eye.

As they venture deep into a sinister world of human trafficking, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities—and their hearts.

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times.

She has over twenty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent almost ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry called The ECHO Project.

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.  

For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com. For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.org.

Her latest book, Dangerous Passage, exposes a fully-realized and frightening world where every layer peeled back reveals more challenges ahead. Romantic suspense fans will be hooked from the start by Lisa Harris's first installment of the new Southern Crimes series. 

Ten Questions for Lisa Harris

What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?

Dangerous Passage is the first book of my brand new ‘Southern Crime’ series, so in that sense, it’s unique. Several years ago, though, I wrote Blood Ransom, a novel that focused on human trafficking in Africa. At the time, I had no idea this was an issue in the US.

With this new series, I decided that setting this story in the US, the backdrop of human trafficking would not only make an exciting story, but would also help people become aware of this very real issue.

What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?

The character of Avery North, the heroine of this story, came to me before the actual story. By the time I started writing the book, I knew she was a single mom who was struggling to balance a career and her family. She was born into a family who had served their country for generations, a family that sticks together and does whatever it takes to the injustices in the world. The actual story came out of this set up.

Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?

Writing is simply a part of me. I remember someone once asking me where I get my stories and I looked at them a bit confused. I honestly thought that everyone had stories and characters running around in their heads and that I had just decided to write them down.

This person told me that the only thing running around in their head was their shopping list. :) Now I see my writing as a gift from God and one I hope I can continue to use for His glory.

How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?

We’ve been blessed to do a lot of traveling which I really enjoy. I wrote a series set in Africa a couple years ago and just finished another one set in South Africa. I’m also getting ready to finish another romantic suspense set in Paris. These are all places where I’ve been and/or lived, so I love being able to share these places with my readers.

Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?

It’s hard to choose just one person. Writing really is a journey and along the way I’ve been blessed with so many different people who have and continue to inspire me. From family, to fellow authors, to editors to readers. Writing can be a lonely job, so I’m thankful for those willing to take the journey with me!

What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?

I think the simple fact that writing is hard. We tend to romanticize certain professions, but writing doesn’t always end in a contract, or a best seller. Most of the time, it’s everyday sitting at your computer whether you feel like writing or not.

It’s writing while the kids are napping, writing late at night, writing when you simply don’t feel creative. But in spite of all of that, I find it extremely fulfilling, and yes, even fun!

If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?

To be more patient. To realize that publication is simply a step in this journey. To enjoy the friends you will make more, as well as the stories you will create. To worry less about being popular and more about simply enjoying writing.

Now to have some fun with travel…

What’s your favorite place you have visited?

There are honestly so many places I’ve been able to visit, that it’s almost impossible to choose just one! Maybe it’s because I’ve just been working a book set in Paris, but I really love visiting this city.

I’m honestly not sure exactly what it is, because I am not a city girl, but I love the history, the old buildings, the museums, the food, the bakeries, the language, and the people. . .Yes, I could go on and on. :)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?

Because things have been so crazy over the past year, I think I’d love to visit some quiet island where all I’d have to do is lay in the sun, sleep and read. Ahh. . .

And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be located?

Silvermist Lodge would be located in the mountains in the middle of the French Alps.

Stunning views, simple food, and quiet, it would be a place where authors could recharge their spirits and unleash their creativity. A place where they could also connect with other writers, and feel the presence of God.

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