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Interview with Lisa Harris

An African missionary, a homeschool mom and an award winning author to boot, Lisa Harris is always on the move. Today she joins us to talk about her new novel, Vendetta

In your latest novel, Vendetta, you've created a very interesting main character who is trying to solve her sister’s disappearance. How much of yourself did you write into Nikki?
Honestly, I never purposely set out to write a part of myself into a character, but I know I do draw on some of my own experiences and emotions for each story. Nikki is just an ordinary woman who is placed in the middle of some very difficult and emotional events that shape her life and challenge her to become a stronger person. In my own life, I’ve seen God work through difficult challenges that have shaped me, and that, in the end, I hope will make me more like Him.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
I have really, really loved writing Nikki’s character. She has been so much fun to get to know. She’s both strong and vulnerable as she works through these missing person cases, while balancing life, extended family, and love. I’m currently writing book three in the series, and for me her story is just as fresh and fun to me as it was in book one.

Which was the hardest character to write? Why?
Probably the villain. I won’t give away who it is, but in writing this story line, I really want to show motivation of what made him who he is. A believable villain isn’t all bad. They need to have their own motivations and character development, and that can be tough to write.

What helps you the most when you're developing your characters?
I usually start mulling around a main character before getting into the actual story. So by the time I sit down to write the book, I’ve already got a strong handle on their character, motivations and personalities. And when I get stuck? Well, doing something mundane like washing dishes always sparks new ideas. :-)

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
I definitely write what I enjoy reading. I’ve always loved suspense and thrillers, both in books and movies. And even when I was writing romance novels when I first started writing, I could never stay in the box. I had to include a suspense or mystery thread. I’ll admit, though, that it’s harder for me to read suspense now, because I struggle to turn off the editor inside me.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
The first thing that comes to my mind was my very first contract. After many years of writing and learning the trade to have that first story published was a huge step for me. It was a novella collection that I wrote with DiAnn Mills, Carol Cox, and Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner, and I’ll always be grateful to them for taking a chance with a newbie writer!

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Simply put, I’d say all the distractions around me. As a mama, there is always someone who needs me for something. (Which I really do love.) Throughout the years I’ve tried to make sure my kids know that while I work and have responsibilities and deadlines, they are important. In the end you can only do so much, though, which means saying no to certain things so I can focus on the important.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I see the spiritual thread in my stories as a part of my characters' reactions to life. How they react and deal with things on a spiritual level is crucial. Just like in my own life, I don’t want my faith to be simply tacked on, but an intricate part of who I am.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
Instead of just a fast-paced story, which I love to write, I also love spending a lot of time letting the reader get to know my characters and their motivations that makes them who they are. So I see my books as both character-driven as well as plot-driven. It’s essential not to let the character-driven side bog down the fast-paced plot (each book in this series takes place in 48 hours), but for me that’s a challenge I love.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?
Honestly, I can’t think of anything funny that’s happened to me as an author. Embarrassing, yes, but I’ll leave that for another day. 

Any parting words?
Thanks so much for letting me share today! I really appreciate it.

Thanks for sharing with us, Lisa!

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