22 August 2011

Interview with Lisa Harris

Interview with 

By Carrie Fancett Pagels 

Lisa Harris is the author of An Ocean Away (Summerside, 2011), Blood Ransom (Zondervan) and Blood Covenant (Zondervan). She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency (also my agent!)

Lisa, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. 

Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

The most difficult thing I’ve ever faced is the loss of our first child. After many years of waiting for a child, I finally got pregnant, only to lose the baby at three months. I’ve written about this on my blog and how it ended up taking me on a spiritual journey that in turn would change my life. I had to make the decision of whether or not I truly believed that God was in control and if he was, I was going to have to give Him everything, including my desire for a child, over to him.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
This changes as the circumstances in my life change, but right now one of my favorites is Romans 8:37-39. Through Him we are more than conquerors!

Disability friendliness:
Blood Ransom (paperback through CBD) and Blood Covenant (CBD paperback) come in large print, kindle, and an audio version.

An Ocean Away is available as an eBook and in paperback through Amazon.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
There are numerous examples in the Bible of men and women who God called to serve Him in an extraordinary way through His power. Gideon was victorious with only three hundred men, a handful of trumpets, jars, and torches. Esther saved her people from the threat of death, David was a shepherd boy who became king of a nation, and I could go on and on.

God calls us in the middle of our ordinary, run-of-the-mill, take-out-the-trash- and drive-the-kids-to-school routine. So stop and ask yourself this one question. How do you see God calling you to make a difference in your world? He’s the one who will give you the strength to do extraordinary things for Him.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
As I started doing the research for Blood Covenant, for example, I found myself afraid that my readers would find the plot unbelievable. Surely the story of a humanitarian crisis dealing with so many issues—from cholera to measles to rebels—could only be fabricated and would never happen in today’s world. Yet as I read story after story of individual refugees I found myself weeping with them over what they experienced. And I realized that, if anything, I had sanitized my story to make it more believable, because the facts tell another story.
According to the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders, there are forty-two million people in the world who have been displaced by war and violence.
Read that again: forty-two million.
So while the story behind Blood Covenant, including the setting, is fictional, the issue of those being forced to leave their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their back, often after witnessing murder, rape, violence and kidnappings, is very real. But in spite of this horror, I didn’t want to stop the story there. Drawing from my own experiences across Africa over the past twenty years I wanted to tell a story that went beyond the adversities and gave a message of hope.
          This research has made me want to listen closer to God and how He wants me to reach out to those hurting around me. We’re not all called to live overseas as missionaries, but we all can see those living near us who need God’s grace, forgiveness, and love. It might be a hurting neighbor down the street, a lonely teen in your youth group, or a tired young mother in your apartment building. God can and does use ordinary people like you and me to do extraordinary things. 

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
I’m not sure about this. J

Thank you Lisa Harris for agreeing to answer these questions.  We appreciate your sharing about how God has helped you overcome the loss of your child and pray that it will encourage others who have suffered, too. May God bless you in your ministries!

Giveaway:  Lisa is giving away a copy of her new book.  Leave a comment with your email address to enter. Drawing will be next weekend.


  1. Lisa has the prettiest eyes! She has lots of other books, too, BTW. Check out the listing on CBD.

  2. So true about those hurting around us. I can't do much for people where I live, not speaking much of the language, and I'm finding that I am helping people remotely via social networking, encouraging them if, for example, I see theirp osts seem like they are suffering, making private contact to let them know I'm here, if not literally there for them.

    It's a tiny thing in a world that sometimes makes me cry with its pain (I cried over that poor man who sat on that tower for days, whent hey said he asked for milk and cookies).

    Lisa has a special calling, a special gift, going into some of the hardest hit places in the world. She is someone I have always admired and looked up to for this.

    And for another reason, Lisa will forever be special to me. One morning at a hartline breakfast at conference, I pitched an idea to her. She grabbed Lena Doolley and brought her in on it, and--voila! I ended up with my first CBA contract. She and Lena helped me to learn to write for the Christian market. And they were just all around supportive. Of my fumbling early efforts.

    Don't put me in the drawing. If it's on audio, I will buy it.

  3. Lisa has books in Dutch too! The Dutch edition of Blood Covenant will release in October in the Netherlands!
    Thanks for the interview!

  4. I too, admire Lisa very much, Laurie Alice, and the work she does! I especially love her blog about Africa and enjoy the safari pics and the updates as to what is going on there, in her and her family's ministry. I'm sorry I don't have the link to it...I get her updates in my email.

    I haven't had the pleasure of reading Blood Covenant and Blood Ransom (love books that take place in Africa!), but An Ocean Away was a real treat and wonder what Lisa has coming up next in the way of books. Can't wait 'til her next one!

  5. Laurie Alice, I was just thinking this morning about how even when we are unable to get out of the house we can still minister to people right from where we are. Lisa must be an incredible person to be able to go in and minister to people in those darkest areas of the world, to bring God's light to them - I agree. Thanks for sharing the story about Lisa, and Lena Nelson Dooley (who is a special person, too!), and Hartline. This book is not yet on audio, but there are two on audible.com Blood Ransom and Blood Covenant. Thanks for sharing, Laurie Alice!

  6. Marian, thanks for letting us know. That is cool! I always love to hear about which books are translated into Dutch. I really would love to get over there.

  7. Laurie Alice, I appreciate so much your sweet words. It was a pleasure for me to be able to work with you on your first book as well as get to know you through that experience! You've done so well and I'm excited about how God is blessing your career.

    Marion, I hadn't heard about Blood Covenant being released in the Netherlands. That's extra special to me as we have friends there!

    Carrie and Diana, thanks so much for letting me visit your blog!

  8. Lisa,
    Blood Covenant will be in stores in October, so you can tell your friend to look for the book then.

  9. That is very exciting. Thanks, Marian!

  10. I wanted to post the link to Lisa's fascinating blog, so one can see more in depth the fabulous work Lisa and her family are doing in Africa. You can subscribe by email so you don't have to miss a single post, and it's a gorgeous blog with Lisa's books at the top, amidst a big giraffe and the African landscape. It's: http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com

  11. You can also click on Lisa's highlighted name in the blog post and it will take you there (it is a hot link). Yes, a beautiful blog!

  12. I wanted jump in and say I read Blood Ransom earlier this summer. It's a beautiful and heart wrenching story. I'm so glad I read it, and I've learned so much from Lisa through this story and her blog.
    Thanks for sharing today.

  13. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Carrie and Jackie! Thrilled you enjoyed Blood Ransom and my blog as well. I enjoy sharing from our life here.

  14. The book, which I have, blew me away with some of the horror the people in Africa live with daily. The ordinary person who lives a free life, has NO clue how it truly is in various places there. The people of Africa have more oomph than we Americans do - the book opened my eyes to new horrors of Africa. God be with these people, & Lisa, thank you for telling the story. Somehow we free people can help. Please give the book to someone who has not read it. Mine sits in our church library for others to read! Your cousin Alene

  15. Alene, that is so wonderful that you are sharing with your church. I know members must appreciate that. We are so spoiled here in America. It is wonderful that Lisa is putting a spotlight on this part of the world.

  16. Thank you so much for your words, Alene. May we all appreciate our freedom and help those in need around us!

  17. a great posting...would love to read lisa's latest novel...thanks for the chance :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  18. Thank you for the giveaway.



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