As I continue to introduce you to talented folks, I am excited for you to meet my friend Kathy Harris. She’s led such an amazing life, the best thing to do is just jump right into an interview so we have room to talk about it all. Enjoy!
Kathy, You have led a fascinating life, working with the Oak Ridge Boys for more than thirty years and building a reputation in the country music industry as a reliable and talented marketing guru. Before we discuss your writing career, tell us a really interesting story from behind-the-scenes in the Nashville music industry. (Something funny or surprising about the music world, etc.)
Entertainers are like the rest of us. They go to the grocery store, shop at Wal-Mart, and take their children to school. In Nashville, you might run into a music star anywhere. Of course, you also might not recognize them because they look different in their “everyday” clothes. (smile)
Nashville is a small community, and almost everyone has a connection to the entertainment industry. You either know someone in the business, have children who go to school with an entertainer’s son or daughter, or do business with entertainers.
As a marketer, what are the two most important things writers need to do to market their books professionally?
It seems that many Christian writers stress over the idea of self-promotion. My best advice is to remember that you’re marketing a product, not yourself. Yes, that may be a fine line, but it helps tremendously if you can separate yourself from your book.
Determine how your book can help readers. Maybe it’s solely for entertainment. Maybe it will inspire them, empower them, or encourage them. Maybe all of the above. Now, figure out how to articulate that in simple words.
You should also be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Even if you’ve never done it before, consider speaking at local churches or civic clubs. Offer to facilitate book club and/or library events. Get out there and meet people! It will bless you while you’re blessing others. God may have called you to do more than just write.
Before launching a novel, you wrote devotionals and family stories while also ghostwriting biographies. Your debut novel, The Road to Mercy, was inspired by an actual event you experienced as a child. Tell us about that childhood tragedy, and why did you decide to write this story as fiction instead of nonfiction?
The Prologue is based on personal experience. When I was a young girl, I witnessed the aftermath of a plane crash. My dad found the last victim, a small child, only a few hundred feet away from where I stood. I still remember the look on my dad’s face when he told me.
That experience haunted me for years. I wanted that child to live. And, in my book, he does. Hopefully, “his” story will encourage or edify those who read it.
Because I explored the “what if…,” it had to be told through fiction.
Your story explores the controversial theme of abortion. You’ve said your own journey with infertility has given you a unique perspective about this issue, and your experience with the plane wreck made a tremendous impact on you as a child. Did you intend to write about such a politically-charged theme, and how have readers responded? How do you feel about people who protest abortion clinics and abuse the women whose life situations bring them to those doors? What would you say to people on each end of the issue?
I didn’t intend to write about abortion but the story had a mind of its own. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? I initially set out to write about generational blessings and the impact of one particular life. But, as I explored the “life” theme, the story took a couple of sharp turns.
For me, there are two things that are key to the abortion issue. One is education and the other is love.
We need to help people understand that life begins at conception. Thankfully, science is now helping with that. But we must also remember that behind every unwanted pregnancy is a hurting person, a woman who is desperate to make the right decision, and we need to reach out to her with a loving attitude. The greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13b)
How does your faith influence your work as a writer, and what do you want people to know about Christian Fiction?
I’ve wanted to write books since I was a young girl, and I pursued that goal through high school and college, graduating with a Communications degree. Then my life took a turn into music. I made several attempts through the years to write a novel, but I could never get beyond the first chapter—until I made the decision to write Christian fiction. Then, the words started to flow. My faith is an important part of what I write. As someone who reads, as well as writes, Christian fiction, I view it as a great way to encourage and edify other Believers.
As a music pro, what song would best serve as the themesong for The Road to Mercy?
That’s an easy one. : ) About six weeks prior to the book release, I was listening to a new CD, Only You, by Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Karyn Williams. I was rocking along, enjoying the music, when I got to track 10, a song entitled This Is Freedom. The first time I heard it, I knew it was a perfect match for The Road to Mercy.
Through mutual friends, I contacted Karyn and asked her about using it for the book trailer. She agreed! (You can view the trailer and listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOXDx3JEZhc.)
And, just for fun, what song best describes you? Or…who is your favorite band, etc.?
It would definitely be a praise song with an up-tempo beat and a few minor chords. I love Contemporary Christian Music—no matter what the style, rock, hip-hop, pop or alternative.
Fill in the blank…If you like to read edgy Christian fiction, you’ll enjoy The Road to Mercy.
Finally, what are you working on now?
I have three books in the works right now… one, a romantic suspense, is finished in first draft form. But my primary goal is to complete my next women’s fiction book, another stand-alone novel.
What fun questions, Julie! Thanks so much for having me here today. I hope you’ll visit my blog, www.DivineDetour.com, sometime soon!