Interview with Author Lisa Harwell – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Lisa Harwell

Author Jones Harwell is Lisa Jones Harwell.  She has an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies and a graduate degree in Early Childhood Studies.  She spent more than thirty years working as an Information Technology/Telecommunications Specialist in various industries.

Her husband and herself have two children, three grandchildren and have been married for twenty years.  She lives in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Tell me more about your latest book

The Chameleon is about a young woman who is walking a fine line between two lives that collide and her life begins spiralling out of control.  It’s then that she discovers the real truth about her and her family while trying to stay alive.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

For me it was finishing it.  The main character had lived in my mind for more than thirty years.  I had started and stopped her story several times over the years but always hesitated on following through.  Once I finally committed to doing it, the characters and the storyline began to emerge and really live on paper. 

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

Had I stuck to the original script after high school, with going directly to college and entering this profession as a journalist, I would have most likely travelled the traditional route of finding an agent and a publishing house.  But I detoured for thirty years and it wasn’t until I was finishing my graduate studies at the age of 52, that I decided to revisit my dream of being a writer.  Thanks to the advice of friends, I decided to publish my own work so I created Redbaby Publishing, Inc.  Before releasing any books, I have it reviewed by a couple of editors, a couple of authors and then send to a couple of beta-readers before selecting the cover design and sending to distributors to print.  Self-publishing opened another door and forum for me to help other authors in giving them a voice and be an inspiration for others recovering from similar situations. Also owning a publishing company, I am becoming a quick study on everything that goes with publishing, from working with graphic designers to marketing.  I love the creative aspect of it all.

What motivated you to become an author?

The first inspiration came from a high school English teacher.  After returning to college in my forties I had several professors that liked my writing style and suggested did I ever consider a career in writing or teaching. I have a really vivid imagination and I keep a folder full of story ideas. 

How many books have you written so far?

The Chameleon by Jones Harwell

  1. Dancing with the Devil Crack Cocaine: The Prophetess Jacqueline Cade Story, which is a non-fiction novel I co-authored with Prophetess Jacqueline Cade.

As an author, do you prefer the traditional book or online version? Why?

There are times that I still buy hard cover books, but I like the flexibility of online because you can access it anywhere.  As a publisher, doing both also gives me options for my clients to select from as well.

What is it that really fascinates you and aspires you in a book?

  I’m an action junkie. I grew up watching Mission Impossible and James Bond movies.  I love mysteries and suspense.  For me to watch a story unfold and how the hero and antagonist intertwine is fascinating.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

  It definitely takes dedication.  I’m not one to crank out several books (fiction) a year.  Writing and completing my first book was checking an item off of my bucket list.  I had no idea how exultating it would be or that I would be motivated and driven to write more.  I have been fortunate to work with women releasing non-fiction works steadily, but because I specifically write suspense, I do quite a bit of research and take my time developing the story.  The characters and story normally have periods when they talk to me, I listen and then I write.  So yes, I do have other jobs to maintain daily living.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

I follow three things, two were passed to me and the third is my personal take.  First, just write.  Don’t try to constantly edit while working on the first draft.  It will drive you crazy and you will never finish the initial story.  Just write.  Second, allow the work to breath for a couple of weeks before you tackle or have editors start reviewing.  Lastly, stay true to you.  Part of editing is suggesting changes to make.  It’s natural and required. However, know what works but never detract from your voice.  In the end, remember it’s your vision, your voice that you are displaying to the world.

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