Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Behind the Scenes with Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry on their collaboration, Ghost Heart + Giveaway

By Ian Acheson

I was fortunate to be part of the street team that assisted Lisa and Lynne in promoting their new medical thriller, GhostHeart. It’s a tremendous story as besides being a thrill ride of a read it also explores topics rarely addressed in a novel. Topics such as heart transplants and the global black market for organs and albinos.

I’m always fascinated by collaborations, as I’m curious about the process two authors undertake to draft a story. I thought it would be fun to get some insight from the two ladies on how they tackled the story and some of the background behind it.

The two of you have been good friends for many years but many of us wouldn’t know how you met and how you’ve maintained such a close friendship at long distance?

LISA: Before we moved to Africa, we lived in south Dallas and went to church where Lynne and her husband were in ministry. While we were friends for several years, it really wasn’t until right before we left for the mission field that we spent some time together—with a mutual friend who was in her eighties and a lot of chocolate—sharing our ministry and writing dreams and experiences. I’ve always been grateful that our friendship has continued over so many years.

LYNNE: One of the blessings of working on this novel has been the chance for us to email and Skype on a regular basis and stay in touch. Over the years we’ve also had several mini-writing retreats when Lisa is back in the states where we brain storm and of course have a lot of fun!

Okay, thanks for that. Now to Ghost Heart. Where did you get the idea for this story?

LYNNE: Just over a decade ago, a newspaper picture of a terrified albino caught my attention. As I read about the horrors these fragile people face, I couldn’t believe such evil existed in the world. I called Lisa, who lives in Mozambique, and asked her to find out if what she’d read was true.

LISA: Until Lynne wrote to me about the article she’d read, I’d never heard of these barbaric crimes. But after doing some further research, I discovered that what she’d read was true. Once we learned that the witch doctors use the pale skin and hair of these fragile people to make good luck charms and potions, we knew we had to tell their story.  
Is the plight of albinos real or something you made up for this story?

LYNNE: Sadly, the atrocities committed against those born with this genetic mutation is very real. Less than 2% of Tanzanian albinos survive beyond their 40th birthday.

Why did you feel that writing about the atrocities happening to albinos was a story that needed to be told?

LYNNE: We both have a heart for those suffering prejudice and discrimination. People with albinism are not ghosts. They are human beings.

LISA: And this issue goes far beyond the horrors facing albinos. All around the world people are discriminated against. Sometimes it’s for the color of their skin. Other times it’s for their faith or beliefs. But in the end, we are all human beings and we all bleed the same color.
Now let's chat about your writing process. How does co-writing a book differ from writing your own story?

LYNNE: There is a creative give and take that makes the storytelling process more difficult, but in the end we believe also makes the story more powerful. 

LISA: This was the first time I’d ever done anything like this, but while it was challenging, it was also a huge blessing to me. It allowed us to each take our strengths and put them together, while also learning from each other.

Can you tell us some about the brainstorming process of this book?

LYNNE: Since we live on different continents and in different time zones, we do a lot of the work via email. The skeleton of the story went back and forth between us many times. However, when we really need to solve a plot point we will set up a Skype call, which also gives us a chance to visit and reconnect. And since we really do enjoy each other, those calls are a win/win for both of us.

LISA: A project like this definitely was something I loved doing since I don’t have a lot of contact with other writers on a day-to-day basis. And having two people brainstorm ideas for a book is always a win-win situation.

As co-authors, how did you do the actual writing of the book?

LYNNE: First, we decided we wanted our hero and heroine to each have a distinctive voice. The easiest way to achieve their separate voices was for each of us to choose which one we wanted to write. Next, it made sense for Lisa to write the scenes involving African characters since she lives there. Because of my connections to the medical world, I did the research and writing for those scenes.  

LISA: Once we decided on who was going to write what characters, it allowed us to focus on that part of the story line, and on those specific characters backstory and personalities. Watching the story then come together was really exciting.
Besides giving readers a fast paced thriller, what do you want people to get out of this story?

LYNNE: Beneath the color of our skin we are all alike. Because my novels always speak to the intrinsic worth of each of us, I long for the day we can all learn to look past outward appearances.

LISA: In most of my suspense novels, I turn to real life events that affect our world today. In highlighting things—like the issues facing albinos today, I hope that people will step up and get involved in their own communities and make a difference.
Thanks, Lisa and Lynne.
We hope this “behind the scenes” might have planted a seed of interest in Ghost Heart. Here are a couple other links that provide more details.

Ghost Heart BlogspotThe story behind the story

To celebrate the books release, we'd like to give away one ebook copy! Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy and please include a way for me to contact you. I'll draw a winner Saturday, August 19th at 10 pm CST.

You can also find your copy at 
Amazon as an ebook and paperback, as well as your other favorite online vendors.

You can find out even more about Lisa and Lynne’s writing endeavours by popping over to their websites:

Lisa Harris: has written around thirty books. While Lisa started off writing romance novels for the Christian market, she now writes romantic suspense. Pop over to Lisa's website for more.

Lynne Gentry: has written ten books including, The Carthage Chronicles, a time travel series, and the Mt. Hope Southern Adventures, a humorous small town series. Lynne's website provides more information.


  1. I started reading this book yesterday and I'm hooked!

    1. Ruth, it's that kinda book! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

  2. Yeah! I'm so glad to hear that Ruth. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I appreciate it!

  3. Sounds like a great book!

    1. Congratulations, Vicky. I'll contact you via email to organise sending you an ebook copy of Ghost Heart. Thank you for your interest.

  4. I thought Ghost Heart was excellent - thank you for giving us this behind-the-scenes look!

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Vicky, and Iola, I'm so thrilled you enjoyed Ghost Heart--and the interview!!

  6. This book sounds so fascinating! I'm really looking forward to reading it.

    1. Fascinating it is, Becky. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

  7. Lisa, Lynne and Ian, great interview! It sounds like a fabulous read. :)