Interview by Brock Eastman
Featuring Ghost Heart
A brilliant transplant surgeon. A rogue organ broker. A ghost child.
And the legend that could destroy them all.
A brutal murder convinces surgeon Mia Kendall there’s more than she imagined to the mysterious spike in heart transplant rejections. Determined to find answers before she loses another patient, Mia gets sucked into a dangerous international medical web. With time running out for her youngest transplant recipient, Mia is forced to partner with a disillusioned ex-military pilot who flies brokered organs across East Africa. But searching for the truth will prove costly for the unlikely duo racing to stop a madman before he annihilates a rare and cursed bloodline.
From best-selling author Lisa Harris and award-winning author Lynne Gentry comes a chilling, hypnotic medical thriller that will take you from the suburbs of Cincinnati to the jungles of Africa.
"Ghost Heart delivers on every level! What a romantic, adventurous ride!!! This well-plotted action-packed thriller had me glued to the pages."
~Elizabeth Goddard, award winning author of Targeted for Murder
Brock: How did you come up with the idea for Ghost Heart?
Lisa: Just over a decade ago, a newspaper picture of a terrified albino caught Lynne’s attention. As she read about the horrors these fragile people face, she couldn’t believe such evil existed in the world. She called me because I live in Africa and asked me to find out if what she’d read was true.
To be honest, 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.
Brock: True, many people from history have stories that have to be told. Tell us about the main characters. Who are they? What makes them unique?
Lynne: Dr. Mia Kendall is an American transplant surgeon who moves to Africa to find
herself in the surgical ward of a government hospital and in training health workers
in rural communities. She longs for a life purpose that goes beyond the lucrative
medical practice her father offered her. Both brilliant and beautiful, she fears the
senseless and ugly side of love, and hopes that giving her heart to the poor will be
Race Daniels left America to lose himself in Africa. An ex-military pilot, he wants to
get even with God, his country, and the medical community who failed his wife.
Smart and cocky, he justifies his transport of brokered organs because the dying are
being saved. But when this Midwestern son of a Nebraska farmer learns what’s
really in his organ transplant coolers, he will have a hard time forsaking his moral
Brock: Give us one fact about each main character that no one else knows.
Lisa: We made out some pretty extensive character profiles when we started the book. Here’s a couple that didn’t make it into the book. Race has a scar in his chin that he got in a bar room fight while in the Academy. As for Mia, she’s book smart brilliant, but not always common sense smart and is somewhat naïve about people.
Brock: Love working on character development. In three sentences, what is this book about?
Ghost Heart will take the reader on a death-defying adventure from the center of the American heartland to the treacherous African wilds. This glimpse into the potential for good or evil lurking beneath the surface of everyone's skin ends in a final confrontation which will either stop a madman or annihilate an entire people.
Brock: Do you outline the entire book before starting, or do you write as you go and let the characters take control of the story?
Lisa: Because we were co-writing this book, we did a lot of planning up front including an outline and in-depth character profiles. Then as we wrote the story, we continued to keep track and rework the storyline so it would come together in the end.
Brock: How do you believe this story relates to the lives of readers?
Lynne: We wanted to explore the reality that no matter who we are or where we come from, beneath the color of our skin we are all alike. And I believe that’s something everyone can relate to.
Brock: Yes, we can. What is your favorite genre to write for?
Lisa: While Lynne has written a time travel series as well as contemporary small town series, I write romantic suspense which is definitely my favorite.
Brock: Any certain research required for the book, or is it all from your imagination?
Lisa: We spent a lot of time researching everything from heart issues, to the black market organ trade, to the albino issues. So yes, lots of research—along with a lot of imagination of course!
Brock: How much leeway do you gives yourself with facts in a Historical Thriller?
Lynne: With this thriller, we tried to stay as accurate as we could with the facts. That’s why we did do so much research. So while something like this probably wouldn’t happen, it definitely could.
Brock: Where do you like to write?
Lynne: I have a cozy office, but when I need a change of pace, I love to sit outside. Especially, if I can find a place near the water.
Lisa: I don’t have an office, so I tend to move around with my lap top. I usually sit either at the dinning room table or in a comfy chair in my room.
Brock: Nice! What do you hope readers take away from the series?
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.
Brock: In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
Lynne: I believe our faith is built in the dark, during times of foggy uncertainty when we cannot see what lies ahead. While not knowing the future can be terrifying, it has been in the valleys that I have felt God’s presence more than ever. I don’t have all the answers when it comes to faith, but I know God is using my struggles to make me into the person he had planned. Because I believe all of us are a work-in-progress, so to speak, I try to bring that hope to the struggling characters in my stories.
Lisa: My faith is always a part of the stories I write. And while it isn’t always overt, I often weave in issues I’m dealing with in real life.
Brock: Very true. Coke or Pepsi?
Lisa: Neither (I don’t drink soda)
Brock: Favorite season?
Lynne: I love fall. The smell of chili in the crock pot and a fire in the fireplace.
Lisa: We don’t have fall where I live in Mozambique, which means it primarily either really hot in the summer or almost perfect temperatures in the winter. So my favorite is definitely our winter.
Brock: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Lynne: Isa. 43 has sustained me on many occasions. Here’s my favorite snippet: “Behold, I am doing a new thing … making a way in the desert … streams in the wasteland so I can proclaim his praise.
Lisa: I love this reminder from 2 Corinthians 4:17 that says “ For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Brock: 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.
Brock: 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.