Hugh Harris
  • Richmond, VA
  • United States
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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Hugh Harris

Hugh Harris, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, moved to Virginia as a teenager. Served in U.S. Army 1956-59. Career Certificate in Watercolor from Blue Ridge Community College, BA in Sociology from Bridgewater College, and MDiv from Wesley Theological Seminary. Retired as United Methodist pastor in 1999. Professional artist and president of Watermedia Creations & More! Inc. from 1999 to 2009. Currently owns Art by Hugh Harris in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

How I Became a Writer: I have always enjoyed reading good stories, and at times did some writing. I was trained in news journalism at the Army Information School. Over the years I tried writing some non-fiction, but was never published. During the late 1980’s I had a weekly devotional column, “On the Positive Side,” published in the Mechanicsville Local newspaper in the Richmond area.

In 2012 I began attending the Aspiring Writers Critique class at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Midlothian, Virginia. There I pulled out some fictional writing I had worked on sporadically for many years, which I developed as the initial manuscript for my Dinkel Island Series of novels.

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Interview:

What makes you proud to be a writer from Virginia? Virginia is a state with a rich history and a variety of communities both large and small, which makes it fertile soil in which to grow the seeds of stories dealing with life in a variety of aspects.  I am especially proud to represent Virginia’s coastal communities through my novels centered in a place located on the Chesapeake Bay that I call Dinkel Island. 

What or who inspired you to become a writer? Throughout my life I have loved to read novels, and nurtured a faint idea that I might someday write such stories.  Ideas for what later became Dinkel Island, were originally inspired by Garrison Keelor and his Prairie Home Companion stories about Lake Wobegon.  Those ideas were fed by serving churches in small towns and rural areas.  I was also inspired by Jan Karon’s novels centered in a North Carolina community called Mitford.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I spent twenty years writing vignettes about people and events in a small, fictional town.  It was with the encouragement of an aspiring writers’ critique group that I decided to develop those stories into what became my first published novel, A Change of Heart.  That was in the spring of 2012.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I was raised both in a major city, and in a very rural area, in two different states.  This cultural diversity informs my understanding of people and events.  I use this reservoir constantly in my writing.

Do you come up with the title before or after you write the manuscript? A title forms in my mind early in the process of imagining and plotting a story.  It may go through some revision as I progress through the work. 

Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My genre is Christian Fiction.  I want to contribute to a body of literature that uplifts and inspires people, is rooted in a faith perspective, and deals with real, down-to-earth people and situations.

What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? There are “secrets” that underlie life in most communities, and I wanted to write a story about someone of faith who takes on a challenge that finds opposition from hidden sources.  I also wanted a primary role for Gracie Love to grow out of her introduction in book two.  In addition, I wanted to deal with a real social issue that may be alive and hidden in our own communities.  The result became “Secrets at Lighthouse Point.”

What has been the most rewarding experience with your writing process? Without question that would be the camaraderie, growth and challenges of working with a bi-weekly writers’ critique group.  In this ongoing group, we avoid isolation and provide constructive reflection and interaction.

Have you had a negative experience with your writing career? If so, explain how it could have been avoided.  Years ago I experienced rejections when I tried to write a book, and when I tried to syndicate a weekly devotional newspaper column.  I let that shut me down then, but now I can look back and see these things as opportunities to question myself and seek fresh channels for achieving my writing goals.

What has been the most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? When my first novel was accepted by Tate Publishing and I had a contract.  A second rewarding experience is to pick up one of my books, read it, and feel gratification at what I have created.

Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey?  If so please explain how it could have been avoided? In the non-fiction book I wrote with my wife, we made a mistake in the way we listed a resource agency in the back of the book. Correcting that required a post-production change that interrupted the book’s availability and was expensive.  I learned to avoid such things by double and triple checking research and resources.

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Rewrite—rewrite—rewrite!  Strength comes through this ongoing creative process.

Who is your favorite author and why? Probably John Grisham.  I like the way he allows his first career as a lawyer to inform his stories, his character development, and the way he ties his stories to real-life issues that touch people in their own lives.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? If you want to write fiction, listen to your muse, and let your characters lead you in developing your story.  Also, ground your work in research.

Please add questions and the answers to any questions that you believe your readers would like to know.  Sometimes people ask me why I write fiction. I answer that fiction gives me the freedom to reflect truth in ways that will be seen more clearly and easily remembered.  When asked if my fiction masks actual people and situations in my experience, I reply that I do write from a reservoir of life experiences that feed my imagination and provide a vehicle for telling a story, but story is not about real people or situations.  If it resonates as real, that’s good.  I have succeeded.

Author Hugh Harris’ Published Books
Fiction: The Dinkel Series:
A Change of Heart (The Dinkle Island Series Book 1)
Return of Bliss (The Dinkel Island Series Book 2)
Secrets at Lighthouse Point (The Dinkel Island Series Book 3)

Nonfiction:
NPH: Journey Into Dementia and Out Again

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Featured Book One:
Secrets at Lighthouse Point (The Dinkle Island Series Book 3)
by Hugh Harris

Marty lay back on his pillow and stared at the ceiling. “It’s sort of like Lighthouse Point is loaded with deep, dark secrets.”

He and Gracie lay together in silence, and presently he sat up. “I know God’s light is brighter and stronger than all the dark secrets put together. We’re on the right track, hon. With God’s help, we’ll make it. We have to hang on with absolute trust.”

Sometimes even your best intentions are tested by things you can’t control. Just when Gracie Love and Marty need a break from the gospel music circuit, Fanny Grayson calls with a challenge that takes them back to Dinkel Island. Fanny needs help launching a spiritual retreat center on the old lighthouse property that she has purchased.

Gracie soon finds herself in the center of gossip as volatile as a thunderstorm’s damaging winds. The seller tries to back out of closing. Secret activities at the lighthouse begin to be exposed. Gracie and Marty question their commitment, and Pastor Kate Sheppard helps them stay on course.

A crime syndicate surfaces when a local businessman suddenly disappears. Will the secrets ever end?

Secrets at Lighthouse Point is a story of intrigue, challenge, and the ultimate triumph of faith, centered in Matthew 5:15: “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Cold Coffee Press Book Review for Secrets at Lighthouse Point by Hugh Harris

Secrets are always intriguing. We all love finding maps that point to buried treasure, discovering a rare find in our grandmother’s attic, finding the perfect sea shell on the beach, a nugget of gold or a rare gem on a camping trip, an Indian arrow head in the back yard of the property we just purchased, but what if the secret exposes a criminal element that threatens property and lives?

The Secrets at Lighthouse point begins as “Gracie and Marty parked at the shed beside the lighthouse and walked up through the field toward the woods that framed the area. Gracie shaded her eyes against the sun’s brightness as a warm southerly breeze gently ruffled her hair. She became totally focused on the old weathered structure, almost as though it were a living thing, and she wanted to take its pulse and tap into its soul. Swirling gulls screamed to one another out past the promontory on which it stood. Though she couldn’t see the water from where she was, she knew the high-bluffed, forested parcel was visible from the entrance to Tranquility Bay.”

While rumors spread throughout the small community about the upcoming sale of Lighthouse landmark and surrounding property, Gracie makes plans to take her own miraculous healing journey and turn the darkness that invades this property into hallowed ground where people can come and experience healing for themselves.

What barriers both earthly and spiritual, past and present challenge a ministry that will shed light into darkness?

How does faith of a few bring light into the dark secrets that have lay buried in this land for decades and how does God’s purpose expose the evil and bring about restoration to the land, community, peoples’ lives and future visitors?

How can an old decaying lighthouse that showed the way to weary travelers who happened upon her shores for decades be transformed into a lamp-stand for God healing for all mankind?

Read Author Hugh Harris’ remarks at the end of this fictional story where he sheds light on some dark realities in America today.

Cold Coffee Press Endorses Secrets at Lighthouse Point by Hugh Harris a fictional inspirational story which runs parallel to some very real problems facing America today. We reviewed this book in a Kindle/PDF format. This review was completed on November 29, 2015. For more information please visit http://www.coldcoffeepress.com

Genre: Christian, General, Cultural Heritage, Religion & Spirituality, Religion Fiction

Amazon Customer Reviews
Amazon Hard Cover Print Purchase Link
Amazon Soft Cover Print Purchase Link
Kindle Purchase Link

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Featured Book Two:
Return of Bliss (The Dinkel Island Series Book 2)
by Hugh Harris

'Whoa,' Stan said, laughing, 'I don't think you got a fish at all. I'll bet that's an old tire somebody tossed in there.'

Within minutes they found out Stan was partially right. It wasn't a tire, but a muddy, seaweed-laden bag of some sort. Stan got the grappling hook and they pulled it up into the boat. It was an old backpack, and it was a mess.

Dinkel Island artist Stan Grayson struggles with lingering grief after his wife's untimely death. While fishing, he and his friend Ed Heygood find a water-logged backpack containing a large amount of money. This stirs reactions in town.

An investigation uncovers an abduction that happened twenty-two years earlier and has implications for Kate Sheppard, pastor of the Dinkel Island Wesleyan Brethren Church. An explosion and robbery bring added stress.

A visiting gospel music group provides a key to unlock the mysteries of both the abduction and the money.

Ultimately, faith and mutual support open doors to the resolution of grief and a return of bliss for Stan, Ed, Kate and others. Return of Bliss is a story of unfolding hope and joy built around Psalm 30:5, 'Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.'

Genre: Christian, General, Cultural Heritage, Religion & Spirituality, Religion Fiction

Amazon Author’s Page
Amazon Customer Reviews
Amazon Print Purchase Link
Kindle Purchase Link

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Featured Book Three:
A Change of Heart (The Dinkle Island Series Book 1)
by Hugh Harris

As Pastor Ed Heygood arrives at Dinkel Island's Wesleyan Brethren Church, he is greeted by two people who reflect the nature of his new charge.

Threading his way through initial challenges, he discovers a group who try to run things from behind the scenes, and an antagonist emerges to challenge him.

He plans a spectacular program featuring a parachute preacher that sets off both opposition and growth.

Then one man's miraculous change of heart puts fresh hope and redemptive possibilities to work with surprising results.

A Change of Heart is about redemption and hope set in a small coastal Virginia town.

Genre: Christian, General, Cultural Heritage, Religion & Spirituality, Religion Fiction

Except
Amazon Customer Reviews

Amazon Print Purchase Link
Kindle Purchase Link

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Featured Book Four:
NPH: Journey Into Dementia and Out Again
by Sharon French Harris With Hugh Harris

Do you or a loved one struggle with loss of balance or difficulty walking?

Are you experiencing a loss of memory and cognitive ability?

Do you suffer from urinary incontinence?

These are the three leading symptoms of a condition known as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). In NPH: Journey into Dementia and Out Again, author Sharon French Harris and her husband, Hugh, tell the story of her experience with this condition, and her recovery from its debilitating effects.

Hugh chronicles the various stages of the journey, while Sharon tells what it was like to experience them.

In a time when we hear much about dementia, Sharon’s story of recovery is refreshing.

Once you’ve read NPH: Journey Into Dementia and Out Again, you will want to spread this hope to anyone who is suffering from the symptoms discussed here.

Genre: Self-Help, Health, General, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), Non-fiction, Health, Diet and Fitness

Amazon Customer Reviews
Amazon Print Purchase Link
Kindle Purchase Link

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At 3:41pm on July 6, 2015, Dutch Rhudy said…

Hi Hugh

Welcome to Cold Coffee Cafe.

VTY
Dutch

At 3:15pm on July 6, 2015, Cold Coffee Cafe said…

Welcome to Cold Coffee Café Where Authors Showcase Books And Avid Readers Shop! Ask us about our book review program.

Profile Information

Are You A Published Author?
Yes
How Many Published Books Do You Have?
4
Please Provide One Published Book Title
Return of Bliss - The Dinkel Island Series 2
Amazon Book Purchase Link
www.amazon.com/Return-Bliss-Dinkel-Island-Harris/dp/162994291X
What Genre Is This Book?
Fiction General
Author's Website Link
http://hughharris.tateauthor.com
Author's Blog Link
NA
Face Book Link
www.facebook.com/HughHarris,Novelist
Twitter Link
twitter.com/DISauthor
Google Plus Link
NA
 
 
 

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