Welcome to our Author Interview series.
Today we're featuring an interview with CiajDiann Harris, author of When I Stepped Out On Faith. Our author interview series provides an opportunity for our readers to get to know our authors on a deeper level and also learn more about the types of books we're publishing.
CiajDiann Harris, a paralegal, former state law enforcement officer and mental health tech, also worked in journalism as a newspaper staff writer. She received her B.B.A. from Tiffin University and attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law before being called into ministry. Born in Lorain, OH, also the hometown of Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winning authors, Toni Morrison and Michael Dirda, Ciaj says, “Seeing the stark similarities to my early years written in their books infused my possibilities with the power of probability. Growing up in the same neighborhood as Morrision, a couple decades after she did, I had many of the same teachers who challenged our minds, encouraged our achievements and were instrumental in shaping our futures.”
Synopsis: When I Stepped Out On Faith
Limbs nearly severed, kidnapping, abduction, gender identity confusion, multiple personality disorder, gunshot wounds, terminal illness, and abuse were triumphed over by the seven women whose stories are chronicled in this book.
What other books are most similar to yours?
I’m sure there are many true story type books out there but these are uniquely the harrowing tales of survival and triumph of these women.
How long did it take you to write your book?
3+ years. But there were many days I didn’t do anything. I’d question if I was supposed to be writing it. And other times I was angry because it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.
List three adjectives that describe your book as a whole:
Intriguing, insightful, powerful.
Who inspires you?
Almost everyone, everything and every situation. Hooray for the blog!
Where do you find your ideas? Does something trigger them? Do you carry around a notebook in case inspiration strikes?
Often my ideas come to me first thing when I wake up. I don’t think it’s anything I was dreaming about because I don’t have many dreams and certainly not many I’d want to write about.
How do you research your books?
For this book, I interviewed the people (women). Some of them also did some writing, which I edited.
What is your writing process?
Coffee, a keyboard and a thought in my head.
Have you written your entire life? Have you always considered yourself a writer?
Yes to both questions. In fact, at the age of 10 I decided to become a writer. I wrote a funny essay titled: “The Blue Pen” about living for the day, in 4th grade, when we received our mail-ordered, plastic, quill-shaped pens: “When the package arrived, my heart sank. Such a small box. This couldn’t be the Concorde of writing implements. The box wasn’t long enough not was it deep enough to contain one for each of the 23 of us. I tried to swallow past the lump in my throat as I watched Miss Miller’s jeweled, freckled hands. Her perfectly manicured nails were painted light pink and they carefully peeled away the brown paper…I held my breath and dared to hope she could feed this hungry multitude from one small box…My blue pen cold started on me and I gingerly touched it to the moist tip of my tongue. Reapplying it to paper, the blue pen took off. Uh, huh, just what I expected. Beautiful penmanship.”
By age 12, Perry Mason was my inspiration for becoming a lawyer, but I’ve come full circle. Life can be like that. We all have a destiny.
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do?
It’s cathartic-just releases a bunch of stuff inside like anger, hostility, joy, happiness, gratitude, love, appreciation, distain, and what the world is always waiting for – my opinion.
If you were told your stories were unbelievable and no written very well, would you continue to write? What would your response be?
If I felt the way I do about my writing, of course, I’d still continue. If I could take writing or leave it-then I might leave it and do something else. My response is another famous quote: “Writing isn’t what I do it’s who I am.”
Where did you grow up? How did your hometown (or other places you have lived) inspire your writing?
I’ll refer back to my bio. I was born in Lorain, OH and lived on the east coast for several years (Hartford, CT). When the literary agent I mentioned earlier asked me where I was born and I told her Lorain, she said, “Oh, Toni Morrison.” My reply was, “Yes, there’s somethin’ in [Lake Erie] the water.” I read Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” when I was in high school and a couple years ago read Michael Dirda’s “An Open Book.” I grew up in the same neighborhood as Toni Morrison a couple decades after her, and Dirda and I attended the same junior high school at the same time. These are Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winners and we had the same teachers – teachers who challenged our minds, encouraged our achievements and were instrumental in shaping our futures.
Why did you decide to publish with Infinity Publishing?
I self-published because I didn’t want to be censored & that’s what mainstream publishers do. And unlike other on-demand publishing companies, Infinity provided affordable, professional services.
You can learn more about CiajDiann Harris and When Stepped Out On Faith here: