KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
March 7, 2020
By Pat Baldwin
Katy-based author Sara Harris will sign her latest Amish romance, “Rebekah’s Quilt,” from 6:30 - 8 p.m. March 13 at Katy Budget Books on South Mason Road. Attendees also can expect a reading, a Q&A session, a variety of door prizes – and stories, lots of stories.
Harris, 37, is a prolific storyteller, the writer of several book genres, a parent, a wife, a conservationist, a teacher, a cancer survivor and an overall aficionado of life. She juggles numerous author appearances and blogging with publishing commitments and family life.
Earlier in February, Harris facilitated a Flash Fiction Contest (a story in 150 or fewer words) in her son’s seventh grade English/Language Arts and Reading class at McMeans Junior High School. She’s also fielding interest from Netflix for the production of her paranormal thriller, “House of Madness.”
“It’s been a fun life so far and is only getting better,” Harris says.
A Road Less Traveled
That life began in West Texas where Harris recalls writing her first story in third grade. In the sixth grade, when Harris had her tonsils removed, her parents gave her Larry McMurtry’s novel “Lonesome Dove,” which proved influential in good times and bad.
As a teen, she developed an admiration for the wilderness that kept her on the move during her summers with the Student Conservation Association. Harris has piloted small aircraft, counted bats, tracked mountain lions, relocated rattlesnakes, hiked with black bears, among other “roads less traveled.”
A degree in history from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa fueled her interest in historical fiction. And when she lived in a reputedly haunted house in Big Spring, she turned her writing toward the paranormal.
Harris met her husband, Wesley, when he became her neighbor and plumber in West Texas. With the designation of Registered Master Plumber, he was ready to transform a couple of decades of family business experience into his own enterprise. That aspiration meshed with her decision to move to the Houston area where she had traveled for cancer treatments.
In 2018, the two married and moved their blended family of six children (now aged seven to 15), three dogs and two cats to Katy. In her spare time, Harris helps her husband run his plumbing company. She contends he rivals romance novel heroes.
Approaching the Romance Genre
“Rebekah’s Quilt” is the first novel of a four-book series entitled “Rebekah’s Keepsakes” from Vinspire Publishing.
On various book websites, readers have reviewed Harris’ approach to romance as “gentle” and “sweet.” Harris explains she wants to establish an “emotional relationship between readers and characters. When characters sweat, I want readers to sweat.”
She allows that her books have emotionally “intense” scenes, but distinguishes those from the explicit, sexual scenes of the “erotic” romance genre.
She equates “falling in love” with “falling in love with somebody’s soul.”
Harris adds, “I preach that in my own household. If you’re going for something on the outside, you’re going to be disappointed.”
Research is where “I really thrive,” Harris says.
Her historical Amish novels evolved from her personal research on Ancestry.com. She believed a branch of her father’s family was from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the heart of the Amish community.
“At least, I thought so at the time,” Harris says with a laugh. “My family turned out to be Jews from Austria.”
Still, Harris had been romanced by the idea of creating historical Amish characters. The prologue of “Rebekah’s Quilt” recounts the 1886 journey of Austrian Amish families who traveled from Canada to Daviess County, Indiana.
“The migration route is real,” Harris says. “Maybe these people stepped out of fiction, but what happened is real.”
She also notes that each of her books, even in the paranormal genre, has an inspirational twist.
“God shines through all of my work,” Harris says.
New World of Publishing
Harris started publishing books in 2009. Her successes have been aided by the continuing melding of independent self-publishers and traditional publishers.
Like indie films or music, the content creator of indie publishing owns the product. Harris’ more than two dozen books have been published by both independent and traditional publishers. She is represented by an author’s agent.
“Publishing is evolving, more every day,” she says. The separations are “finally starting to meld together.”
Harris’ publication list has grown to include Civil War romance, Amish romance, Amish adventure, anthology pieces, Christian western, young adult and children’s books and more.
One of Harris’ publishers, WordCrafts Press, donates partial proceeds from book sales to charity, as follows: “House of Madness” for the CAPS Animal Shelter; “Katie's Plain Regret” for St. Christopher Catholic School; and “As it Pleases the King” for the Student Conservation Association.
For more information about the author and her books, visit Harris’ website here.