A Taste For Red
Lewis Harris is the author of the recently published A Taste for Red. A Taste for Red is about sixth-grader, Svetlana Grimm, who suffers from a vampire complex and discovers that she has a telepathic link to her enigmatic teacher, Ms. Larch. Mr. Harris is also a man of many mysertious talents. Lewis is not only a fascintaing storyteller but his own biography reads like a travelogue, detailing his hike across the Appalachian Trail, reverie in the French Quarter and his own circle around the Artic. He recently took the time to offer advice and explain his own take on vampires, invisibility and hitchhiking across the tundra.
What are your influences?
The first real book I remember reading was an autobiography of Louisa May Alcott. Yeah…a little weird for a boy, but I soon straightened out. Before I knew it I was up to my elbows in Famous Monsters, Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard and comics like Swamp Thing, Werewolf by Night, and Weird War Tales. I’ve always been a big fan of Pulp and always will be. I was also lucky enough to start my independent reading career right around the time that Stephen King was getting his foot in the door. When I was a kid I didn’t dream of being an astronaut or President of the United States–I wanted to be Mr. King.
What was it like for you growing up in Middle School?
I had hordes of teachers and classmates, but I only remember a handful. My recollection is a black hole when it comes to memories of school. My dad was military and we were constantly on the move. We lived in Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, Georgia, England, Louisiana, California, and Florida. In Florida alone I attended five different schools. That kind of nomadic life makes for a fairly shy kid, at least it did in my case. But it also builds a voracious reader. I’m no longer shy–the opposite, in fact. I had a terrific childhood beyond school life, lots of bicycle and fishing adventures, but school was a deep freeze. I studied my desktop and concentrated on perfecting powers of invisibility.
What was one of your strangest experiences?
I was hitch-hiking to the Beaufort Sea and scored a ride from a madman. It’s hard to be both a hitchhiker and a backseat driver. I tried, but failed. Captain Leadfoot lost control around mile 177 along the Dalton Highway. The vehicle tumbled across the tundra, rolling like a die. We emerged from the wreck, unhurt, into a cloud of dust and mosquitoes. I’m certain others have walked away from car wrecks above the Arctic Circle, but I bet it’s a small club.
Lewis’ advice to newbie authors:
Write things you LOVE to write, read all the time, listen to informed feedback when you’re lucky enough to get it, set reasonable goals, and keep at it until you reach them. And if you have a day job, quit. Even if you don’t want to be a writer, quit your day job. Work is silly. To read more, please visit Lewis’ blog.