Write side... with former actress Lisa Harding
Former actress Lisa Harding on her sex trafficking novel, making a living as a writer, and her love for Winnie the Pooh.
What gave you the idea for Harvesting, your novel about sex trafficking?
In 2012, I was acting in Fair City. I helped out with a campaign against sex trafficking for the Children's Rights Alliance. At an event, I was asked to read first-hand accounts of underage girls who were trafficked to Ireland.
So why did you develop that into a novel?
It shocked me that sex trafficking could happen in Ireland. The stories got under my skin.
Was it hard to get the book published?
There were eight rejections. Irish publishers were more open to it than in the UK. New Island, who published it, are brilliant and believe in taking risks.
How does your acting training affect your approach to writing?
I was trained to improvise as an actress, and that's what I do when I am writing. I develop the story as I go along.
Why did you switch from acting to writing?
I was always concerned about how well work was written. When you're performing classics you adore the work, but there is a lot of work where you feel the lines are not authentic. I realised that I get more joy from writing.
If you weren't a writer or an actress, what would you be?
What are your favourite books?
When I was very young, my first love was Winnie the Pooh. I loved Eeyore because he was always depressed. Now I am obsessed with Tim Winton and his novel Cloudstreet.
Is it hard for an Irish writer to make a living?
It's not easy, but it still feels like a privilege. I do a number of different jobs. I do voice-overs for ads and I teach.
Lisa Harding's Harvesting has been nominated for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year