Denise Harris

Denise Harris

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
October 24, 2005

Q.    Who is Denise Michelle Harris?

A.   Its hard to answer that because, I think Denise Michelle Harris is a writer, a friend, a lover of Jesus, a lover, a people person, an introvert, a mother, a woman who is growing more and more comfortable in the skin that she is in everyday, and so much more.

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write the novel SWEET BYE-BYE?

A.   Well, it started with the general idea that there is a better way to live. I was working in corporate America and I saw everyone hustling and bustling about, trying to be a success (myself included!). And everyone just looked stressed out to me. I'd just recently renewed my relationship with God, and I remember thinking, 'you know, mindset is everything, there is a better way to go about this thing called life'.

Q.    How did you come about the title?

A.   The title came from my publisher. Sweet Bye Bye was not the original title for the book. The book has serious messages within it, but basically it's a fun and light read. So my publisher came up with Sweet Bye Bye because she thought it sounded fun and contemporary. She was right. The title that I'd thought of was very stern and very serious.

Q.    How did you come about Chantellís characters?

A.   Chantell is a mixture of a lot of people that I know, or have met (okay, myself included!). She is very cool, she is very "right now". She has great clothes, her hair is done, and honey, her man is fine. She is the total package, or so it seems!

Q.    How did you come about the idea surrounding Zarina and Charlotte?

A.   Wow, great question. It was just matter of putting all of the elements together. I knew that Chantell's mother, Zarina had passed away when Chantell was a little girl. I also knew that her father had remarried, and that I needed to put Chantell at odds with someone. Charlotte just seemed like a natural fit. It's amazing when you are writing, how things just start to pull themselves together. Zarina's part fit into the story well because I wanted Chantell to idolize someone, and for the readers to get to know them at the same time. Doing all of this and making sure that nobody is perfect is a huge task, but somehow it all tied together.

Q.    How did you come about Ericís character?

A.   LOL! I think that everyone knows an Eric. Don't they? That is all that I'm going to say about that! :)

Q.    How did you come about the idea surrounding Tia and Chantell?

A.   I wanted to give Chantell a girlfriend that she could talk to, and who could talk to her about life and issues. But I didn't want either of them to come off as perfect. I wanted Tia to be a person that Chantell could talk to. And I wanted her to have some wisdom, but I didn't want her to be right about everything either, that's is not realistic.

Q.    How long have you been writing?

A.   I have been writing for a very long time, mostly poetry, or essays. I write to express myself, to learn what I think about things.

Q.    How long did it take you to write SWEET BYE-BYE?

A. It took six months to write the story and about a year and a half of rewrites and editing.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from Chantellís character?

A.   Overall, I think that we are here to learn and make mistakes and grow. And that God is always there for us.

This has been a lot of fun! If folks would like to contact me they can do so at my website at I'm there everyday.

Also, please look out for my new novel, the sequel to Sweet Bye Bye, toward the end of next year.

All the best!
Denise Michelle Harris