Lisa Lovatt-Smith is the author of Who Knows Tomorrow. She began her career at the age of 18 as an intern for Bristish Vogue. In 2002, after a long career in fashion, Lisa left everything behind and founded OAfrica. Today she lives in Ghana with her family.
What led up to the moment where you quit your former life?
It was a combination of things. In the summer of 2002 I travelled to Ghana with my adopted daughter Sabrina to volunteer at an orphanage. The experience transformed me. The orphanage was so bad, the children were beaten and without food, and the place was filthy. The sheer awfulness of the whole thing moved me and I knew I had the resources to do something. I thought I could make a difference.
What was your inspiration for writing Who Knows Tomorrow?
I met a woman, Bonnie Lieberman, who broke the glass ceiling, she blazed her way to the top. She told me this was a story that had to be told.
What is the message you would like the reader to take away after reading Who Knows Tomorrow?
There are two messages. First the fact that anyone can make a difference. With a willingness to listen and learn, and ability to put a team together, one person can change things. The second is that if you give a child love they can’t fail and that the words we say are so powerful. Using encouraging words is so important.
What was the toughest part of the writing process?
I was distraught an upset during much of the time I wrote, the writing brought back all the horror I had witnessed.
What “advice” would you give other mother writers?
I sat down with my kids and explained I was writing a book, and I was going to be very busy, and it would impact their lives because they were going to be in it. I wanted them to feel a part of it, which they are. Then I made a timetable and in the morning I wrote, then again after dinner – for six months there was no after dinner play. Also, writers have to realize that there will be unexpected interruptions to the process. My daughter gave birth and I took a week off, it happens.
Thirty percent of author proceeds are being donated to support OAfrica.