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Monday, September 10, 2012

Interview with Annie Laurie Harris Author of It's Easier to Dance


About the Author:

Annie Laurie Harris, the oldest one of her ethnicity who lives independently, was born with cerebral palsy. She has defied the odds and challenged the medical prognosis since early childhood. She continues to live a full and active life in her 6th decade. After achieving her Master's Degree at Penn State University in 1985 she worked as a counselor and advocate for those with a history of chemical dependency. In 1990, she was recruited by the prestigious World Institute of Disability to be the Assistant Director of the first HIV/Disability Project. Her grant writing expertise is second to none as private foundations funded her innovative research projects again and again. Since returning to her home state of PA where she lives near her beloved alma mater, Ms. Harris continues to be involved in her community and avidly supports the Penn State athletic program. Once again, her love of writing helps to supplement her income. Her groundbreaking memoirs, It's Easier to Dance, is provocative and thought provoking.
 Interview Questions….

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?  I had written poetry since my teenage years. In college and graduate school, I enjoyed writing. When I realized about 15 years ago that there wasn’t anything written by or about an African American with cerebral palsy, I decided to write my memoir.
  2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I actually believed during my childhood that a book would someday be written about my life. In my early 40s, I realized that it would have to be written by me!
  3. What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write? I write non-fiction dealing with a variety of disability especially as it relates to multicultural communities. A large part of my desire to publish is so I can make a contribution to programs, organizations and research. To this end, 50% of all proceeds will be donated to those who devote their careers to this area.
  4. Where did the inspiration for your book come from? I wanted to give a t least one real life example of an African American woman’s life who continues to live successfully with this complex, socially stigmatized birth defect. I wanted others to know that a full , rich life IS possible if YOU decide that’s how it will be!
  5. How long did it take you to put the story together? It actually took several years to put the story together.
  6. Can you share a little about your book with us?  Because my book. It’s Easier to Dance is a memoir, I wrote it in a conversational style that allows the reader to travel through history with the main character, myself. Here is an example: “Academics proved to be not much of a challenge, even at the main campus. Mostly I enjoyed the interaction and opportunity to learn and socialize with other people. I carried around a piece of carbon paper and asked whoever was sitting beside me to put the carbon paper in their notebook. That’s how I got my class notes. My having nearly a photographic memory made it easy for me to pass mid-term and final exams. Everybody at the branch campus thought it would be academically more difficult at the main campus, but I soon began to receive honorary academic awards. “
  7. Who is your favorite character in your book and why? My favorite character is my mother. It is to her, Louise L. Harris, that I owe my life!
  8. Now that your book is getting ready to hit the stores describe how you feel in one sentence? I am absolutely AMAZED and excited about the possibility of wide exposure.
  9. What has surprised you the most about the whole processes of getting your book on the market? That so many people have been extravagant in their support of me and this project. Would you like to share what the reviewers are saying about your book? Most reviews are positive. Here is one I received:
“If a memoir is a window into some one’s life, then clearly, there are many windows we never see inside of. This leaves us to make assumptions about who lives in the house we call the human body. It’s Easier to Dance is the story of Annie Laurie Harris, an African American woman born with cerebral palsy. Every chapter is an interesting and compelling story that begins with the circumstances of her birth in the late-1940s. She traversed challenging terrain before the advent of the civil rights movement, the feminist movement and the Americans with Disabilities Act as we know it. As she tells her own story, she also reveals the unfolding evolution of social awareness over six decades into the 21st century. “
Amy Freeman, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Engineering Diversity
The Pennsylvania State University


  1. How many books have you written?   It’s Easier to Dance is my first book
  2. What are you working on next? I’ve recently started researching in preparation to write a book about the 14 years I spent practicing yoga.
  3. What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing? Anything out doors! I’m an avid college football & basketball fan! I swim, regularly exercise and travel to the ocean whenever I can. I’m also a great fan of the theater.
  4. How can readers contact you? My web site www.annielaurieharris.com is the best way for readers to contact me.
People can email me from my web site listed above!

  1. When does your book go on sale and where can we buy it?
It’s Easier to Dance is now available on Amazon: It's Easier to Dance. It is available in print by donating on my website www.annielaurieharris.com I sign the book and cover postage and handling. 50% of all funds will be donated to support care and research for cerebral palsy.


Book Trailer for It's Easier to Dance

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