Monday, May 13, 2013

Christine Lindsay -- An Interview

The Writer – Christine Lindsay

Q:  What schooling, travel, training, personal experiences, or other formative parts of your background led you to write?

Traveling to and living in different countries in the world is always the best education. Born in Northern Ireland, I immigrated to Canada with my parents when I was five. I have lived in various places across Canada since. It has been wonderful to travel back to Ireland on a number of occasions, and I’ve been to India on a mission trip. My children have been to various parts of the world on mission trips. This has given me a fairly wide global view, and this inspires me to write about these awesome places.

My British background has given me an interest in British history. In my opinion England’s rule over Colonial India, called the British Raj, is as fascinating an era as the Wild West is to the Americas.

Q:  Tell your readers a little bit of your faith story.

My father, sadly, was an alcoholic all his life, abusive to my mother, and neglectful of us kids. My mother raised us on her own. My childhood and my mother’s experiences have been excellent fodder for my novels. In Shadowed in Silk, the heroine is a nice woman married to a brute of a drunk. Life is not easy for a lot of people, and I write novels that I pray will give hope to the hopeless.

When I became a young adult, I got pregnant out of wedlock, and for the sake of my child, I relinquished my baby to adoption. Giving up my baby changed me in so many ways. To understand the full picture of my sense of loss, one needs to read my blog, "Story Behind the Covers ."

I see myself in my characters.  In Shadowed in Silk, my Muslim character, Tikah, feels my sense of empty-womb I felt after I gave up my child. In my second book Captured by Moonlight my character, Laine, feels the loneliness of going-on-thirty-and-not-married-yet. My character, Eshana, battles with the same spiritual lessons I am learning — dying to my own ambitions and plans, and yielding to Christ’s plans for my life.

Q:  How is God working in your life today?

The Lord has swept me off my feet these past few years with the joy of my writing ministry. This has also developed into a speaking ministry. Seeing lives touched by my stories (verbal or written) and those lives taking steps in faith with Christ means far more to me than the number of books I may sell.

Q:  Where can readers find more about you and your books?

Please drop by my website and my blog www.christinelindsay.orgwhere I have guest bloggers share on “Monday’s Inspirations,” Wednesday is “Addiction Recovery Miracles, “and Fridays are “Adoption Stories.” You can find my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and a number of other sites, but for sure in those places, in both paperback and E-book formats.

The Process

Q:  How do you use imagery in your writing?

I enjoy painting and drawing, and love well-written description. I want to feel as though I am in the scene when I read. One of my writing professors once said that I was a very sensual writer, so imagery and using my five senses is important to my writing.

Q:  Do you plot your story or create an outline before you begin writing?

I do best by working out the kinks in the plot before I start writing. At the same time, I’m always open to change. Such as when a character starts blooming before my eyes, and he or she insists on doing something unexpected. This happened for me when Laine finds the gumption to slip in, and empty a bag of snakes into a room, so she can rescue a young girl from the sex trade in India.

Q:  Do you ever use flashbacks? Why or Why not?

Personally, I do not like reading flashbacks, so I try to use them as little as possible. I prefer to do flashbacks in little installments of inner dialogue, and not in large chunks of writing. I always prefer to keep the reader in the present tense.

Q:  How do you keep God involved in your writing process?

If God were not part of the writing process, I would not even know where to begin. I cannot be part of the process unless I pray and ask God for His help.

Q:  What research did you do for this book? How much did you do before you began writing? Did anything come up in the course of writing that sent you back to research some more?

I grew up on fabulous, big, thick blockbuster novels by M. M. Kaye. She wrote adventure-romance epics set in exotic Colonial India. I try to follow in her footsteps but from a Christian point of view. Still, I had to do an enormous amount of research. After writing my debut novel Shadowed in Silk, I sent it to a lady PhD in India to check the novel for cultural and historical accuracy. She expressed amazement I had never been to India (at that time). Just goes to show what good research, and the good-old library can do.

The Books – Shadowed in Silk; Captured by Moonlight

Shadowed in Silk (Twilight of the British Raj, # 1)Q:  How many stars (1-5) would you give your books? Why?

I would give my two books 5 stars because that is what other readers are giving them. I am not confident enough to give that kind of rating to my work, unless others feel my books deserve it. Plus, I write for a traditional royalty-paying publisher that I highly respect. Roseanna White is not only my publisher but also a writer with a quickly growing readership. If she says this is a fantastic book, then I take her word for it. However, it still boils down to what readers say.

SHADOWED IN SILK, WhiteFire Publishing, Gold winner of  the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical, Winner of the 2011 Grace Award, finalist in the Readers Favorite 2012 and Book One of the series, Twilight of the British Raj.

Q:   Which part of the book was your favorite to write?

I love the romance scenes in both Shadowed in Silk and Captured by Moonlight. In Shadowed in Silk, there is a scene I call "the kiss that never happened." When Geoff is teaching Abby how to shoot a rifle, everything in Abby’s point of view is the desire for Geoff’s kiss, but it cannot take place. I love the yearning in that. I also enjoyed writing the passionate-kissing scene on the beach in Captured by Moonlight. However, I also love writing death scenes. The dying of Miriam in Shadowed in Silk still makes me cry. I also love animals, and there is always a significant animal pulling on my emotions in my novels.

Q:  What did these books teach you?

One day during my devotions, I was praying. Suddenly I remembered what my fictional character, Eshana, learned in Captured by Moonlight. God reminded me I must die to myself, let Him live His life through me and, the Lord's plan will be far more wonderful than anything I could devise.

Q:  What can you tell us about your next writing project?

Book 3 of my series the Twilight of the British Raj will be Veiled at Midnight. This last book in the series will follow up with the characters from the first two books. The main character in Veiled at Midnight will be the grown Cam Fraser who was only a child in Book 1. The female lead will be Dassah, the child born in Book 1. The Partition of India was a terrible and turbulent time for India. Veiled at Midnight is set during this time when India is split into two countries, India and newly created Pakistan. Not only will India be partitioned, but Cam and Dassah will be split, too. Veiled at Midnight will feature Cam’s grown sister Miri, who was a baby in Book 2. Miri will also find adventure and an unexpected love.

Veiled at Midnight will be released by WhiteFire Publishing in February 2014.

Q:  Where can readers find more about you and your books?

Please drop by my website and my blog where I have guest bloggers share on “Monday’s Inspirations,” Wednesday is “Addiction Recovery Miracles,” and Fridays are “Adoption Stories.” One can find my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and a number of other sites, but for sure in those places, in both paper and digital format. (See below for links.)

Christine would love it if you dropped by her Facebook Author page. Be sure to “Like” it while you are there.

Follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

FEATURED BOOK---Captured by Moonlight
Captured by Moonlight (Twilight of the British Raj, #2)
(Back of the Book)

Prisoners to their own broken dreams…

After a daring rescue goes awry, Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana flee to the tropical south of India … and headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover her former fiancĂ© is the owner … but fun-loving Laine refuses to let Adam crush her heart again.

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts freedom will ever be hers again, much less the forbidden love for Dr. Jai Kaur that had begun to flower.

Amid cyclones, epidemics, and clashing faiths, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

About Christine Lindsay

Irish-born Christine Lindsay writes award-winning historical novels. In both Shadowed in Silk and Captured by Moonlight, Christine delights in weaving the endless theme of the Heavenly Father’s redemptive love through stories of danger, suspense, adventure, and romance. The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Dance by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

Cover Art
Walsh, Dan and Gary Smalley. The Dance (The Restoration Series #1) Grand Rapids: Revell, 2013.

ISBN 978-0-8007-2148-0 (pbk)

Marilyn Anderson leaves her husband after twenty-seven years of Christian marriage. She moves from her large beautiful home in an immaculate residential area of River Oaks. Marilyn now lives in a small two-bedroom apartment with a new friend. She has taken a job in a small specialty gift shop in the quaint downtown area. She feels freedom and is happier than she has been since she and Jim have begun to experience an empty nest.

For the first time in their married life, her husband, Jim, comes home from work to find no dinner waiting, no wife to greet him, and no clue there was ever a problem. Jim calls their high-school son Doug, and then their married son Tom. Neither son has any idea where his mother is nor that anything is wrong. Even his daughter Michele, who is to be married in a month, will tell him anything more than there is a note from her mother on his dresser. 

What is Marilyn's problem? She has never had to work. She has a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood. Her husband is prosperous enough to provide all that and more. All he has ever asked is that meals be served on time, she accompany him to an upscale church where he can make business connections, provide parties for his clients... He is clueless.

Marilyn meets with her daughter to discuss the wedding guest list over lunch. Marilyn shows Michele a gift she has bought just for herself. They meet Audrey Windsor who admires Marilyn’s new music box with a dancer on the top. Audrey extends a business card with an invitation to stop by her  dance studio and to sign up for a dance class. One more thing Marilyn never thought she would do. Marilyn realizes her unhappiness may have started when Jim refused to dance with her on their wedding night. 

The dance becomes the metaphor. Both Jim and Marilyn need to waltz with one another in such away  that they create a place of safety for one another. Each of them always must treat their relationship as partners in a dance that overcomes each of their core fears.

How will God heal Jim’s and Marilyn’s broken lives? Whom will God choose to help mend Marilyn’s shattered dreams? Is their family broken beyond repair? Where did the love in Jim and Marilyn’s marriage go? Can it be renewed, or does that only happen in a new relationship like Michele and Allan’s.

Dan WalshOnce again Dan Walsh creates a tender romance in which God sets in motion a plan to redeem lives and restore hearts. Walsh’s newest novel The Dance introduces The Restoration Series. The Dance is based largely on Gary Smalley’s best-selling book on marriage relationships, The DNA of Relationships (Smalley Franchise Products), by Gary Smalley, Greg Smalley, Michael Smalley and Robert S. Paul (Sep 1, 2007).

Gary SmalleyReaders will be looking forward to other books in this series by two godly men who believe and live God’s plans for their marriages in spite of themselves, and share them with each other and with us, as pastors, counselors, and gifted writers.

I thank the authors and Revell Publishing for providing a free copy of this book for my unbiased opinion.

5 stars

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bound Together : How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by Chris Brauns

Chris Brauns. Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Brauns’ goal is to persuade readers of Bound Together  “to investigate carefully the reality that we are deeply connected to one another… and that the decisions of one person affect the future of other persons, as though they are figuratively roped together…. We must think more like Christians and less like Americans.”

Bound Together explores the “truth that is fundamental to all joy, however dark it may seem at the beginning. Without the truth that we are bout together, there is no joy…. Our lives, choices, and actions are linked to the lives, choices, and action of other people.”

This is the solidarity seen often in the Bible.  In the great flood,  God destroyed all the people on the earth except the family of Noah. That “everyone” included infants and children. Young children died in the flood because they were “roped together with their parents and their culture.” God was not dealing with individuals; he was “treating them as people corporately accountable to him.”

The ultimate negative example of the principle of the rope, the simple fact that we are not strictly autonomous, but bound together in our choices is the Doctrine of Original Sin.

Brauns builds his case one story and one mandate at a time, showing that we as human beings are corporately bound with Adam and Eve as they are sent from the garden. The rope may chafe and be uncomfortable, but it is only possible to partake in solidarity with Christ, to receive salvation we must be bound to Him. Braun builds his case one story, one example at a time, leading his readers to the cusp of the biblical command to be joyful. Joy that can only come when we are bound by the principle of the rope in solidarity with Christ.

Accessible to any reader, the unpacking of the doctrines of Original Sin and Union with Christ, helps us understand how we are bound together not only to scripture, but to the failings of our own families. It brings the reader to an understanding that the “individualism” of our culture is contrary to biblical truth that every choice we make can affect others.

Image of Chris BraunsWhen all is said and done, our salvation through Christ is stronger than our condemnation with Adam.

Brauns is the pastor at the Red Brick Congregational Church of Stillman Valley, IL. He leans strongly to the Calvinist reformed tradition in the books and articles included in his end notes and choices for further reading.

I thank Zondervan and Cross Focused Reviews for providing a free copy for my unbiased review.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Help, Thanks, Wow : The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the best-selling author of Some Assembly Required, Grace (Eventually), Plan B and Traveling Mercies.
Anne Lamott

Lamotte, Ann. Help, Thanks, Wow : The Three Essential Prayers. New York: Riverhead Books a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 11/13/12.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-59463-129-0, 102 pages.  $17.95.
Digital ASIN: B008EKMBDM, (from ISBN: 1594631298, 113 pages) 386 KB. $14.95
Audiobook. $11.95
Genre: Christian Living
Tags: Spirituality, Prayer
      Lamott encourages her readers to “not get bogged down on whom or what we pray to.” Rather one should identify prayer as communication from our hearts to “something unimaginably huge and not us.” Her slightly irreverent humor allows one to experience the distillation of anything one says “to the amazing energy of love we are sometimes bold enough to believe in” regardless of the name we attach.

            In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott has identified the content and context of prayer that asks for assistance, that appreciates the good we witness, and that expresses one’s awe at the world. These are the words that get us through the day, and show us the way forward. Through anecdotes and stories she puts skin on those times one can be in motion, and stillness, and energy – all at the same time. All three prayers are the beginnings of a conversation with God about anything – barely, honestly, bitterly, insanely or brokenly – “probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.”

            Whether a beginner or veteran user of the spiritual discipline of prayer, Lamott, once again leads us to breathe, to slow down, to pay attention so no opportunity to love and help God’s children, including learning “to love our depressing, hilarious, mostly decent selves.” 

To Order
            The simplicity of theses three prayers opens the complexity of our lives, our relationships, and our world into our messiest places and our greatest needs. Like flossing one’s teeth prayer must be repeated until it becomes habit, not because we can get our way, or can change God, but so God can change us, so we can “pray constantly between bouts of trying to live life on life’s terms.”
            Although most of the formative pieces of Lamott’s personality, sense of humor, descent into and ascent from addiction, deep spirituality, and intentional writing are mostly caught in the reader’s peripheral vision. This is one book I want to take up space on a shelf, because she speaks to my meaning through her meaning formed by words seemingly strung along, but intentionally placed.