I've decided that when I'm asked to feature an author friend and their latest work, I'll post about that on Fridays. This week I'm really excited to be talking with Christine Lindsay, about her debut novel, Shadowed in Silk. I had the opportunity to read this book for endorsement, and I have to tell you, it's awesome! If you love historical fiction, you'll love Shadowed in Silk!
She was invisible to those who should have loved her.
After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.
Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.
Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.
CW: Congratulations on the release of your debut novel Shadowed in Silk - tell us a bit about the book and it's (and your) journey to publication.
CL: Thank you Cathy for having me as a guest. It's been a long journey, and there were many times I thought should give up, that it was a foolish dream. But each time I tried to stop, the Lord did something amazing to spur me on. One year He had me win a scholarship to attend the ACFW conference. The next year He enabled me to win the 2009 Genesis. He keeps on doing things like that. I tried to write Shadowed in Silk in a similar vein as my favorite sweeping romantic novel, Far Pavilions, but from a Christian world view.
CW: I happen to know that you were fortunate enough to be able to travel to India before the book was published. How far into the manuscript were you when you went there, and did it cause some major changes in setting, scenery etc...? Tell us what it was like seeing your chosen setting come alive before your eyes!
CL: The book was already complete, so going to India didn't change anything. I had done a TON of research, and had an Indian woman check SiS for cultural accuracy. But going to India did deepen one scene from my Indian character, Eshana's point of view. I'd heard a true story of a young untouchable (Dalit) girl, who was told that when she believed in Christ she became a child of God. This young girl logically worked it out that if she became a child of God through faith in Christ, then that must make her a princess of God. This understanding was added to the backstory of my former Hindu widow, Eshana who is a vibrant Christian in SiS.
But going to India, and seeing the place that I had studied for so long through books and film was a dream come true--one of the highlights of my life. I would love to go back.
CW: Have you always held an interest in writing historical fiction? Do you think you'll stick with the genre?
CL: I love so many different genres and time periods. For me it's all about a good story with gripping events for my characters to go through. We've all had tough times in our life, so characters in a book must suffer danger and heartache to find happiness at the end. I want this good feeling when I close a book. I would be equally happy writing contemporary Christian romance. But like you have done, Cathy, in your Yesterday's Tomorrow, I like to see my Christian characters in realistic struggles. As long as the characters learn that all must be surrendered to Christ eventually, then I'm willing to walk with them through the valleys brought about by their poor choices.
CW: What is the main takeaway you hope readers will gain from Shadowed in Silk?
CL: I'd like readers of SiS to learn that no matter what is going on in their life, that God sees them, hears them, and cares for them. Like Hagar in the Old Testament, she was mistreated. She wasn't perfect, but God cared that she had been banished to the desert. He took care of her. But I also want readers to know that only God can lift away the veil of sin from our faces so that we can see Him face-to-face.
CW: How did you come up with the characters and in particular, the timeline?
CL: My mother told me stories of our Irish ancestors who had served in the British Army during England's rule of India. So I wanted a male character to be a British officer in the cavalry. I've also studied the First World War a great deal, and discovered through research that a turning point occured in Indian's fight for independence shortly after that war. The events were there, Indian soldiers and their English officers were returning from Europe to a very different India than the one they'd left. The times were filled with danger and intrigue. I just had to fit my characters and their personal journeys into those set historical times. The personal journeys of my characters are the same journeys I see in people around me in this day and age.
CW: I love the realistic struggles your characters go through as the story progresses. Was it difficult for you to really put yourself into their heads or were you drawing from personal experience?
CL: I think there is always a part of the author in every character they write, whether that be a 35 year old male soldier who is terribly gallant, a 50 year old Indian woman who would give her life for you, or a 22 year old woman from the US who has much to learn.
But I'm 53, I've lived a lot, seen a lot in others close to me, and experienced a lot. I've also failed a lot, and God has been patient. The main character Abby thinks much like I did when I was a young woman.
CW: Do you have a favorite character from the story? If so, why?
CL: My favorite character is my hero, Major Geoff Richards. There are aspects to Geoff that are like my husband who is my true live hero. To me Geoff is the epitome of gallantry, the quiet, long-suffering man who will lay down his life for what is right, or for the people he cares for.
CW: Shadowed in Silk is the first in a series. Can you tell us about the next book and is there one after that too?
CL: The second book already has a title---Captured by Moonlight. This story takes up where SiS leaves off, and goes with Eshana, my former Hindu widow who is a now a Christian. It also takes up the story of English nurse, Laine Harkness. Both of these women are swept away and held captive in the south of India. Eshana is captured by her former in-laws who are angry she is not acting the part of an impoverished Hindu widow. They imprison her, but are unable to imprison her soul. Laine is captured and imprisoned by broken dreams and a fear to love again. But I believe in happy endings, always. The series will continue up to the independence of India and the Partition of India and the newly created country, Pakistan.
CW: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
CL: Be willing to release your dreams to God. Trust Him that He has good things in store for you if you follow His leading. If we seek Him first, He will give us the desires of our heart.
CW: Where can we find you on the web?
CW: Thanks for stopping by, Christine, and I pray many blessings on this wonderful book and your future writing journey!
CL: Thanks Cathy, and here are a couple of links for people to purchase the Ebook now. The printed version comes out in September.
Amazon link and here is the Barnes and Noble.
More About Christine Lindsay:
Christine Lindsay writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India. SHADOWED IN SILK won first place in the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical under the title Unveiled. Shadowed in Silk is being released by WhiteFire Publishing in 2 stages this year, first as an eBook on May 1, 2011, and as the printed version Sept. 1.
An interesting note about the front cover of Shadowed, is that the model is Christine’s daughter, Sarah, whom she relinquished to adoption and was reunited with 20 years later.
The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. It’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.