Christine Lindsay writes historical inspirational romance. She’s a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and in 2009 she won the Genesis in the Historical category for her novel Unveiled, which has been contracted by WhiteFire Publishing and will be released under the title Shadowed in Silk.
Christine takes pride in her Irish roots; her great grandfather and grandfather worked as riveters in the Belfast shipyard. One of the ships her ancestors helped build was the Titanic. It is this family history that is the framework of her latest story, Sofi’s Bridge. And on Christine’s mother’s side it was stories of ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India that seeded Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj and became the stimulus for her debut novel, Shadowed in Silk.
The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. She’s excited to be planning her daughter’s upcoming spring wedding and about being Nanny to her three young grandsons. It’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest. Their youngest son is at college for most of the year. They do, however, miss his guitar playing when he’s away.
There isn’t enough time in the day for all Christine would like to do, so she makes priorities. Her top loves are in descending order: the Lord Jesus Christ, her husband David, her children and grandchildren, church activities, her writing, and her cat, Scottie, who is usually snoring at her side. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.
•Christine, congratulations on your First Sale! What wonderful news.
Let’s start by catching up. What’s taken place since I interviewed you back in January 2009?
Thank you for having me back, Keli. We have so much in common, and I’m amazed 2 years have passed. It goes to show that a writing career cannot be rushed.
In 2009 I was polishing my novel Unveiled and was in the process of submitting it to the ACFW Genesis. I was totally shocked when it passed the first round of judges. I couldn’t attend the 2009 conference, but asked Golden Keyes Parsons if she’d do the honors for me in the crazy off chance that Unveiled won. I couldn’t believe it when writing peers started congratulating me online even before Golden had a chance to phone and tell me Unveiled had won. It was great encouragement to persevere.
Right away the Genesis garnered excitement for my novel . One highly respected person in the Christian writing world said it didn’t read like a manuscript but a book, and that it reminded her of the novel Out of Africa. This was music to my soul.
Shadowed in Silk got quite far onto the decision-making tables of several major houses, but alas, due to its setting—India circa 1919—and a slightly edgy topic, the major houses didn’t want to take a chance on an unknown author. At first I thought it would be so much easier to stop trying, to just give up. I’d been writing for about 10 years.
As for a setting—you can’t get more colorful and lush than the British Raj with cavalry officers, ballrooms in majestic palaces, danger, intrigue. As for my ‘edgy topic’, it would have been fine if I’d had a string of novels behind me. And my story was squeaky, squeaky clean. The issue that made the bigger houses shy away from my story-line was the very thing I was trying to address—when our life is a mess, don’t try to sort it out the way the world sorts things out, but look to what God would have you do, especially if that means taking the harder, but morally higher road.
My edgy topic centers around the fact that my heroine, Abby—who is not a Christian at the beginning of the story—and who is abused by her husband, secretly falls in love with Geoff, a Christian man who is kind to her and her child. Geoff couldn’t be more circumspect as he helps Abby out now and then. And not once throughout the novel does he waver from his godly stance, not even in his thoughts.
As a Christian my desire is to write only what I could read to anyone of any age in front of the Lord Jesus Christ and not feel ashamed. And I am 100% behind the Christian market’s philosophy that as Christian writers we must set the morality bar as high as it can go. So, it seemed, my British Raj novel was destined for the bottom drawer, and I took this as God’s timing and direction.
Because Shadowed in Silk captured so much interest though, I decided to write my fingers to the bone and come back a year later with a new book—my third—Sofi’s Bridge. And this time, for what I hoped would be my break-in novel, I made sure it didn’t even come close to an edgy topic, or what I call a realistic topic.
In the meantime, I got to know Roseanna White through a sub-loop of ACFW called HisWriters who are Christian Historical authors, and another group called HEWN—a group of writers who promote Historicals set in Europe or with European characters. Roseanna is not only a fellow writer with her novel A Stray Drop of Blood, but co-owner of a small publishing press, WhiteFire Publishing.
I think this match made in heaven with WhiteFire happened because they are—according to their website—more lenient with subject matter than some of the larger CBA publishers. But like me, they still want their books marketable to Christian bookstores. The usual parameters of no vulgar language, no explicit love scenes, and characters who experience a growth of faith in Christ by the end of the story are a must.
So when I thought Shadowed in Silk was long buried, my British Raj story found a publishing home at last.
•And then you received The Email. I love call stories, so tell us all about yours. When did it come? What were you doing? And how loudly did you squeal?
It happened on my 30th wedding anniversary. Such a romantic present from the Lord. My husband and I had already gone out to dinner the night before, and I was working in my home office on Sofi’s Bridge when up popped the email from Roseanna White. No squeal, but my heart started hammering, or it grew too large for my chest. Alright, I’ll stop there. A writer is a writer is a writer. The next thing I did was privately email ALL my friends and writing friends, and phone my mother of course.
•You got The Call, and life as you knew it changed. I’ve gathered one’s plate suddenly becomes very full as she embarks on her new career as a published author. Please share with us what’s going on now, what you’ve been learning, and how you’re adjusting to living with deadlines?
Perhaps because my release date is going to be in 2 stages, my life hasn’t gone crazy yet. WhiteFire is going to release my novel as an eBook in the summer of 2011 and an actual printed book in the latter part of 2011. The title has been changed since Unveiled has already been used by Francine Rivers. But the sentiment is the same—that of Abby who only wants to be noticed by those who are supposed to love her. And Abby learns that only Christ can lift her out of the shadows of sin and despair.
So, I’ve had some fun email conversations with Roseanna White. We’re brainstorming what the front cover should look like, and I’m currently re-writing the last chapter.
Christine’s Debut Novel
•Please tell us about Shadowed in Silk.
All Abby Fraser ever wanted was to be noticed by those who were supposed to love her. But still, she felt invisible.
At the end of WWI she reunites with Nick, her British officer husband in India, and finds herself trapped in a marriage to a cruel stranger. She also finds protection, and truths she never expected to hear from Eshana, a former Hindu and child widow.
Major Geoff Richards, broken over losing so many of his men in the slaughter of the war, returns to his cavalry post in the Punjab. He remains true to his faith in Christ, but no longer believes joy can be found in this life. And back in India he cannot accept the inequality of his British peers toward Indian people, especially the callousness of the typical English memsahib. He also can’t stomach the way Nick Fraser bullies his wife and little son.
Love for Abby…and joy for Geoff…seem impossible set against India’s canvas of glittering palaces, veiled women, dust, heat and poverty. As tensions rise in the Indian bazaars, the British retaliate, ushering in the very thing they fear—the beginning of the end of the 300-year-old British Raj, and setting the stage for Gandhi.
Playing a part in that grander scheme, sinister enemies—in the guise of friends and servants, and England’s political enemy, Russia—draw Geoff, Abby and Cam, Eshana, and Nick out under the brassy sky of an inhospitable, Afghanistan desert.
It is there, when all seems lost, that love and joy are found as God promised to those who love and obey Him—joy in the land of the living.
Questions for Christine
•Christine, it’s been wonderful having you back at Romance Writers on the Journey to share your wonderful news with us. Congratulations again on your First Sale!
I invite your visitors to ask you any questions they have about your sale, your debut novel, and what life is like after receiving that long-awaited contract offer. And, of course, feel free to squeal with Christine all you’d like.
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