Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and eight-first, is of historical novelist Christine Lindsay.
Christine Lindsay writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories, and she takes pride in her Irish roots. Her great grandfather and grandfather worked as riveters in the Belfast shipyard, one of those ships her ancestors helped build was the Titanic.
With a grin she’ll tell you that, “No, as a family we do not accept any responsibility for the sinking of that great liner.”
On her 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 series Twilight of the British Raj.
The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home where she lives with her husband, David, and they enjoy the visits from their adult children and grandchildren. Like a lot of authors, Christine’s chief editor is her cat.
She loves animals and will always have a beloved pet or horse in her novels.
A few fun facts about Christine, are that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby in her pram outside the Belfast City Hall. Christine relinquished her first child to adoption when that child was three days old, and she and that daughter were reunited twenty years later. That lovely girl is the model for the front cover of Shadowed in Silk.
Christine began writing approximately 15 years ago, shortly after the reunion with her birthdaughter. As she was reliving the original loss of giving up her child, her husband brought her a brand new pen and journal, and said, “Here honey, write it.”
That was the beginning of her writing career. As writing was a great cathartic healer, she felt God encourage her to put what she had learned into fictional stories to help others.
Christine joined the American Christian Fiction Writers, and Shadowed in Silk won the 2009 Genesis Award for Historical novel.
In 2011, Shadowed in Silk won the Grace Award for Action/Adventure/Epic, and in 2012 that same novel became a finalist in the Readers’ Favorite Award.
If you ask her why she writes, her answer is, “I have to.”
Me too, Christine. 🙂 And now from the author herself:
Research and Being There
Being born into Great Britain—Northern Ireland to be precise—naturally the history of British Colonial India fascinates me. I grew up on the blockbuster novels by MM Kaye and the British Raj. So when it came time to write my novels, I wanted to follow in MM Kaye’s grand, romantic, adventure epic style but from a Christian viewpoint.
I love a book that is steeped in history, swashbuckling heroism, romance with a capital ‘R’, danger, suspense. I loved books where big things happen. So that’s what I write.
Adding to my fascination of India were the stories my mother told me about my ancestors who served in the British Cavalry during the Raj. So my first fictional hero had to be a Cavalry officer, just home from WW1 and suffering from shell shock.
I did a huge amount of research while writing Shadowed in Silk, reading more than 40 books. There were biographies on Gandhi, the Viceroys of the Raj, missionaries, military families, even cookbooks by Englishwomen living in India. That’s how I learned that a favorite treat a British memsahib would give her growing English child was a chapatti spread with marmalade.
In my desire to be historical and culturally correct, I hired an Indian lady in Bangalore with a PhD in literature, to read over Shadowed in Silk. She wrote back saying, she was shocked that I had never been to India because from my writing it seemed I had.
Just goes to show that good research is always the best way to go. Your local library is unbeatable.
But when I actually got a chance to visit India it was a thrill to see my research come alive.
Being there—feeling the heat, smelling the spices, being with the vibrant Indian people—gave me the strangest feeling that I was living in my own dream, being in my own book.
One of my most treasured memories was taking a six-hour train trip. The missions group I was with wanted to use the ordinary Indian train accommodations. Nothing first class. As I sat on the hard, straight up seat on the train, looking out through open windows with only bars on them, I kept feeling as though I were seeing India through the eyes of one of my heroes of yesteryear, Dr. Ida Scudder, a medical missionary which features in Captured by Moonlight, which I affectionately refer to as my rendition of the famous classic Love in the Time of Cholera.
Never did care for the novel Love in the Time of Cholera, but I sure like the title.
Seeing India, smelling it, feeling it, only made the writing of Book 2 Captured by Moonlight come alive that much easier. I was able to walk along the very beach in Chennai (what used to be Madras) that my character Laine—a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps—walks along. I’ve seen the bazaars, the cows, the flocks of goats, the red dirt, the banana and mango groves. It was wonderful.
The final book to my series Twilight of the British Raj will take the reader up to the Partition of India and birthing the new country of Pakistan. Book 3 will be called Veiled at Midnight and will include many characters from the first 2 books, to be released 2014.
You can tell from the title of the series that the theme is the beginning of the end of the 300-year-old British rule of India.
That twilight began with a terrible massacre in the city of Amritsar in 1919. Due to rising political tension within the Indian people, a British general went off half-cocked one day and mowed down somewhere around 400 to 600 people in the Jallianwalla Bagh. They are unsure of the actual numbers of people killed.
It was a terrible blight on England’s history, and what stirred the Indian population and especially Gandhi to work towards Indian independence.
I find that whole era so interesting. But then I enjoyed the BBC production of the Raj Quartet, called the Jewel in the Crown. To this day, old-timers in India remember with a shudder that awful event, and how current it is in British mentality as well. Only a few weeks ago British Prime Minister David Cameron expresses regret at Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
The ties between Britain and India are not that long ago. When I visited India in 2010, the flavor of the British Raj could still be seen in many old buildings, especially the train stations in large cities like Mumbai or Chennai. Those train stations are still those built in Victorian times and reminiscent of stations in England.
As my series on India comes to an end—at least in the writing aspect—I look forward to what is next on my agenda.
I’m just starting a brand new series set in England during the Edwardian era. This will include my own spiritual and emotional journey—that of relinquishing my first child to adoption. The spiritual theme for that will be the motherly aspect to God’s love in that He never forgets us.
But that’s what’s so amazing about God—getting to know Him is the greatest adventure of all.
I hope you’ll drop by and…
- befriend me on my Christine Lindsay Author Facebook Page
- follow me on CLindsayWriterTwitter
- subscribe to my blog www.christinelindsay.org
- check me out on Pinterest
- and my books on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
- and book trailer for Captured by Moonlight.
Thank you, Christine.
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