Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.
Christine’s Irish wit and her use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming and her newest release Sofi’s Bridge.
Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. Coming August 2016 is the release of Christine’s non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.
Welcome, Christine. We're thrilled to have you with us today. I'm going to dive right in with the questions, and I'm going to start with the hardest one.
Suzie: You gave up a daughter for adoption before you met and married your husband. After some time, you and your first birth daughter developed a special relationship. What encouragement would you give for a woman struggling with the decision today?
Christine: Oh my what a tough question. In fact, I had to write an entire book just trying to answer that question. That book called Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story is coming out this August. Nothing is so scary to a young woman than being pregnant and unmarried.
My heart goes to you. If you find yourself in that scary place my words are: Do not be afraid. Trust God to take care of you and your baby. He will not let you down, but tenderly carry you both the whole way through your journey. He did that for me. There are a lot of great organizations that will help you, but if you do not know where to go, go to a church and ask the pastor or priest, or someone.
There is help. And there is joy throughout your journey and later. I’ll be honest though, the journey will have bumps no matter whether you decide to relinquish your baby or raise your child yourself. But do not be afraid. If you want to talk, email me at Christine.Lindsay.Writer@gmail.com I’ll talk to you, and pray with you. I’ll cry and laugh with you.
Suzie: I love your heart for the hurting. Thank you for sharing your story with others. Your writing journey began when your husband handed you a journal and a pen and told you to write down what you were feeling. Do you still journal today?
Christine: Not as much, but I’m so glad I had reams of journals to look back on when I was writing my non-fiction book about my birthmother experience. Reading those journals from my pregnancy and relinquishment took me right back to those moments.
I find that journaling is a great way to get your emotions out, even to pray your prayers. However, I would add that if you have been seriously hurt in the past that you combine your journaling with good counseling from a professional, and most of all turn to God. Journaling is only one good habit toward emotional health.
Suzie: Sharing a story (not only in books but also sharing your personal stories as a speaker) is a passion for you. What advice would you give to someone shy about sharing their own story?
Christine: Go for it! One of my favorite topics when I speak is to encourage others to share their story in some format whether that be in a craft-type memories book, a series of quilts, or actually producing a complete memoir.
It is so important to relay your life story and your faith story to the generations to come. Remember what God told the Children of Israel after they crossed the River Jordan, think of your life story as the stones in this biblical excerpt below, from Joshua 4.
“Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down … Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”
Suzie: What a wonderful reminder that each of us has something to share with others. Now, let's talk about your fictional books. Both of your daughters have posed for covers of your previous books. Any plans in the works for your sons to become cover models?
Christine: Nah. I asked them, but they’re not interested. As of this June, though, I will have a beautiful new daughter-in-law. My youngest son is marrying a gorgeous young woman who was born in Venezuela and is of Spanish descent. You can bet you’ll be reading some Latino elements in my future writing. In fact, I have a secondary character like that in the book I have just begun to write set in the US and Ireland.
Suzie: Sofi’s Bridge seems to be a new setting for your novels. What drew you to the Cascade Mountains as the setting for your newest release?
Christine: A novel is always best when the author knows their subject and setting well; that way the story comes alive for the reader. I chose the Cascade Mountains in Washington State because I live in Canada just across the border from US Cascades where that western mountain range bridges our two countries.
I personally love the western, old country feel of the area because it’s home to me. Picture the valley I live in that is surrounded by mountains that due to changing weather show me a new face every day. I chose one of my very favorite places in all the world for a romantic scene; an alpine meadow set high in the Cascades.
Here is a slightly modified excerpt from Sofi’s Bridge to give you a feeling for the setting.
At the summit they reined the Clydesdales in and settled them under a shady tree. The wind, carrying a clean pine fragrance, blew unimpeded as though they’d reached the top of the world. Just ahead lay a pathway strewn on either side with blue and purple lupine, pink phlox, yellow arnica, and red Indian paintbrush.
Above the tree line, gray peaks scraped the sky, some still capped with snow. In the distance, pale blue and turquoise ice from glaciers filled crevices between serrated granite heights.
Neil stayed behind with Sofi, sweeping his gaze three hundred and sixty degrees where the glaciers, though miles away, seemed close enough to touch.
Quiet awe filled his face.
The warm wind that made the grasses sway, whipped at their clothing and hair. Sofi could only hope that up here for a while Neil could let go of whatever pain he was hiding from the world, and from her.
Suzie: What would you say the main theme of Sofi’s Bridge is?
Christine: We cannot save the ones we love. Only Christ can do that. Sometimes it is better to NOT step in and “fix” the circumstances for others, especially our adult kids, but let them learn through their suffering. This is a tough lesson for people like Sofi and Neil who both have the personality trait of caregivers, an honorable characteristic but one that can have negative ramifications. This unselfish trait is what causes both Sofi and Neil to give up their God-given vocation in a mistaken attempt to save their loved ones.
Suzie: What drew you to Historical fiction as opposed to contemporary?
Christine: I love to read a book that takes me away from my ordinary life, and I love unusual and often exotic settings. Historical fiction is not only a different setting different but the era takes us to a completely different world.
I grew up reading the blockbuster romantic epics by MM Kaye who wrote the famous Far Pavilions. When I started writing fiction I wanted to write the same sort of epic novel set in exotic India but from a Christian point of view. That’s how my multi-award-winning trilogy Twilight of the British Raj was born. You can read the first chapters of all my books on my website ChristineLindsay.org
After that I turned my sights on historical settings closer to home, and you have Sofi’s Bridge. I have just begun writing a new series that is set in Ireland and the US, because being born in Ireland I know the setting, the culture, and the history. I love to bring history to life so that we can see it, feel it, and taste it.
Suzie: What’s the most fascinating piece of information you came across while researching Sofi’s Bridge?
Christine: The historical tidbit in this book was not a new one to me. My great-grandfather and his 14-year-old son (my grandfather) were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. In fact, the Titanic was my grandfather’s very first ship in the Belfast shipyard. I always wanted to write a book on the trade that my paternal ancestry was so involved in.
I still had to do a fair bit of research on how the riveters worked. Below is a short excerpt from Sofi’s Bridge describing that trade.
Neil picked out his brother from among the men, and expelled a long sigh. On the bridge deck, or on one of those meager platforms hanging over the side, one slip, one fumble...from that height...and a man could die.
On the deck, Jimmy rapped his elongated tongs against the cone-shaped catcher can, waiting for the man known as the heater. The heater sent Jimmy a nod and thrust the peg of steel into the portable cast iron forge. When the peg of metal glowed to a molten white, he pitched it forward. Jimmy caught it in the catcher can and inserted the glowing rivet into a hole in the girder. With the same concentration Neil would use with a scalpel, Jimmy waited for the bucker to place his buckling tool against the head of the rivet, and for the riveter to hammer it home.
Suzie: It's been a pleasure visiting with you, Christine. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.
Christine: I consider it a privilege and a joy to write fiction and non-fiction that will entertain readers and hopefully encourage them in their life journey. Blessings on all, and thank you for having me as a guest.
Readers, here's some more information about Christine's latest novel, Sofi's Bridge.
Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.
Leave a comment below along with your email address for a chance to win a digital copy of Sofi's Bridge from Christine Lindsay. Giveaway ends Wednesday, 04/20/2016.