I'm so happy to welcome an Irish-born Canadian author to the Diamond Mine. Christine, your 2016 releases pique my interest, so let's plunge right into some questions.
Please explain the thinking behind your novel. When did the idea occur to you, and how? How does this story tie in with your personal or family history?
The idea to use the trade of riveters inspired Sofi’s Bridge a number of years ago. My great grandfather and my grandfather were riveters in the Belfast shipyard, and my grandfather’s very first ship to work on as a 14-year-old apprentice was the Titanic. I always add that as a family we accept no responsibility for the sinking of that infamous vessel.
I always wanted to write something that featured that dangerous trade, but didn’t want to write another Titanic novel which had been done to death. So I changed the riveting aspect to fit an Irishman’s family and focused on how that played out in Washington State for a young woman who wanted to design bridges.
I like story layers, so while part of the backstory conveys the history of the dangerous riveter trade, the plotline also covers a hero and a heroine who sacrifice their own happiness in order to “fix” the lives of their loved ones. Both are being barred from the labor that makes their heart sing. For Neil, his propensity toward saving the ones he loves at all costs, strips him of his career as a physician. Sofi's desire is a huge social faux pax in Seattle 1913.Debutantes from wealthy families do not build bridges.
Sofi’s Bridge is about work, either the kind that gives us great fulfilment or the kind we have no choice but to accept. This ties in with the creative soul who wants to make a living at their art. Are the creative dreams God gives us destined to be the work of our hands?
What role does the setting play? Is there some significance that would be lost in another setting? How do specific geographical features play into the story?
I believe in writing what I know so that my readers will feel the authenticity of my settings. I know my valley here in British Columbia well, so I moved the setting for Sofi’s Bridge to the Cascade Mountains just across the border in Washington State. That way I know the very trees and shrubs, how the wind blows, the patchwork quilt of farms and the fragrance of freshly mown hay.
I also believe in setting as a character. As the gorges narrow and the Cascade mountains grow steeper, the wind funneling through those canyons increases, a metaphor for the growing intensity of hardship in our lives. Those hardships may derail us (like the train crossing the gorge in my book), or with God’s help, that threatening wind will pass over and around us because the fire of suffering refines us and makes us as strong as the steel bridge Sofi designed.
In addition, one of my favorite places in the world is the alpine meadow in Manning Park. I thought a romantic scene would be lovely with the ice blue glaciers on distant mountains seemingly at arm’s length, and the alpine flowers creating a carpet of primary colors.
How do you perceive your characters interacting with readers? (Or vice-versa) Do certain character arcs take precedence, and how so?
I prefer character arcs for some of my secondary characters as well as my hero and heroine, to add depth. Unless a story has a strong moral premise, I’m quickly bored, so I aim to make my characters totally believable. By showing their weaknesses as well as their strengths, I hope readers will connect with Neil and Sofi, and feel “yeah, that could be me.”
A good novel should give the reader an emotional experience, so the character arc must feel authentic. I also try to avoid stereotypical characters. Even the ‘bad guys’ have a reason for being bad. For example, Charles the family busybody who threatens Sofi’s sister, does the nasty things he does because his personal despair drives him to do the unthinkable.
Tell us about your title, please--is there a story behind your choice?
Sofi’s Bridge was the easiest title I ever came up with, and one that my publisher kept. It’s short and succinct, and I never considered anything else for this book. Same with Londonderry Dreaming. However, for my trilogy the titles Shadowed in Silk, Captured by Moonlight, and Veiled at Midnight took a lot more work to attain the same rhythm. But the hardest title of all to come up with, and the one with the most revisions was my non-fiction book coming out this August, Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.
The first chapters of all my books can be read for free on my website www.christinelindsay.org
And I'd also like to learn how your new website fits in with your writing. Can you give us a brief peek?
I work with only one critique partner, Rachel Phifer, who lives in Texas. We met at an ACFW conference in 2008, and over the next few years both of us became Genesis winners. We understandd each other’s writing so well. As a Canadian born in N. Ireland, it helps that Texan Rachel spent her childhood in Africa as a missionary kid. She understands my British-ness and helps me make my novels palatable for American readers.
As we worked together, I later won some other awards for my books, and Rachel was nominated for the ACFW Carol award. We work really well as a team, able to bridge the gap between American readers and the rest of the world. We think of ourselves as more international writers who think outside the box and see things in a global sort of way.
We wanted to share some of the things we learned the hard way to help other writers on their writing journey, so we just started Novel Renaissance this January 2016. Not only will we post a weekly topic on the craft of writing, but also offer our critique and substantive editing services.
Tell us about your giveaway, Christine.
I’m giving away an Ebook of Sofi’s Bridge, and if readers sign up for my quarterly newsletter, I do frequent giveaways.
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 the 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. Her newest release, Sofi’s Bridge, also features a dashing Irish hero.
Christine and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. In August 2016, is Christine’s non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story releases.
Please drop by Christine’s website www.ChristineLindsay.org or follow her on Amazon or Twitter. Be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and Goodreads