Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In the Midst of a Warzone? Author Jeanette Windle Interview

"Jeanette Windle is a top-notch storyteller" --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"You can’t finish a Windle novel without being deeply moved and better informed about the world around you.”

While former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan is no stranger to corruption or conspiracy, she has always been able to tell the good guys from the bad, and the Congo jungle at first seems no different. But as her security team tries to track down an insurgent killer, Robin has to face a man who broke her trust years ago, and she discovers the gray areas extend farther in this jungle wilderness than she anticipated.

A ruthless global conspiracy begins to surface, run by powerful men who can’t afford to leave any witnesses. Her life at stake, Robin doesn’t know who to trust and wonders how she can help protect innocent people.

Why is God silent amid all the pain and injustice? And how do these people of faith continue to rejoice in their suffering?

JWphoto3As daughter of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty on five continents.
Those experiences have birthed 16 international intrigue titles, including bestselling Tyndale House Publishers release Veiled Freedom, a 2010 ECPA Christian Book Award and Christy Award finalist and sequel Freedom's Stand, a 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award and Carol Award finalist and 2011 Golden Scroll Novel of the Year finalist. Jeanette mentors developing nation writers in both English and Spanish on all five continents.

For more information about Jeanette and her books of "International Intrigue with Inspirational Impact," visit You can also find her at Facebook and Twitter. Check out "Congo Dawn" here.
Ten Questions with Author Jeanette Windle
What should readers know about your latest release?

For the story's actual suspense thread, I've had personal opportunity to witness what a multinational corporation is capable of in dark corners of the Third World when no one is watching (an experience in itself too unbelievable to write up as fiction). In Africa as elsewhere, both the protective and striking arm of such corporations has historically been hired foreign mercenaries.

But today's private military corporations are vastly different, possessing more fire power than the average country. What struck me was the lack of any accountability to outside oversight beyond some paid-off local warlord. So what happens when a multinational corporation with unlimited funds hires on a private military company with unbridled power in a Congolese rainforest where the ultimate 'conflict mineral' is up for grabs? Coming up with one very plausible possibility birthed Congo Dawn.

On a deeper spiritual level, Congo Dawn addresses the age-old question of how a world filled with such darkness, injustice and pain can possibly be the creation of a God of love. How can followers of Yesu [Jesus] in the bleakness of an Ituri rainforest conflict zone or any other dark corner of this planet take seriously a Scriptural mandate to rejoice in their suffering [James 1:2; I Peter 4:13]?
What value beyond our own comprehension might human suffering possibly hold that a loving Creator God permits it to continue?

What was the main inspiration for the new book?

Growing up in the world's largest rainforest, the Amazon, I was captivated by missionary biographies from its second-largest African counterpart, the Congo. Among them the story of Dr. Helen Roseveare, who helped establish several mission hospitals and medical training centers in the Ituri rainforest despite violence and unrest of impending Congolese independence, herself held captive for five months during the 1964 Simba rebellion.

The largest of those centers Nyankunde was in turned razed in 2002 during the continuing conflict that has taken more than five million Congolese lives in the last decade. Today's fighting is greatly aggravated by the value and pursuit of conflict minerals in that zone.

As always, it has been the mission pilots, medical personnel both expatriate and Congolese, and other followers of Yesu, Jesus Christ, who have been first back into the conflict zones well ahead of United Nations, embassy, local law enforcement or any other humanitarian and corporate interests. Their courage in shining bright the light of Yesu's love in one of the planet's darkest corners gave voice to this story.

How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research?

Growing up in the Amazon jungles and Andes mountains of Colombia and Venezuela, my favorite childhood memories involve God's wonderful creation. Canoeing up and down jungle rivers. Flying in Cessna or traveling over high mountain passes to boarding school in Venezuela. Hiking Andes trails too steep for mule-back and jungle paths with monkeys and parrots chattering overhead. Swinging on vines into a mountain pool below just like Swiss Family Robinson, shooting whitewater rapids on inner-tubes.

Everything in my novels is based on actual events and situations in the countries of which I write, though not necessarily from my own life. A good example: depictions of jungle captivity in my Colombian guerrilla zone novel The DMZ came not from my own experience, but from personal friends who did spend up to years in captivity.

However, one advantage of having traveled in thirty-plus countries on five continents is that I can pull a lot of sights, sounds, smells, and experiences from my own memory banks, whether the taste of Afghanistan's fine dust in the mouth, the moist fragrance of a high mountain cloud forest, or the chittering, cawing, croaking orchestra of an equatorial jungle.

More importantly, the emotional and spiritual threads of my novels and their protagonists have been birthed very definitely from the life journeys through which God has taken me and the spiritual battles and lessons involved.

If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?

I've often wished I'd known before I jumped so blithely into writing novels just how difficult it would be, wrenching heart and soul and mind to pour out a story and its spiritual theme on printed page. I would certainly never have had the courage to start on such a long, strenuous, hair-pulling, heart-rending journey, had I seen the road ahead. Even more so the equally arduous process of getting a book actually contracted and published once it is written.

So while I do wish I'd known, I'm glad as well that God only let me see each next step (isn't that the way God works in so many areas of our lives?). Now that I do know just how hard writing a novel is, I constantly ask myself in the first stages of each new book what in the world I think I'm doing dragging myself back into the arena to start all over again. Then I get far enough in the new book that I can't turn back, and after another long, arduous journey, somehow another book is born.

Now for some fun with travel...

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?

Having been privileged to live in travel in only 30+ nations to date, I don't think I could pick just one among the remaining 150+. But among my top ten would be:

1) Puerto Rico - because it has all the beauty, culture and delicious food of the best Latin American countries I've lived while having all comforts and safety of a United States territory

2) Greece - because I'd love to explore all the history

3) Turkey - because so much of biblical history from Noah to the early church lies within its borders

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