Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Research and Being There by Author Christine Lindsay

by Award-winning author Christine Lindsay
Being born into Great Britain—Northern Ireland to be precise—naturally the history of British Colonial India fascinates me. I grew up on the block-buster 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 aim to 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 the multi-award-winning 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.
However, 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, no glass, only bars, 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. This true-life missionary 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 have walked 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, flocks of goats, the red dirt, 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 ordered his troops to shoot into a huge crowd of innocent demonstrators. Somewhere around 400 to 600 people were killed that day in the Jallianwalla Bagh. They are unsure of the actual numbers. This was a terrible blight on England’s history, and stirred the Indian population, especially Gandhi, to work towards Indian independence.

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 months 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 were 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.
That’s what’s so amazing about God—getting to know Him is the greatest adventure of all.

Christine Lindsay writes historical inspirational novels with strong love stories such as her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine's long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India.

SHADOWED IN SILK is currently the recipient of two awards and a finalist in a third. SiS won the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Christian Historical, and the 2011 Grace Award. In June 2012 SiS became a finalist in the Reader's Favorite Award. Adding to Christine's Irish pride is the fact that her great-grandfather and her grandfather both worked as riveters in the Belfast shipyard and one of the ships they built was the Titanic.

An interesting note about the front cover of SiS, is that the model is Christine's daughter, Sarah, whom she relinquished to adoption and was reunited with 20 years later.

The Pacific coast of Canada is Christine's home. It's a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.
For more about Christine, visit her website/blog and connect with her through social media - Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. For more information about Christine's new release, "Captured By Moonlight," click here. See the book trailer here.

Prisoners to their own broken dreams...

After a daring rescue goes awry, the parched north of India grows too hot for nurse Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana. The women flee to the tropical south...and run headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a new nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover that her former fiancé is the owner...and that Adam has no more to say to her now than he did when he crushed her years ago. Why, then, is she still drawn to him, and to the tiger cub he is raising?

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts whether freedom will ever again be in her future, much less the forbidden love that had begun to whisper to her. Is faith enough to live on? Or is her Savior calling her home? 

Amid cyclones and epidemics, clashing faiths and consequences of the war, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

First place winner of the 2009 ACFW Genesis award for Historical
She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

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