Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Christine Lindsay: You Cannot Write Unless You've Suffered

In my opinion, the best novels are written by people who suffered. Maybe not a lot of anguish and woe, maybe just a pinch of misery while experiencing the loneliness of looking for a loving spouse. But, not that that’s a small issue to sneeze at. As a Christian author there has to come that balance of not sticking with the pain, but redeeming it for God’s purposes.

Art Needs the Delicate Interplay Between Dark and Light

Before I started writing I used to paint. Balancing shadow and light made the difference between a mediocre piece and a work that stole your breath.

Same with literature. I occasionally like to read short humorous books, but after a while—if the stakes aren’t raised, if there’s not a chance the hero or heroine will have their hearts broken—I’m bored. Stories that keep me rapidly turning the pages are those filled with anguish.

Reach Down Deep into Your Gut and Remember the Hurt

Granted we don’t all need to know what it feels like to be attacked, or God-forbid—raped, or live through a war or a kidnapping to write about such themes, but we must tap into feelings that are similar.

I remember the day my middle son disappeared. All the neighbors were out looking for Kyle, people were praying. Two hours later, my six-year-old boy sallied home, smiling to beat the band, clutching a posy of dandelions in his
grubby little hand for me. Thank God I do not know what it feels like to have my child kidnapped, but I can tap into those feelings of the “Day of the Dandelions” as it is now known in our family for all perpetuity.

It’s clear that no one on this earth is exempt from suffering. It’s not a prerequisite for creativity, but suffering is a necessary ingredient for both life and art.

But let’s not forget, light is the other essential element. Fear for my little boy made our reunion that much brighter.

What Is A Painting Without Light?

At a writers’ conference I once heard Donald Maass talk about a writer who emailed her agent about her latest book.

“It’s the best thing I ever wrote,” she gushed. “It’s so honest.”

The book was honest all right, but it was so full of angst it was a total drag. Why do we authors get trapped into thinking the darker or grittier our book the greater the literary quality?

Unless there is a hint of hope on each page then I’m unwilling to remain in that literary dungeon. I want to feel emotion in each scene, but as a reader I must experience building despair, balanced by hope, leading to a climax of joy.

Tap Into Your Lousy Childhood If You Were Lucky Enough to Have One

I wouldn’t wish a lousy childhood on anyone, but dark memories can be changed into something bright and beautiful. It wasn’t until I became a fiction writer that I could thank God for my somewhat unhappy childhood. Before that I suffered the same battles with bitterness as the next person, as the grown child of an alcoholic, and later after relinquishing my first child to adoption. Despair is a great place to start as a writer, but…

Unless You’ve Received Healing You Have Nothing to Offer Your Readers

I promise my readers a happy ending in all my books because I’ve seen happy endings in my own life through my faith in Christ.

But it was my memories of my alcoholic father that inspired my multi-award-winning historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Only because I received healing from that emotional pain, and the pain of losing my first child to adoption, I believe I have something to offer my readers.

Through that delicate interplay of light and shadow, I try to offer my readers a rip-roaring ride on a roller-coaster of emotions, the depths of raw anguish, the grittiness of despair, the tsunamis’ of global conflict that our world inflicts upon us, as well as what I like to call Big Love Stories when the love of God conquers all.

My entire series Twilight of the British Raj shows the healing of a family tainted by a father’s alcoholism. In book 1 Shadowed in Silk, my heroine Abby Fraser stands up to her abusive husband. In book 2 Captured by Moonlight my Indian heroine Eshana stands up to her fanatical Hindu uncle who won’t allow her to live as a Christian. In the finale Veiled at Midnight my character Cam (who was a boy in book 1) is now a man and faces his inner demons that he’s inherited his father’s addiction. All this set against a background of racial bias, political and religious conflict, in an intoxicatingly exotic landscape.

Yes, there are parts of my books that are gritty and heart-rending. But in triumph I write not just about the struggle from alcoholism to sobriety, about surviving through war, about standing up to bigotry, and refusing to be invisible in the face of abandonment and abuse…

I Write in Triumph About That Tingling Feeling—When God Makes Everything New.


Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that infamous ship.

Stories of Christine’s ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and newly released Veiled at Midnight.

Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first contemporary romance set in N. Ireland, published by Pelican Book Group, and she is looking forward to the release in 2015 of Sofi’s Bridge.

Christine makes her home on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

Please drop by Christine’s website http://www.christinelindsay.com/ or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , “Like her Facebook page, and  Goodreads

PURCHASE LINKS FOR Veiled at Midnight and all of Christine’s novels.

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