About Christine Lindsay:
Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Born in Ireland, Christine loves to weave her combined Irish and British ancestry into her novels. She is currently writing her 7th book. It was the handed down family tales of ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the explosive and passionate finale Veiled at Midnight.
Christine’s Irish wit and joy in her use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming. Her newest release Sofi’s Bridge features a dashing Irish hero. The book Christine is currently writing is the first in a brand new series that is set entirely on the majestic Antrim Coast in N. Ireland. If you like beautiful and exotic settings, consider a trip in one of Christine Lindsay’s novels.
Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine is the happy wife of David of 35 years, mom to four grown kids, and Nanny to five grandsons. She makes her home on the west coast of Canada, and in Aug. 2016 she will see a long-awaited dream come true. Her non-fiction book Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birth Mother’s Story will be released. Christine’s true-life story started her journey to becoming a writer way back in 2000.
What inspires you to write?
While Christine’s ancestors (British soldiers in Colonial India) and birthplace (Ireland) inspire much of her writing, it was her experience in relinquishing her baby girl to adoption in 1979 and to her reunion with her birth-daughter in 1999 that sets the spiritual tone of Christine’s novels. Through a long journey full of heartache, she eventually learned that God can truly turn our broken hearts into our greatest joys. It is this belief that if we trust the Lord with our lives, our hopes and dreams, and surrender to His wisdom we can find happy endings at the end of our story. This is a promise Christine makes to her readers—always a happy ending.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m not a fast writer–in that I don’t whip up books to get as many out per year as I can. Each of my books has percolated in my mind for quite a while before I put words on a page. My characters take time to come to me, so that I can see them fully. Because I love to read multi-layered novels, that have a touch of mystery, a little suspense, what I like to call a Big Love story, and loads of setting or historical details, it all takes time. I also prefer to have deep psychological aspects to my stories and strong spiritual takeaways, and this too takes time to develop a strong, plausible backstory for each main character.
Often, while I am finishing up one book, I’m marketing previous books, and formulating a brand new story in my head. My family is used to my staring off into space for long periods of time. Often my best ideas come while I’m driving to the grocery story or doing the laundry or dishes.
Once the previous book is off to my editor, I can then start outlining the new book. The last few years I’ve been using Pinterest to throw up pics of settings, clothing, faces that remind me of my characters. Then I open up Word doc files to start working on my premise. Taking the time to work out a strong premise forces me to squeeze out the weak spots. From that strong premise I then develop the major story points, and from that I do a more detailed outline. I prefer a paragraph for each main story point, often that paragraph will represent an entire chapter in the novel.
Then, I start to write. So, yes, I’m an out-liner. Reason for this is, I like that touch of mystery, as well as clear character arcs, so I need to keep those clues and story points in line.
Throughout the writing of the book I find that I must not be married to my outline. Often in the middle of a novel I uncover a weak spot and the need to revise. Or one of my characters develops to such a point that my original idea just will not work. Then I revise.
Happily, I’m one of those writers who actually enjoys rewriting. I also love to cut. I think of writing a novel as producing a piece of sculpture. I throw the clay together, squeeze and slam out the air bubbles, and then start molding. Then I cut, cut, cut, and only when it’s done do I glaze, throw in the kiln and afterwards polish, and work to make it shine.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t actually talk to my characters, but my brain works like a movie camera. I see them in their element, their setting, talking to each other, interacting with each other. It’s as though I am the invisible one in their world, watching and caring for them. Sort of like their guardian angel.
When my character, three-year-old Cam, was kidnapped and taken to the desert in book 1 of my Raj trilogy, I felt as though I walked at his side. I could feel the dryness of the air, the scorch of the white sun, hear the hiss of the wind disturbing the sand.
In the third book of that trilogy, the now grown up Cam had fallen in love with an Indian woman. In a romantic scene, I felt the cool water of Dal Lake in Kashmir when Cam dove in to swim in the green depths and come up to the surface amid floating lotus blossoms. I heard the sweet laughter of the woman he loved as she sat on the deck of the houseboat and watched him swim.
So, yes, I’m their guardian angel. Invisibly, I watch over them, and guide them to a happy ending (mostly very romantic), but one where they have learned valuable lessons that will only bring them great joy in their futures.
What advice would you give other writers?
Make Perseverance your middle name. Also realize that the journey to becoming a writer is not an easy one or a quick one. You must be willing to put in the time and effort to learn the craft, and there is a lot to learn. Take courses on creative writing, join writing associations where you can learn from other authors at various levels, go to writers’ conferences, read books on the craft, get one or a few good critique partners. And when you feel you have a finished manuscript, do not rush to publication.
Have a reputable editor read it over, get a good critique from a professional writer. Then look at the different ways of getting your book published.
It’s because I learned so much of the writing craft by trial and error that my critique partner Rachel Phifer and I have a writers’ blog called Novel Renaissance. The word “Renaissance” means a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I first started writing, the whole concept of “Self Publishing” did not receive the respect that it has today. Nowadays it is a very viable option.
But back in 2000 when I began my first book I decided that I would publish only with a traditional royalty-paying publisher. When my manuscript was as ready as I could make it, I contacted a literary agent that was just starting out in the business. Though the business relationship only lasted 3 or 4 years (the friendship still to this day), I gained valuable advice and help from him. He advised me to send my manuscript to a woman who had a real knack for critiquing. She sent me back a detailed report on what the manuscript needed, positives and negatives.
With gratitude, I took her advice and revised. That relationship turned into a friendship that has lasted to this day online, though we have yet to meet in person. But she advised me to join ACFW, which I did. I had no idea how much help a writer could get through a writers’ association. It was through them I met my critique partner Rachel Phifer, the only person ever since that I critique with. Our friendship and writing collaboration has been such a blessing that we have our own business now of helping other authors reach their goals on Novel Renaissance.
Rachel and I, at different years, both entered the ACFW Genesis and both were winners. Me the Gold, and Rachel the Silver. As time went on, Rachel garnered an ACFW Carol nomination, and I received the following to add to my Genesis: The Grace Award winner, Finalist for Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and twice a finalist for Readers’ Favorite.
But those awards were yet to come when I was just about ready to give up writing in 2009 after receiving the Genesis for my debut novel. Just previous to this, my first agent decided to leave the business which left me free to talk with a top notch agent who contacted me after the Genesis win. She was all set to sign me when during our interview I told her that most of the larger houses had turned my manuscript down due to its setting, India. That was when she politely had to withdraw her offer.
I wasn’t exactly crushed, but so disappointed that I thought of giving up. A number of months later though, a brand new, small traditional royalty payment publishing house WhiteFire (that I had met through ACFW) contacted me. They loved my book and want to publish it. I was their first author other than the owner of the house, Roseanna White.
WhiteFire gave me my start for which I am eternally grateful. At that time I could have written another novel that had a more marketable setting for the American audience, but my desire for artistic integrity was too strong. I believed in my story and wanted to complete my trilogy. WhiteFire was totally behind me.
A few years later, I saw a submission call for romantic novellas written in various parts of the world. I chose one of their story ideas, and WhiteRose Publshing of Pelican Book Group released Londonderry Dreaming which is set in Ireland. I had another manuscript on my laptop, a story that I thought would appeal to US audiences called Sofi’s Bridge set in Washington State. WhiteRose wanted that one too.
A few years after that WhiteFire wanted to publish my non-fiction book Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birth Mother’s Story. That book will also be released in 2016.
At this point in 2016 I currently have 6 books under my belt, and am writing my 7th. It’s been a long journey, filled with ups and downs. But each time I think of stopping, the Lord opens up a new contract, often when I’m not even looking for it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the two forms of publication (self and traditional) will continue side by side. In my opinion both kinds of books, paper and digital will continue because readers have so many different tastes. There are pros and cons to both types, bigger traditional houses will still have the better distribution lines to get books into stores, but online will continue to be strong for both self and traditionally published books.
As an author, I think the two types are a win-win.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Christian Historical, Christian Historical Romance, Christian Contemporary Romance, Christian Women’s Fiction, Christian Non-fiction
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.