Lw: HEALER is book one of the Brides of Alba trilogy, Alba being an early name for Scotland. And this is Arthurian Scotland—and King Arthur, for that matter—as never seen before. The series focuses on three brothers, their respective brides, and how love and faith grow to enable them to survive those trying times.
SKC: It sounds wonderful! What made you decide to write in your genre?
SDC: I love that testimony! I'll bet there's more to it.
She’d been stalked and assaulted in college, turned against God in anger for allowing that to happen to a good Christian girl, and became involved in Wicca, or white witchcraft. I learned to build on what Christianity and pagan cultures had in common (good stewardship, the Golden Rule/Do No Harm, and nature magic (which in the Dark Ages was proto-science, not to be confused with dark magic involving spirits/demons). And then, I was able to do what the early apostles/missionaries did. Point out the major difference was that the pagans worshiped creation and glorified it, while Christians worshiped the Creator and glorified Him for the precious gift of creation.
So this is the message and genre/means I feel called to pursue; showing how pagan societies that could not be tamed by the sword of Rome, were gentled by the love of Christ; and using the history and traditions of this era, the marvelous witnesses of the early Christian priests to reach New Age believers and to arm/educated Christians, especially our young people.
Had my daughter—or even I, at her age—known the history of early Christianity (how the first Christians reached the pagan multitudes), I would never have allowed myself to be taught in college that Jesus was just a man, if He existed at all. Because I would know better. I’d have an answer for the challenges about Crusades and Inquisition.
Sure the church has some dirty holy water. But don’t throw Jesus out with it!
(Pardon me if I got too long-winded, readers, but this message is my passion and I think you can see why. It hurts me to see people misled with New Age and about Christianity.)
Lw: I’ve joked time and again that if I ever get a comfy spot on the bestseller lists and do a keynote speech, the title will be: I Failed My Way to Success.
TENACITY and LEATHER SKIN?
LOOKING FOR THE GOOD
SDC: And we all go through that refining fire, don't we? So, how did Avon Inspire find you?
Lw: Actually, my agent found them. Although I’ve been around the horn with several Christian publishers and garnered several awards, so my name is known in CBA. Not known as in from the comfy spot on the bestseller list, though I did make it for a few weeks with Multnomah’s romcom HI HONEY I’M HOME. By the time I’d contracted with Avon Inspire for romantic comedy dashed with suspense, I’d already written sixteen secular books for Kensington Publishing, seven or so for Multnomah/Waterbrook/Random House, and a trilogy for Thomas Nelson’s Westbow. Avon Inspire contracted me along with Tracie Batemen for the launch of the line, so I’ve done two with them—Wedding Bell Blues and For Pete’s Sake.
HEALER, Brides of Alba is my 29th novel and the first of a trilogy for David C. Cook. I am thrilled that they’ve allowed me to put a character list, because Celtic names can be challenging, a glossary/reference because a little elaboration on meanings and cultural traditions is dessert for the historical nut, and a bibliography that provides additional reading for those who’d like to learn more about this particular Arthur (there were at least two) and the traditions/customs of the Dark Ages.
SDC: There's something in a name, isn't there? What advice do you have for other authors discouraged with the craft, Linda?
HE KNOWS BESTLw: This sounds so pat, but I have had this hammered into me by God again and again. God’s timing is not my timing. His is better. He knows when I am ready to write His parable. I’ve had HEALER outlined since the 1990’s. It wasn’t ready. It had to mature along with me as a Christian. The result is a more powerful story for Him.
SDC: What excites you most about your writing experience on any given day?
Lw: The most exciting (and hair-pulling) experience in writing for God comes when I have written 2/3 of the contracted word count and my outline is only half done. I fret and fret. Then I pray, “God, I know you’ve got a plan. Care to share? HELP!”
Invariably, I get answering revelations between four to six in the morning. These are hours I never see unless I’m worried and plotting in my semi-sleeping state. And His idea is way better than the one I had originally. And it will surprise the reader because it surprised me! In fact, that is exactly where I am on THIEF, book two of the Brides of Alba and sequel to HEALER. After sweating a few days, I have had the revelation and am ready to move on. And every time this happens, I am so awed…and humbled.
I used to pray, “God, help me to outline a tighter book so this doesn’t happen.” But now I wonder if God doesn’t let me write myself into a dither just to remind me Whose book it really is.
SDC: And for any inspirational author, it should always be His, shouldn't it. What other books are your reading right now that inspire you?
Lw: At the moment, I’m up to my neck in Dark Age and early Christianity research. I don’t read for pleasure very often, unless it’s between projects. Then I make up for lost time.
SDC: When did you know from your heart of hearts that you were going to become a romance writer?
Lw: I didn’t plan to be an author. My degree is in elementary education. But I discovered romance with the seventies’ releases by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I read Wolf and the Dove during the delivery of my daughter and the nurse wanted the title and author because she’d never seen the like. I devoured historical romances until I read some that made think, “I can do this.”