Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kicking and Screaming YOUR Way to Ninevah? Read about Linda Windsor!

A hearty welcome to Linda Windsor, well-known author that joins us from the Maryland Eastern Shore.

Maryland Eastern Shore author Linda Windsor has written twenty-nine award-winning historical and contemporary novels. A mother of two and grandmother of two, she lives in an 18th century home called Forest Necke that she and her late husband painfully restored back in 1985. In addition to being handy with paint and wallpaper, Linda sang and played guitar and keyboard along with her husband in a professional country/Old R&R band called Homespun. She still sings and plays music at her church as well as speaks nationally for writer’s conferences, churches and private venues.

SDC: So good to have you here, Linda. Tell us first about your book coming out soon with Avon Inspire. We're anxious to hear.

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.

Forced to live most of her twenty years in hiding from both her clan and the clan who murdered her family, Brenna of Gowys wonders how she can possibly fulfill her mother’s prophecy that the Gowys seed will divide the enemy O’Byrne’s house and bring about a peace beyond his wicked ken. Brenna’s clan remnant would have her lead them to certain death against the stronger O’Byrnes. But Brenna is a healer, not a warrior. Nor is she the shape-changing wolf-woman of the hills as she’s rumored to be by the superstitious clans; although she does have a gift with wild animals, including a pet wolf.

So when Brenna witnesses the ambush and attempted murder of a warrior during the annual O’Byrne hunt to find the wolf-woman, she does what she’s called to do. She brings him into her mountain hideaway to heal him, even if he could be her enemy. All she knows is that he is not just wounded in body, but in spirit; that he’d been there as a frightened child when her family had been slain; and that she has seen a future with him. But is her faith strong enough to follow God’s vision, no matter where it leads?

SKC: It sounds wonderful! What made you decide to write in your genre?

Lw: Which one? . God brought me, a new Christian published in the secular and sexy historical genre, kicking and screaming to Ninevah—the inspirational market. I had a number of reasons for resisting, which I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say, I spent four years in the belly of the whale while God closed secular doors until I only had one way to go. With Him.

And I can say with all my heart that He not only showed me my preconceived notions about the inspirational market were wrong, but He gave me a ministry. A ministry of showing how God uses imperfect vessels to do marvelous works according to His plan. I have NEVER looked back. I give Him all the praise and glory because He saw potential in this broken, baby Christian where I saw none. And He led me through chemical depression at the same time. What a God!

SDC: I love that testimony! I'll bet there's more to it.
Lw: OKAY, BRACE YOURSELF. YOU DID ASK. In the midst of my chemical depression, I faced another trial. This affirmed that while my humor is in my romantic comedies/suspense, my heart is in the Celtic historical genre.

Back in the early 2000’s, I read about my Irish heritage in Thomas Cahill’s nonfiction How the Irish Saved Civilization. In doing so, I discovered not only my ethnic heritage, but my spiritual heritage as well. I was so taken by how Christianity made Ireland a place of faith and learning, that I decided to write a family saga set in 5th, 6th, and 7th century Ireland titled The Fires of Gleannmara (MAIRE, RIONA, and DEIRDRE) to portray that history and witness, while entertaining them with a page-turning romantic adventure. The early history of our church as it converted pagan to Christianity, so reaffirmed my faith and helped me to understand some of the New Age concepts (which really are old age), so that I was able to reach my daughter.

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.

This was my first and most precious witness. My daughter did not come back right away, but I’d planted the seed of truth and continued to nurture it with other historical knowledge, knowledge that would work on someone who’d rejected Scripture—temporarily. She came back to her faith after five years of my persistent, but gentle pointing to all the ideas/things she had in common with Jesus. She embraced Jesus the man early on, and embracing the Son of God had to follow and did. On Mother’s Day 2004, she went to the altar and gave her battered heart back to Christ. She now has her masters in social work, counsels others who’ve faced similar trials, and hopes to become a Christian counselor as well. What a God!

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.

I call it fishing from the other side of the boat. When they discount the Bible and dismiss the church, try approaching them with history. We and especially our kids are constantly bombarded with New Age ideas and a liberal academic agenda that demonizes Christianity.

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.)

SDC: No apologies necessary, for what a passion that is. Something like that is worth the sharing. We need to hear these things. So tell us, after a long day of writing or doing revisions in a story what is the very first thing you do?

Lw: Exercise if it’s early enough, or eat if it’s dinnertime. I cook or do some chores simultaneously with writing. Which is why sometimes a washing machine load has to be run again after mildew sets in, because I went back to the Dark Ages and forgot it was in there. It also accounts for soups/stews that stick and must be put in a fresh pot, leaving the burned on stuff in the bottom of the other for elbow grease and Barkeepers Friend. My daughter used to think that was part of the recipe. Oh, and when the smoke alarms goes off, which it seems to if I so much as make a peanut butter sandwich, the kids yell, “Dinner’s ready!”

SDC:  A little of this and a little of that. That's about how I do my chores, as well, Linda. How do you encourage other newer authors who get rejection slips?

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.

To become a writer, one must have leather-thick skin and the tenacity of a pit bull. The worst rejection is a form rejection. Yet even that can have a good reason for it that has nothing to do with the quality of the work. The Gleannmara Series was rejected in 1999 and bought in 2000. The reason? Another author had written a series set in Scotland and it was too close to Ireland. The publisher didn’t want their own authors competing with each other.

Always look for the good in a rejection letter. Allow yourself three days—that’s all Jesus had—to mope around and grouse. Then get back up, grab what you can from it, and keep on writing. This year I see at least four Christy nominees who were aspiring writers when American Christian Fiction Writers came into being. At least four! All ladies who had attended workshops, mine included, and applied themselves tenaciously, putting rejections behind them and trying again. And here they are Christy nominees! The Oscars of Christian publishing! I’m so proud, I feel like their mom.

Rejections are a writer’s refining. They are like footprints in the sand. If you don’t see any, then you are not moving toward your goal.

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?

Lw: 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.”

So I wrote two super thick manuscripts on a caste iron Royola typewriter and sent them off…to be rejected. When my marriage failed, I had no time for writing as a single working mom and those books went into the attic. Years later, my second husband found them in the trash as we were moving. After reading one, he encouraged me to try again, saying “I don’t even read this stuff, but the story is really good.” Bless him.

The completely rewritten novels were purchased in 1990 by Zebra/Kensington, NY. And that was after they’d been rejected by a form letter! An agent sold them, not a word altered six months later. After sixteen books with them, God kicked me over to the inspirational market and number twenty-nine is HEALER.

SDC: That's so interesting. Although I always wanted to write, Kathleen was my early solid food to help me learn how to work with words. Linda, we really appreciate your offer to donate a book. What would you like to ask one of our readers?

Lw: If you know of anyone, especially impressionable teens or New Age aficionados, who might benefit from reading the facts woven into the romance and adventure of HEALER, please pass the book on to them. It could plant a seed, just like it did with my daughter. And I know God will nurture it.
Oh, and I’d like a book report please.

SDC: Thank you so much for being here. Tell us where we can find you on the web.

Lw: I am at Feel free to stop by and read excerpts from my books, or sign up for contest giveaways and my Umpthly newsletter. (Umpthly means it comes out when I have something to say.)
God bless and thank you for this opportunity to share.

SDC: Great word: umpthly. I will have to remember that. We've loved having you, Linda.

Okay, now to you readers and writers and visitors.You can see above what Linda would like to know. 

For Reflection: If you've ever had an impressionable teen, or been acquainted with a New Age aficionado, in what way has the Lord shown you to witness or be an example to draw that person into a relationship with God?

Write us and let us know. Be sure to include your email address. We'll toss you into the hat to win Linda's book.

CONGRATULATIONS TO JAN CLINE OF SPOKANE, WASHINGTON! Be watching for your book, Jan. And thanks so much!


  1. Linda,

    I'm so excited to see that you have a new book out. I pray that the story will touch many hearts.

  2. Sounds like a great book - speaking as a Scottish lassie (maiden name is McQueen)! Would love to read this one!

    Blessings -

    Please come by my blog for book reviews, giveaways (two in progress!), and miscellaneous other sundries!


  3. I love Linda's books and am excited for this new one.

  4. I love history and I agree that it is a great way to reach people with stories they may be more likely to believe and remember. Great interview.

  5. I love the time period and there are so few books published in it. So excited about this series. Thanks for the interview. Very interesting.

    bookwurm70 at gmail dot com

  6. Great testimony and sharing. Thanks. I would want to just be an example in my life of what is pleasing to God, I think. We can share so much but the rest is the example we leave. and then prayer.
    Please sign me up. I would love to win this book.
    Janice Ian

  7. I love Linda's books, and was so tickled to meet her at an ACFW conference.

    Please put me in the drawing!


  8. I'm delighted to see familiar names and new names responding to my blog on HEALER. In response to sharing my testimony, sometimes I think that's why God allows bad things to happen. He doesn't cause them, but allows them as He did with Job.

    Because when we have been through an ordeal, we have a choice of how to act. We can become better or bitter.

    My daughter was bitter at first. And that's normal. She was bitter at her therapist who could not possibly know her pain because the assault didn't happen to the therapist. "She doesn't know my pain from reading a book."

    I recall telling my daughter that I didn't know why God allowed this to happen, but I did know that He would use her pain to help others. That somehow He would pull triumph from the ashes.

    He did. Many years later, my daughter got her masters in social work and is a counselor. Broken people come to her and she helps them put the pieces back together. Yet, when the assault happened, she'd had another major in mind.

    Is God awesome or what?

    Thanks for dropping by the site and God bless,
    Linda Windsor, recovering from an awful cold.
    PS: I haven't figured out the good that comes from a cold unless it makes me appreciate being well.

  9. I hate to be repetitive, but it is always a treat to read a Linda Windsor book. I especially am fond of your humor. It's real. Thanks for the honest and touching post.

    Tina (Novinski) Radcliffe

  10. this book sounds wonderful...thanks for the opportunity to read it :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  11. Thanks for a good interview and interesting also. It is difficult to talk with young people these days. I don't know how people do it. Your book sounds like a great way to witness.
    thanks again.
    C. Conn