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Friday Friends: Interview with the Characters of Shadowed in Silk

Interview of characters from Historical Romance Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay. EBook is available now, paper version Sept. 2011.

Leave a comment and your name will be put into the hat to win a free E-copy of Shadowed in Silk. [Draw is now closed, Stephanie is our winner, and I hope she enjoys the novel as much as I did. Thank you to everyone who commented!]

Christine Lindsay, author of Shadowed in Silk: First of all, on behalf of Major Geoff Richards and Abby Fraser, I’d like to thank you, Janet, for inviting all 5 of us, real and fictional. We brought along Eshana, Abby’s maid, and of course, Abby’s little 3-year-old son, Cam.

Christine:  So Abby, let’s start with you. Why did you decide to sail to India in Dec. 1918?

Abby: The war in Europe was over at last. I’d waited 4 years, so it was time for my husband, Nick Fraser, and I to be reunited. He’s a soldier in the British army and served the entire war here in India. We had a whirlwind romance at the beginning of the war, and unfortunately don’t know each other very well.

Christine: I’ll bet Nick was thrilled to see you at the pier in Bombay after such a long separation.

Abby: I wish that were so. But Nick didn’t meet me when my ship docked. With Geoff’s help I found my own way to the bungalow that Nick rented for me. Since then my relationship with my husband has been . . . well he’s hardly ever home.

Christine:  Oh, that must be terribly disappointing.

Eshana:  If I may say a word, it has been most upsetting for my dear friend, Abby. Perhaps we should talk of something more cheerful. Her husband, Lieutenant Fraser, is no longer even at home with her. He has been banished to a station in the wilds of Waziristan.

Christine:  You don’t say. Do I smell a bit of mystery?

Geoff:  If I may interject as this is upsetting the ladies. Nick Fraser’s commanding officer transferred him to a non-family station due to ah . . . improprieties on Nick’s part.

Christine:  Of course, Major. Let’s chat instead about you and your career as a Cavalry officer in His Majesty’s army in colonial India.

Geoff:  Be pleased to. My Indian troops and I have just been demobilized after the war in Europe. I can’t be more proud of them than I am. It is my prayer that England will keep her promise to India and grant them independence that was promised a few years ago.

Christine: I hear revolution is in the wind—all this talk of Gandhi and his peaceful rebellion.

Eshana: But the revolution might not be peaceful. There are many Indian people who wish the British to leave, and they will resort to violence to make this happen. It is the same sort of people who show violence to Christians in India. What is worse, the British are terrified and they will retaliate. We are living in fearful days.

Christine:  You are an Indian Christian, Eshana? Not a Hindu?

Eshana: I was born into a Hindu family, but when I was 13 the boy I was married to died of cholera and I was sent away to live in poverty as a child widow. But I became a follower of Christ. Now I am trying to show Abby that it is only Christ who can lift the veil of sin from us, so that God can look upon us face-to-face.

Geoff: Yes, my dear little sister-in-Christ, Eshana, has been a great help to Abby and Cam.

Christine:  I hear that you, Geoff, are also a great help to Abby and Cam. It’s hard on a little boy when his father is not a loving parent.

Geoff:  Well . . . ahem . . . I take Cam out for rides on my charger. The child does get lonely.

Christine: Cam, how do you like the rides on Major Geoff’s horse?

Three-year-old Cam (smiling):  I like Geoff’s horse. His name is Sampson. And Major Geoff is my best friend.

Christine:  But, Cam, don’t you miss your daddy?

Cam: Nope. I’m glad my dad is far away. He’s not very nice, and he smells funny when he drinks that brown stuff.

Christine: Abby, tell me more about you and Nick. Have things been difficult since you were reunited?

Abby: It is not easy for me to talk about this. I suppose . . . well I think Nick married me only to further his career. My father was a famous general . . . and well it’s Nick’s drinking and his gambling. And he can be rather nasty. Once . . . well once . . . he became abusive. I gave him an ultimatum—if he ever strikes me again, or hurts Cam . . . well I don’t believe a wife should put up with that sort of thing.

Geoff:  Abby is in a tough spot. I’ve encouraged her to befriend other Christian women. She needs the friendship of Godly women to help her through this unhappy situation, women such as Eshana. But I agree, a wife should not subject herself to abuse like that. I pray for Nick—only God can change him though.

Christine: And you, Geoff, are you Abby’s friend, like you are Cam’s friend?

Abby (flustered):  I must object to the inappropriate tone of your question, Christine. Major Geoff Richards is an honourable man. A friend of our family.  I’m grateful for his interest in my son. A boy needs a man to take an interest in him, especially when his father shows no interest what-so-ever. And there’s enough gossip in this town already. I was warned when I came out to British India that flirtation is the national sport. But Geoff is nothing like that. And neither am I. I’m doing all I can to save my marriage.

Christine:  Oh dear Abby, I didn’t mean to offend. But tell me, Geoff, are you married?

Geoff:  My wife died a year before the war began. No one could ever take my wife’s place.

Christine:  You seem to have suffered greatly during the war. I notice your right hand shakes quite a bit. Can you tell us of your experience during the war?

Geoff (shifting in his chair):  Not really . . . ahem . . . nightmares . . . the men dying . . .

Christine:  I can see this is distressing to you . . .

Eshana:  Yes, it is distressing to my brother in Christ. And I fear for Geoff’s safety and of all the soldiers. If there is going to be war between Britain and Afghanistan many men may lose their lives. But I am praying that in time, Geoff will come to see that there is still goodness in the land of the living. Right now, his heart is too sore to see this.

Christine:  One last question, Geoff, is there any truth to the rumours that there is a Russian spy in our midst, stirring up the Indian people to revolt against British rule in India?

Geoff: My dear lady, it is never wise to listen to rumours. Besides, whatever befalls us here in India, you can be sure everything will be done to protect all our citizens—British and Indian. That is my vow to you, and to the Indian people I love.

Christine: Thank you all of you for coming all the way from India for this interview. I’ll just let our readers know that Shadowed in Silk can be purchased on EBook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and anywhere else EBooks are sold.

A suspenseful, romantic read for less than the price of a couple of coffees.

The printed version comes out Sept. 2011 and can be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble as well.

Shadowed in Silk

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.

An interesting note to readers, the model for the front cover art and in the book trailer is Christine’s birth-daughter—the child she relinquished to adoption when she was 3 days old and was reunited with 20 years later.

Here’s the book trailer for Shadowed in Silk

Review: The God Cookie, by Geoffrey Wood

The God Cookie, by Geoffrey Wood (WaterBrook Press, 2009)

“Perhaps none of this would have happened had they not been arguing about golf balls.”

I don’t know about you, but I figure any book that opens with a line like that has to be worth reading. Especially when it’s written by Geoffrey Wood, who had me laughing frequently in his previous novel, Leaper.

The ones doing the arguing are Parrish, Mason and Duncan, three guys in their early 20’s who work together in Parrish’s coffee shop. They do a lot of this friendly hassling of one another, and on the day in question the topic somehow gets around to whether God talks to people. (Parrish thinks He’s real, the other two aren’t sure, and none of them pay Him much mind.)

Circumstances unfold in such a way that when Parrish opens a fortune cookie after the argument, he believes the words inside are from God. A little bemused and regretting he asked God to speak, he isn’t quite sure what God wants him to do.

Parrish ends up at a bus stop, where he befriends Rose and Audra and encounters a host of other characters. He thinks he’s supposed to help someone, and as he bumbles along trying to find who that someone is and what to do for them, he draws Audra along with him.

Geoffrey Wood is a thinker, as well as having a delightfully quirky sense of humour. His slightly detached, omniscient style works well in this story (although I did have some trouble in the opening pages, trying to figure out who was who among the three guys). It also lets him pull readers in as observers, and behind the surface storyline we can think about the deeper questions he raises about how we relate to one another—and to God.

Although the narrative feels a bit distant, it offers glimpses into individuals’ daily struggles that let readers empathize. I hope it teaches us, as the events teach John Parrish, to listen. Really listen to the people around us.

WaterBrook is a Christian publisher, but The God Cookie is a novel that should cross over well to the mainstream market. It’s definitely not “formula Christian material” (whatever that is). None of the characters go to church or do all “the right things”.

Some Christian readers may look only at the surface and close the book as moderately irreverent. That would be a mistake. Read to the end, and while you won’t find fancy theology, you’ll find spiritual truth (suitable to Christianity, not just vague truth). And it’s not irreverent, it’s honest about where these three men are in their spiritual lives at the start of the story.

We all know people like that. They don’t mean to be offensive to God, they just don’t have Him on their radars. Everyone starts that way until He pings us with His.

I’d like to know where the novel is set. It’s somewhere in the United States I presume, northern enough to need hats and gloves in February but where snow that late in the season is not a given.

Canadian readers, be warned: the novel refers to people wearing toboggans. I puzzled a bit about why one would wear a toboggan that was meant for coasting on snow, and then I wondered if an intrepid Canadian had pulled the wool over the author’s and editors’ eyes. (Bad pun intended.)

We call them toques, (or tuques, depending on who you believe). For the uninitiated, that’s pronounced to rhyme with “Luke” and it’s a knitted hat. According to Wikipedia, “toboggan” is a short form of “toboggan hat”. But on the toboggan page it sends you to the tuque page to read about the hat. It also says a toque is a chef’s hat and a tuque is a knitted hat, but any knitting pattern I’ve seen has spelled it toque. Google search obligingly provides hats for both spellings.

A traditional book review shouldn’t rabbit-trail like this, but somehow I think Parrish and his buddies would approve. Nonetheless, back on track. Here are some snippets from the novel, to show the fresh delivery Geoffrey Wood gives his prose and his ideas:

“Duncan…leaned on the espresso bar, nervously patting the top of his head with his hand, as if gentle persistence might nudge his thoughts out of hiding.” (p. 162)

“My strangling a bus sign cannot, unfortunately, be blamed on my head wound.” (p. 188, and my personal favourite line in the novel.)

“What God did next for Audra was interesting, mainly because God had been doing it all along. [without it yet being seen]” (p.266)

I laughed less with The God Cookie than with Leaper, but I thought more and got the message better. I hate to use a word like “message” because neither novel is “about” an agenda. Neither preaches. They’re about the characters. Those characters, at least the protagonists, grow and change, but it comes organically from their natures and their experiences.

The God Cookie is a brilliant novel, and I hope we’ll see more from Geoffrey Wood very soon.

Check out chapter one of The God Cookie and see if you don’t want to read more. You can read an interview with Geoffrey Wood at Novel Journey.

Here’s a video introduction to The God Cookie from the author himself.

[Review copy courtesy of my local public library.]

A Flickering Light

Here’s a trailer for Jane Kirkpatrick’s new novel,  A Flickering Light, releasing this April from WaterBrook Press.  Looks interesting, doesn’t it?

Hope for Wholeness

Sharon Fawcett is a Canadian author and speaker whose ministry offers hope: in the daily stresses common to us all, and in the anguish of depression and eating disorders.

Stop by Sharon’s website, Words of Hope for a World in Need, to check out her articles and resources. Here’s a video trailer on her new book, Hope for Wholeness: the Spiritual Path to Freedom from Depression: