Fiction is based on conflict and every conflict has a spiritual dilemma or theme involved. Trust and forgiveness are almost always a given. The challenge of following God’s Word or one’s own is another, especially when doing the right thing doesn’t make sense or involves great risk. And one of my favorites is God’s answering prayer, but not in the way it was expected. That said, I am most passionate about telling the early history of the church in my Dark Age historicals Fires of Gleannmara series- Maire, Riona & Deirdre and my new Brides of Alba series- Healer (6/10), Thief and Rebel. These reveal information and examples that will enable Christians to effectively witness to New Age followers today. I call it fishing from the other side of the boat, as Jesus told his disciples to do. When the net of Scripture is ignored by the fish, try the history and tradition that backs it up. This is the approach I was forced to use, and by God’s grace was given, to witness to my daughter after she’d been assaulted in college, blamed and turned against God, and became involved in Wicca (white witchcraft.) It took eight years of pondering, but the seeds had been planted and God and I watered them at every chance with love.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Maire was re-released with a gorgeous new cover in the summer of 2009. Its sequel and Christy finalist Riona will be re-released with its new cover in summer 2010. For new books, the Healer will hit the shelves in June 2010. It’s my hope that the re-release of the Irish Gleannmara books will pave the way for the its Scottish counterpart set in Arthurian Britain. Bear in mind that Arthur and Merlin were titles, not always given names. So the documented Scottish Arthur of the same given name is featured in the background of Healer, along with Merlin, who is a Christian Druidic priest. It’s a look at the little known side of Camelot; the early British church, established by Jesus’ family in the first century; and the survival of those apostolic bloodlines as well as that of David. (No, not the DaVinci Code bloodline.)
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I would love to talk the Pope into letting me into the Vatican library, unhindered. But since that is not likely, Dr. David Jeremiah, Grant Jeffreys or anyone well-versed in church history. It would be a long night.
How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
Since the early seventies when I read a less than stellar historical romance and thought to myself, “I could do this well…maybe better.” I wrote two 700 plus page historical romances, which, after total re-writing, were published in 1990. In between that first draft and the final one, life happened with said novels sitting in a box in my attic. I trashed them during a move and my late husband saved them, encouraging me to write again. God bless him.
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I often tell aspiring writers that rejections are like footprints in the sand. If you don’t see them, you’re not moving toward your goal of publication. Rejections are steps toward improvement. Just writing the rejected material puts you ahead of where you were. Often rejection letters contain constructive advice, which can salvage the work or make the next project even better. They are the fire that purifies the craft and the writer. Having had my share and probably someone else’s
I’ve already told you about the background and setting, but the series is about three brothers whose lives and faith are changed by their lady loves—a healer, a thief, and a rebel.
In HEALER, a dying mother’s prophecy to her murderer—The Gowrys seed shall divide your high and mighty house and bring a peace beyond the ken of your wicked soul--sentences her daughter to twenty years in hiding. A descendant of the British apostolic bloodline and trained as a healer like her mother, how can Brenna fulfill her calling when the enemy O’Byrnes seeks her death and her own clan would have her lead them to certain annihilation against their oppressors? When Brenna rescues an ambushed warrior, her gift heals his wounds, but only her love—and God’s—can heal his tortured soul. But is he the answer to her loneliness or her worst nightmare?
Ronan O’Byrne awakens from a near death experience at the mercy of the very witch his tormented father has feared for so many years. But how can this lovely and loving creature be anything but an angel? Perhaps the prophecy didn’t mean the destruction of his clan, but the resurrection of an alliance—a peace beyond understanding. At least the understanding of his father and brothers. A product of twenty years of bitterness and distrust, Ronan wonders if he is bewitched like his father before him or if love, much less God, is real. And who tried to kill him?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Glenarden, Manau Gododdin, 20 years later...
Although cold enough to frost one's breath, the day was as fair as the general mood of the gathering at the keep of Gleanarden. The only clouds were those breaking away, fat with snow from the shrouded mountains—and the ever-present one upon the face of the bent old man who stood on the rampart of the gate tower. No longer able to ride much distance, Tarlach O’Byrne watched the procession form beyond.
Below the ramparts, Ronan O’Byrne adjusted the woolen folds of his brat over his shoulders. Woven by the women with threads of the clan silver, black, and scarlet, it would keep the prince warm on this brisk day. A fine dappled gray snorted in eagerness as Ronan took its reins in hand and started toward the gate. Beyond, the people he would govern upon his father’s death awaited. Clansmen and kin, farmer and craftsman, all turned out for the annual hunt, but they were more excited still over the festivities that awaited their return.
The youngest of the O’Byrne brothers rode through them, unable to contain his excitement any longer. “By father’s aching bones, Ronan, what matters of great import keep you now?”
Were the pest any other but his youngest brother, Ronan might have scowled, deepening the scar that marked the indent of his cheek--a physical reminder of this travesty that began years ago. Alyn was the pride and joy of Glenarden and Ronan was no exception to those who admired and loved the precocious youth.
“Only a raid on the mill by our neighbors,” Ronan answered his youngest sibling.
His somber gaze belayed the lightness in his voice. Too smart to burn it, the thieves made off with the stores and the miller’s quern. Ronan had already sent a replacement hand mill to the mistress. The grain would be harder to replace now that the harvest was over and the excess had been sold. It galled Ronan to buy back his own produce at a higher price than he’d received from merchants in Carmelide. This was the hard lot he faced—this farce or hunting down the scoundrels and taking back what was rightfully his.
But every year on the anniversary of the Gowrys slaughter, Tarlach insists the O’Byrne clan search the hills high and low for Llas and Joanna’s heir. Instead of going off on a madman’s goose chase after his imagined enemy, a mountain nymph who could shape-shift into a wolf at will, the O’Byrne’s manpower would best be spent ransacking and burning one of the Gowrys mountain settlements in retribution, for they were undoubtedly the culprits. It was the only reasoning the thieves understood - burn their ramshackle hovels and take some of their meager stock in payment.
“Can I ride after them on the morrow with you?” Alyn's deep blue eyes, inherited from their Pictish mother, were alight with the idea of fighting and possible bloodshed. It was only because he'd never tasted it firsthand. “After the Witch’s End?”
Witch's End. Disgust pulled at Ronan’s mouth. That's what Tarlach O'Byrne dubbed the celebration of the massacre that had made him an invalid and driven him to the brink of insanity. In the old chief’s demented thought, he’d brought justice to those who betrayed him and stopped an enchantress forever. Sometimes, as on this particular day, it pushed him beyond reason, for it was a reminder that there was one thing left undone. The heiress of Gowrys still lived to threaten Glenarden…at least in his mind.
Here's the book trailer:
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Thank you, Linda, for this special time with us.
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