Sunday, May 1, 2016

Interview with Christine Lindsay, author of Sofi's Bridge

I'd like to introduce you to Christine Lindsay, author of Sofi's Bridge. The book just released today! In it, she's written on the topic of how people deal with grief. She also touches on the subject of mental illness and how society has evolved in dealing with those who have "nervous" problems. She does all of his through her new novel, Sofi's Bridge.

I hope that you will enjoy my interivew of this talented author.

*Questions by Alexis are in bold, answers from Christine are not in bold.

Alexis: Why did you decide to make your heroine, Sofi, a debutant?

Christine: I wanted to counterbalance the life of a wealthy character against one who is financially poor. True joy and satisfaction in life doesn’t necessarily come from financial wealth. Sometimes money brings its own challenges.

Why does Sofi feel so fiercely that she must protect her sister?

Sofi grew up caring for her younger sister because their mother (a simple farmer’s daughter) never adapted well to being the wife of a wealthy man. Sofi’s mother lost a part of herself in the process so that she wasn’t the mother she should have been, causing Sofi to step in and be more to her sister than was good for all of them.

How did Sofi’s dad die? How is that detail significant to the story?

Sofi and Trina’s dad drowned when Trina was sailing with him in what used to be called the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Sofi’s Bridge is about how different people deal with grief, and the stages of grief. For example, some people struggle with survivor’s guilt, while others might self-medicate themselves like Sofi’s Mother does when she is prescribed laudanum for her nerves.

But Sofi’s Bridge is also about how Neil gives up his life in order to take care of his bereaved family back in Ireland.

Why would Sofi’s sister Trina need to be admitted to a sanatorium?

Trina is suffering from what we today call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Back in 1913, the whole science of mental health was making huge breakthroughs, as my character Neil notes about lectures he attended by psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. At that time it was not unusual for people, women especially, to be admitted to an insane asylum for bad nerves. Sofi’s Bridge touches on that new awareness regarding mental illness at the beginning of the 20th century.

Where in your fictional story world are the Cascade Mountains located? Describe the look and feel of that mountain area. What makes it special?

The Cascade Mountains is a real place in the northern, central part of Washington State and going up into Canada. I live about an hour’s drive from the Cascades, and one of my favorite places in all the world is the alpine meadows in a park on the Canadian side of the Cascades.

One of my favorite scenes has my characters sitting in that alpine meadow where the peaks of blue-tinted glaciers seem close enough to touch. The flowers are native only to great heights and create a carpet of color from red Indian Paintbrush, blue lupine, white daisies, and so many more. Up there, all you hear is the silent rush of the wind. It’s like touching the sky.

Neil Macpherson, a gardener, wants to protect Sofi and Trina. Why? What’s his motivation?

Neil has a similar personality trait as Sofi. He too is a caregiver, a nurturer, which are traits found in many nurses and doctors. The downside to that trait is Neil can’t help himself from helping others even to his own detriment. No matter what is happening in his life, he will always do his best to uphold his Hippocratic oath.

What is it about Neil that attracts Sofi?

His caring heart, the tender way he tries to help her sister. But it is also his belief in Sofi’s intellect. In a time when a wealthy society frowns on women working for a living, Neil encourages Sofi to pursue the labor of her heart. He knows how fulfilling it is to do the work that we feel created to do, and how devastating it is to not be allowed to do that work.

What is it about Sofi that makes Neil’s heart melt?

Whenever Neil talks to Sofi he feels he is talking to an intellectual equal, and also that she has no biases about people. He wishes with all his heart that he could tell her the truth about himself, believing if anyone could understand it would be Sofi.

Why does Sofi have trouble trusting Neil?

He is masquerading as a gardener, hiding his true profession. Whenever she asks him, and sometimes pleads with him, he will not tell her why he left Ireland, nor why he is no longer practicing as a doctor.

You’ve got quite the plot twist with Neil’s secret! How does his secret affect the story?

One the plot lines in Sofi’s Bridge is how people deal with grief. The character flaw that both Neil and Sofi share is that they feel they are the only ones who can save the ones they love, and thereby give up their own lives in the process.

What’s the “act of faith” that bridges the “distance that separates the lies from truth and safety”? Tell us what you can without giving away the plot.

The bridge in this book is a metaphor for the bridge of Jesus Christ, only Christ can safely take people by faith to a life with God the Father. But the “act of faith” is different for each person in this story.

Sofi, already a believer, must learn to trust God and take up the labor He has inspired within her, no matter how physically dangerous that work may be. Neil’s act of faith will be recognizing that his own attempts to save the ones he loves has created a web of lies that have only made the situation worse.

How does your journey as a woman of faith play into this story?

There were so many reasons for Sofi to not pursue her dream, and being a Christian writer these days is a difficult journey. I gave up an excellent career as an administrative assistant at a local Christian university to pursue my writing full-time. This was an act of faith on my part. Yes, there has been financial loss, but I get such delight when a reader is encouraged in their faith because of something I wrote. Much of my journey trusting God for my creative life as an author comes through Sofi when she talks about building bridges.

What did you love the most about writing Sofi’s Bridge? Why?

As I mentioned in the previous question, trusting God for the creative labor He placed in my heart is what I love most in this book. So many of us—men and women—have a certain labor that makes our hearts sing. Sadly in life, we don’t all get to do the work that gives us the greatest fulfillment, but as in all things, we can look to our wonderful God and trust Him for the desires of our heart.

What was the most challenging part of writing this story?

With a complex mystery twist, it was a bit challenging in places to make all the characters’ actions and motivations plausible, but I believe I made it. 

What was your go-to food or beverage while writing Sofi’s Bridge?

I’m Irish born, so my go-to beverage is always a pot of Irish Breakfast tea, or good old Red Rose orange pekoe.

What do you want your readers to treasure about this book?

I want readers to be encouraged that often the dreams in our hearts have been placed there by God. Ask the Lord if that secret dream in your heart—such as mine was to be a writer—was put there by Him. Then trust your heavenly Father to help you toward that goal. Keep in mind, that often it is the journey toward the goal that is important to God and not necessarily success as seen by worldly standards.

Author bio:

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight

Christine’s Irish wit and her use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming and her newest release Sofi’s Bridge.

Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. Coming August 2016 is the release of Christine’s non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.

Please drop by Christine’s website or follow her on Amazon on Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and Goodreads.

Buy Sofi's Bridge:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Alexis for having me as a guest today. It's a joy to talk about Sofi's Bridge, especially about the issue of emotional health.


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