CL winter 09-10 - Evangelical Church Library Association

CL winter 09-10 - Evangelical Church Library Association

10 10 Church Libraries • Spring 2010



Bringing History

to Life

by Kara Hackett

On the brink of a new novel,

Lynn Austin has much to be

proud of. Yet, after winning

five Christy Awards (for excellence in

Christian fiction)—more than any

other author—for her historical fiction,

she remains humble, attributing her

greatest accomplishment to the upbringing

of her three children.

“This may sound cheesy, but I

would just like to be remembered for

doing my best to be a good mother and

rearing my children to believe in Jesus

Christ,” Austin said. “That is a rare

thing today.”

Becoming a Novelist

Since her novelist debut in 1995, this

self-taught author’s interest in the story

of King Hezekiah has continued to

resonate, calling forth her passion for

a God who uses imperfect people for

His perfect purpose.

“The first book I wrote was Gods and

Kings, which became a five-book series,”

she said. “The books are biblical

fiction, based on the life of the Old Testament

king Hezekiah. He has always

fascinated me. After I read his story I

kept thinking, Why isn’t he as well known

as Abraham or Isaiah?

“I found Hezekiah’s life and journey

of faith to be inspiring and decided

to ‘bring him to life’ through fiction.

He led an entire nation in a time of turmoil

and remained faithful to God, but

he wasn’t perfect. That is another rea-

son I enjoyed Hezekiah’s story: I could

relate to him. And that’s what I love

about the Bible. You would think that

if there were to be a holy book, all of

the people in that book would be holy

as well, right? But the men and women

in the Bible made mistakes as we do,

and God was able to use them anyway.”

Using Her Creativity

Although Austin writes from a Christian

worldview, she has captivated

fans of many faiths, bringing history

to life with her vivid storytelling techniques.

Before she began writing, her

creativity and passion for the past distinguished

her among her peers.

“I was a very creative child,” she

said. “I had a good imagination, and

my parents encouraged my creativity;

but I never considered writing. Even

in high school I was never recognized

for my writing. But I had a history

teacher who asked me to stay after

class one day because he liked a paper

I had written. He wanted me to write

history books; and, in a way, I ended

up doing that by writing historical fiction.”

Bringing History to Life

Austin’s creative mind incites her obsession

with history, specifically biblical

and American history, allowing her

to revisit the past and share her endeavors

with others.

Lynn Austin

“When I read history books, I can

picture it all in my mind like it’s a

story,” she said. “History is much more

than the facts you find in textbooks. It’s

about the people of each time period

and how they lived their lives.

“After the God and Kings series, my

next novel was Eve’s Daughters, which

is loosely based on the lives of the

women in my family. I was inspired

by their strength and their faith, even

though they went through some difficult

times. As I began to research the

historical background of the time periods

of my mother’s, grandmother’s

and great-grandmother’s lives, I found

a wealth of information and ideas for

more stories. The women in my family

are all strong people, but their strength

comes from their faith in God. All of

the other historical fiction I’ve written

seemed to grow out of this first book.”

Writing accurate historical fiction

requires extensive research. Austin’s

latest novel, Though Waters Roar, spans

the antislavery movement; Civil War;

temperance movement; and, finally,

women’s suffrage movement.

“I began by reading several reference

books on the women’s suffrage

movement; and they all talked about

the connections between that movement,

the women’s Christian temperance

movement, and the antislavery

movement,” she said.

“So I branched off from there and

read books about all three movements.

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