CL winter 09-10 - Evangelical Church Library Association

CL winter 09-10 - Evangelical Church Library Association

There are also some good Internet sites

from universities with women’s studies

programs that I referenced. I had

already done a lot of research about

abolition and the Civil War for my

three-book Refiner’s Fire series, so I

was able to refer to all of my notes from

those books.”

Creating Characters

Telling the stories that history books

overlook, Austin purposefully places

women center stage in nearly all of her

historical novels; however, of all her

leading ladies, she does not completely

identify herself with any one.

“All of my characters have a little

bit of me in them, but I wouldn’t say

that I am particularly similar to any of

them. It sounds crazy sometimes. But

once I start writing about them, they

take on their own personalities; and I

can’t control them anymore. Even

when I do originally create them to be

like me or someone I know, they end

up becoming their own persons.”

Allowing her characters to develop

their own personalities, Austin writes

about the issues of faith, hope, and love

that women of every generation

struggle with. Though Waters Roar is

narrated by a brave heroine, Harriet

Sherwood, as she awaits judgment for

her efforts to achieve social justice. Telling

the tales of three generations of

women who preceded her, Harriet consoles

herself in her jail cell; and in each

recollection she finds evidence of

“What “What I I tr try tr y to to show


in in my my novels novels is


that that life life may may be


hard, hard, but but God God is


always always sovereign.”




God’s redemption.

“The biggest thing is learning to love

God and the person He created you to

be,” Austin said. “As human beings,

we all desire to be loved, but the

trouble comes when we look for that

love in the wrong places.”

Like the men and women of the

Bible, none of Austin’s characters are

perfect. They each face a series of conflicts,

both personal and generational,

that test their strengths and tempt their

weaknesses, ultimately revealing

greater truths about the grand-scale

struggles of their time.

“Whenever I start writing, I begin

with a few characters in mind,” Austin

said. “Then I put those characters

in certain situations and a time period

and watch how it all plays out. By the

time I begin writing, I usually have

done enough research, so I know what

events will take place in each

character’s life. Then I see how the

characters react to those events.

“I never start a book with a message

in mind because then my writing becomes

too preachy. But once the plot

starts coming together, I am able to find

messages in what I have written. It’s

strange, but usually the messages in

my novels are similar to what I heard

or experienced when I was writing

them. Everything ties together.”

Since the release of Though Waters

Roar, Austin has been researching a different

era of American history, putting

together the pieces of a drama that will

hit bookshelves this year. “My next

novel, While We’re Far Apart, takes

place during the 1940s in New York,

and it is about World War II.”

Getting Help From the Bible

Through all of her literary and historical

endeavors, Austin’s most poignant

source of inspiration and motivation is

her Bible. As the characters in her novels

come to understand, life is full of

adversity; but a life devoted to the Lord

is strengthened in times of trial and restored

by His steadfast love.

Lynn Austin’s Novels

All She Ever Wanted

Chronicles of the Kings series

(previously, God and Kings


God and Kings

Song of Redemption

The Strength of His Hand

Faith of My Fathers

Among the Gods

Eve’s Daughters

Hidden Places* (also a Hallmark

movie on DVD)

A Proper Pursuit*

Refiner’s Fire series

Candle in the Darkness*

Fire by Night*

A Light to My Path

Though Waters Roar

Until We Reach Home*

Wings of Refuge

A Woman’s Place

All from Bethany House.

*Christy Award winners.

“I think my greatest help through

the trials in my life has come from reading

God’s Word on a daily basis,” Austin

said. “Most of the people in the

Bible dealt with the same trials and

hardships we encounter, yet God was

faithful through them all. I have found

that as I’ve faced difficulties, I would

recall God’s faithfulness from Scripture

stories, examples of how God expects

me to respond.

“I’ve learned that the more familiar

I am with Scripture, the more I can find

comfort and direction through life’s trials.

What I try to show in my novels is

that life may be hard, but God is always

sovereign. He will help us

through every difficulty and accomplish

His purposes.”


Kara Hackett is a professional writing major

at Taylor University and a reviewer for

Church Libraries.

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 11


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