Please help me welcome debut Canadian author Christine Lindsay as she shares the fascinating story behind the story in Shadowed in Silk, her captivating historical romance set in the British-ruled India.
Take it away Christine…
Thanks, Sandra. It all started when I was a kid listening to stories my mother told of our Irish ancestors who served in the British Army in India. As a young woman I devoured the blockbuster novels by the great MM Kaye who wrote sweeping romantic epics set in British ruled India, an era of dashing military exploits, cavalry charges, handsome English officers and their stiff upper lips. English Pomp, and of English memsahibs sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches in tropical gardens.
Then real life brought its own pain to my silly romantic heart. I became pregnant out of wedlock at the age of 20. From that point on, I decided that I was going to walk the straight and narrow with the Lord. But being unmarried, and wanting my baby to have a loving father as well as a loving mother (me), I made the tough decision to give her up for adoption. My little Sarah was 3 days old when I relinquished her to another Christian couple who could not have children.
In the year following the relinquishment of Sarah, I sought comfort at church. During a midweek prayer meeting I heard about a mission in India that had been in existence for 100 years, and cared for abused women and children. The founder of this mission, Pandita Ramabai, was a great Indian lady—a former Hindu widow who became a Christian and did phenomenal social reform before the time of Gandhi.
To this day the Ramabai Mukti mission cares for disabled women and those rescued from sexual slavery. This true-life interest only added to what I already felt for India, and Ramabai became one of my true-life heroines.
Twenty years passed and the day came that my birth-daughter Sarah and I were reunited. But the road of adoption relinquishment and reunion is not an easy one. During and after our reunion I began to relive the original loss of Sarah all over again. As I sat crying over this loss one day, my husband brought me a pen and journal and said, “Write it.”
That was the beginning of my writing career, as I felt the Lord urge me to put into fiction the truths that had brought me emotional healing.
Ten years later, my debut novel was about to be released. I’d written the kind of book I loved to read, set in the flamboyant era of the British Raj, but with a Christian viewpoint. The main character, Abby, was an American woman who comes to India to find intrigue, a broken heart, and then romance.
But there was also an import and integral secondary character, Miriam. The true-life heroine, Pandita Ramabai was the inspiration behind my Miriam. Miriam, a former Hindu widow, now a Christian, rescues abused women and children, and her clinic becomes a safe haven for Abby.
My publisher was looking for a pretty model to represent my fictional Abby for the front cover of my book. On a whim I suggested Sarah.
But it wasn’t until after the photo-shoot that I realized God had bracketed the conception of my fictional career and its debut with my beautiful real-life muse. But He wasn’t finished yet. He was writing another chapter to our true-life adoption story.
During the design of my front cover, Sarah and her husband were in the midst of applying to various missions. As ER nurses they both felt called to full-time missionary work. Several months after my novel was released, Sarah announced they were going to serve with Global Aid Network—GAIN. One of the bigger projects they will oversee is the Ramabai Mukti Mission.
I couldn’t believe my ears. Why India? Why this mission, the place founded by one of my true-life heroines Pandita Ramabai. Sarah, had no way of knowing this tidbit about my book. Only God knew.
As I look back on the road of adoption relinquishment and reunion—and my writing—I’m amazed at the boldness of God’s pen strokes in my life. It’s no wonder I write.
Sandra again, I don’t know about you readers, but I got shivers after reading that. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us today, Christine. If you’d like to read Shadowed in Silk you will find it in paperback and Ebook at all your favorite online retailers, or ask your local bookstore to order a copy in for you.