Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time. Lynn was recently inducted into the Christy Award Hall for Fame for winning eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in Michigan.
For more, visit her at www.lynnaustin.org
Thank you so much, Savanna. I’m honored to be your guest. The cover for On This Foundation is one of my favorites ever!
What was one of your favorite discoveries during your research for On This Foundation?
I had a chance to travel to Jerusalem while I was researching this book and saw the actual remains of Nehemiah’s wall. It was thrilling to touch the stones that he and his men worked so hard to put into place. I could tell by the wall’s somewhat haphazard construction that they had been in a big hurry to finish. Accomplishing it in only 52 days under enemy threats was a miracle. But a close second to my experience of seeing Nehemiah’s wall was discovering this verse in Nehemiah 3:12—“Shallum son of Hallohesh…repaired the next section with the help of his daughters.” Who were these women who defied convention and risked their own safety to help their father build his portion of the wall? That happy discovery led to one of the main storylines in the novel.
Wow. I bet that was incredible! What do you hope readers will remember the most from your Restoration Chronicles?
I hope they’ll remember that the story told in Ezra and Nehemiah can also be our story. God calls us to return to Him even if we’ve wandered far away; we can trust Him to be with us through all the fires and storms in our lives; He wants to help us restore and rebuild what was lost; and He longs to guide us and direct our future.
When did you first start speaking? What is your favorite subject to talk about?
When my first book, God’s and Kings, was published in 1995, I began getting requests to speak to a wide variety of groups. I didn’t want to talk about myself or make these talks into advertisements for my book. So I spoke about the theme that has been at the core of all 23 of my novels—God’s love and faithfulness. I love to reassure my audiences that God’s love is unfailing and then inspire them to find their unique calling (the way I found mine as a writer) and play their part in building His kingdom.
Out of all the stories you’ve written so far, which one was the easiest to write? Can you explain why?
My novel Wonderland Creek was probably the easiest to write because I had such fun with it. The research trip I made to eastern Kentucky inspired me with its beautiful, rugged scenery. I could easily imagine Alice, my city-slicker heroine, traveling there. She is a librarian and a book-lover but all of her life experiences come from books, not real life. So I decided to give her some real adventures from all the types of stories she loves—romance, mystery, a treasure hunt, suspense, and so on. It was a lot of fun to dream up all these escapades for Alice, and then adding humor to the story wherever I could. The novel was different from many of my others and a pleasure to write.
Several of your novels have won the Christy Award. Can you share with us a special memory, a special moment, from one of those times?
The very first time my book was a finalist for the Christy Award, I had no idea what to expect. I had worked so hard to get published and trusted God through all the ups and downs of that process. There were so many times I nearly gave up and went back to teaching. I still didn’t feel as though I’d “made it” as an author and questioned whether God really wanted me to keep writing books for a living. When they called my name and announced that Hidden Places had won the Christy Award, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of God’s presence and blessing. I don’t remember walking up to accept the award, or hearing the applause, or any of that. I felt God smiling down at me and saying “Well done, faithful servant.” I knew He wanted me to keep writing.
I’m currently finishing the final chapters of my next novel, Waves of Mercy. It’s what I call a “family saga,” where the characters tell their stories from the past, intertwined with the current storyline. I have always loved writing this type of book—Eve’s Daughters, Hidden Places, Though Waters Roar, for example—and so I enjoyed returning to it. The setting for this novel is the town of Holland, Michigan and the Dutch immigrant families who settled it in the 1840s when it was nothing but a barren wilderness inhabited by Native Americans. By the 1890s the town was thriving, and the beautiful resort hotels on Lake Michigan attracted wealthy vacationers from Chicago. These two settings are interwoven in what I hope is a satisfying and entertaining story.
Sounds so intriguing! Can’t wait! 🙂 It’s been a joy to have you with us today. Have a blessed 2016!
Lynn has graciously offered to give away 3 copies of On This Foundation to three lucky winners. Enter below and it could be you!
Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends February 16, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!