My recent interview by Celeste perrino Walker–and my subsequent interview of her–started something very positive. Celeste used the term “indie Christian” to refer to a new type of Christian novel that is just beginning. I hope to help promote all promising indie authors, but especially those who are writing along Christian themes. Here is my recent interview with newcomer Holly Michael, and her fantastic new book Crooked Lines.
At first a bit scary, but when the reviews began to roll in and I saw how much readers enjoyed it, I was really enthused. It’s tough for a new author to get noticed, so I’m hoping Crooked Lines is more and more in the public eye.
2. Tell us about Crooked Lines. What kind of book is it?
One Amazon reviewer said that Crooked Lines defies genre. It was interesting to read reviews and see how people categorized it. One reviewer claimed it as literary fiction, “but without the unreadable stuff being called that today.” It’s called a luminous story, an inspirational story. Others categorized it as Christian fiction, and yet a few non-Christian readers commented that they were surprised by how much they loved it. A Hindu reader also gave a very favorable review.
Here’s my back cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed. Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.
3. What are your expectations for this book?
New York Times Best Seller! Oprah’s Book Club Selection!
Of course, I pray my writing gives hope and encourages others to open their hearts to Christ and His plan for their lives. I prayed a lot about writing this book, about telling the story of Rebecca and Sagai, but ultimately, I wanted to show how God has a plan for each of us and how he can write straight through the crooked lines of our lives.
4. What kind of feedback have you received from readers? Critics?
So far all positive. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback. And I love that many of the readers asked for a sequel. I’m working on that now.
5. What made you decide to move from writing articles to a Christian novel?
Nearly fifteen years ago, I quit writing. I’d been writing personal essays for magazines and grew tired of rejection letters. So, I went for a walk and let the Lord know that I wasn’t going to be wasting any more time writing unless he showed me a clear sign why I should continue. I returned home to a blinking answering machine. At the beep, an editor for Guideposts for Teens magazine said she wanted to publish my essay. That day, I dedicated my writing to God and asked him to lead me. Since then, he’s led me on so many different pathways in writing: freelancing for magazines, newspaper writing, journalism, ghostwriting, editing for corporations. After a few years, I had a lot going on in my personal life and took a break. Then, a former client asked if I’d write a novel for him, based on some of his life experiences. I was hooked! I really liked fiction writing.
6. I see you are understandably proud of your children. How is your personal life reflected in your writing?
Above all, above my writing career, I wanted to be a mother. And God blessed me with three lovely children—two boys and a girl, now grown. My oldest, Jake, is a type 1 diabetic who plays in the NFL and we have a devotional contracted with Harvest House, coming out next fall called: First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. They’ve always encouraged me in my writing.
7. Your novel is partially set in India, a place you have visited several times. Do you intend to always write about places you have been?
I’ve been so blessed to visit India several times (My husband is from India). Each trip, we visit a different part of India and I am always surprised at the diversity of the country–from the mountains to the seashore. The sequel to Crooked Lines starts out on a tsunami devastated village in South India. My husband (a pastor) and I were there, in India, ten days after the 2004 tsunami for mission work.
8. What are you working on now?
I’m working on the sequel, mentioned above. And since 2014 is the ten year anniversary of the tsunami, we are going to India next month to follow up with the orphans we helped ten years ago–a then and now small book. After that, I’ll release the sequel, then I have another novel that I’ll edit again, then release. I’m thinking about expanding it as the third in my series. I have some nonfiction ideas for devotionals I’m also going to pitch at an upcoming writer’s conference.
Holly Michael has a great fan website (writingstraight.com), but more importantly, she has a great book. Make sure you pick one up soon.