Friday, March 18, 2011

with Christine Sunderland

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Christine!
What started you on your writing journey?
I have had the opportunity to visit England, France, and Italy, as well as Hawaii many times over the last twenty years, and have kept extensive travel journals. These journals, sometimes laced with meditations and poems, eventually became the basis for my first three novels, Pilgrimage, set in Italy, Offerings, set in France, and Inheritance, set in England. In my travels I have been fascinated with the nature of body and soul, as well as the Christian heritage of the West, the history of the Church. In this trilogy I explored themes of grief, terminal illness, and the sanctity of life.

I then wrote Hana-lani set in Hana, Maui, which is a stand-alone. This is a fast-paced novel with thought provoking themes dealing with our American culture, in particular the importance of family and history, and the definition of love.

I have experienced the joy of using words and images to create a story to reveal truth, to grapple with questions of belief and to consider cultural trends, both good and bad. I have grown to love writing, and have found my weekly blog a good outlet as well as my current work in progress, The Magdalene Mystery.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Life. But then, life provides the material for writing! I've learned to write whenever I can, and try to be regular with my blog posting. But family and church commitments generally come first. I often find myself writing in airports, planes, and hotels.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
In fiction, I look for poetic language, a good story, and serious themes. I recommend Children of Men by P.D. James; The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards; Father Elijah by Michael D. O'Brien; War in Heaven by Charles Williams; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; The Death of a Pope by Piers Paul Read, Father Elijah by Michael D. O'Brien. I love history as well, and have appreciated Barbara Tuchman, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Paul Johnson.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I fall in love with all of my characters, and I suppose it is true what folks say, that some of the author is reflected in every character. If I had to choose, I would choose Nani-lei, for I have known so many elderly women who have taught me so much through the years. I am truly grateful for their mentoring and friendship.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I would hope something Baroque. I love the idea of the fugue, where repeating themes wind around each other, reflecting upon one another in different ways. Music with depth.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
While hiking in a Hawaiian rain forest, I tripped on a rock, flew through the air arms outstretched, and softly landed in high grass where an angry guinea hen, defending a nearby nest, batted her wings and glared at me with menacing beady eyes. (an experience I used in Hana-lani)

What is your strangest habit?
I may be addicted to soy nut butter with sliced apples.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
I dread talking on the phone so I put off phone calls and email if I can. Something about the disembodied voice, where I can't read facial expressions, I find frustrating. This, however true, seems really strange in today's world of cell phones! This might be part of quirky.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Fresh salmon or other fish lightly baked served with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Caesar salad. Sourdough bread or rice. Simple stuff. Sometimes I cook the salmon on a bed of pearl onions and soy marinade. Sometimes I lather Dijon country mustard on top.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
The love of God, the Incarnation, the nature of truth and why we believe. Healing, both physical and spiritual. Trust, grief, forgiveness, the nature of love. The relationship of the body to the soul. The Gospel in all of its glory.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
John 1:1-14 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

This is one of many favorite passages in the Bible. I love it not just for the poetry and the beauty, but because it largely summarizes what Christians believe. In our Anglican tradition, this is the Gospel reading for Christmas Day.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I am currently working on a novel set in the present about a quest for the truth about first-century Mary Magdalene, The Magdalene Mystery. The characters search churches in Rome and move on to Provence. Themes involve historical truth, Internet lies and incivility, and New Testament scholarship (how it is done, what are the current debates), free speech. There is also a love story that develops in the course of the novel. The Magdalene Mystery will probably not be published for another year.

You can purchase Hana Lani from Amazon.

Christine is giving away a copy of Hana Lani. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Anonymous said...

I still love the cover..I could look at it all day. I will have to ad Christine Sunderland to my list of authors to read!


Molly AT reviewsbymolly DOT com

Charlotte Kay said...

Another new author for me!
Thanks for the chance to win her book!
I love it that she has a travel journal!!!
Many Blessings and Smiles:)
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a great book!

Thanks for the chance to win.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Good interview! Sounds like a great read.

lgm52 said...

Beautiful, peaceful cover..would love to win a copy to read.

Meredith said...

Great interview. Would love to add that cover to my vacation plans!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love the cover, and sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review and interview..

cjajsmommy said...

Thank you for the author interview. I can very much relate to how she feels about the phone. Please enter me for a copy of her book.

windycindy said...

What an interesting cast of characters! Also, Christine's
book sounds very hopeful...
Many thanks, Cindi

Jo said...

This sounds wonderful and the cover is delightful. Please enter me


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