Sunday, February 10, 2013

Please Welcome Jeanette Windle

As daughter of missionary parents, award-winning author and journalist Jeanette Windle grew up in the rural villages, jungles, and mountains of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones. Her detailed research and writing is so realistic that it has prompted government agencies to question her to determine if she has received classified information. Currently based in Lancaster, PA, Jeanette has lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty on five continents. Those experiences have birthed 16 international intrigue titles, including bestselling Tyndale House Publishers release Veiled Freedom, a 2010 ECPA Christian Book Award and Christy Award finalist and sequel Freedom's Stand, a 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award and Carol Award finalist and 2011 Golden Scroll Novel of the Year finalist. Jeanette mentors Christian writers in both English and Spanish on all five continents.

It is my pleasure to talk to Jeanette today about her new Tyndale House Release Congo Dawn.

 Is there a story behind your book Congo Dawn?
My latest Tyndale House release Congo Dawn takes place against the backdrop of the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri rainforest war zones.  Why this particular setting?

Growing up in the world's largest rainforest, the Amazon, I was captivated by missionary biographies from its second-largest African counterpart, the Congo. Among them the story of Dr. Helen Roseveare, who helped establish several mission hospitals and medical training centers in the Ituri rainforest despite violence and unrest of impending Congolese independence, herself held captive for five months during the 1964 Simba rebellion. The largest of those centers Nyankunde was in turned razed in 2002 during the continuing conflict that has taken more than five million Congolese lives in the last decade. Today's fighting is greatly aggravated by the value and pursuit of conflict minerals in that zone. 
As always, it has been the mission pilots, medical personnel both expatriate and Congolese, and other followers of Yesu, Jesus Christ, who have been first back into the conflict zones well ahead of United Nations, embassy, local law enforcement or any other humanitarian and corporate interests. Their courage in shining bright the light of Yesu's love in one of the planet's darkest corners gave voice to this story.

As to Congo Dawn's actual suspense thread, I've had personal opportunity to witness what a multinational corporation is capable of in back alleys of the Third World when no one is watching (an experience in itself too unbelievable to write up as fiction). In Africa as elsewhere, both the protective and striking arm of such corporations has historically been hired foreign mercenaries. But today's private military corporations are vastly different, possessing more fire power than the average country. What struck me was the lack of any accountability to outside oversight beyond some paid-off local warlord.

So what happens when a multinational corporation with unlimited funds hires on a private military company with unbridled power in a Congolese rainforest where the ultimate conflict mineral is up for grabs? Coming up with one very plausible possibility birthed Congo Dawn.

What started you on your writing journey?

If there is one interview question I receive frequently, it is why write about such controversial subjects as the international counternarcotics war, Marxist guerrillas in Latin America, the Islamic fundamentalist threat south of our borders or Afghanistan, the cry of the oppressed in hostile nations. The answer is actually simple. We as writers are told to "write what we know". I write about the world I know, a world well outside of safe American borders. After growing up in Latin America's guerrilla zones, I spent 16 years with my husband as missionaries in Bolivia, one of the world’s top-five most corrupt countries, where I had the dubious privilege of watching from the front-row the development of a 'narco-democracy' which birthed my first adult international intrigue novel, CrossFire.

From there we were called to mission leadership with a ministry that serves in more than fifty countries on five continents. As result, I have now lived in six countries and traveled in more than thirty, including such difficult corners of the planet as Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka.  Those places and people and the spiritual lessons God has taught me along the journey have spilled over to become the settings and themes of my books.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
The constant interruptions of serving in full-time ministry as a missionary, missions journalist, editor, speaker, and other ministry responsibilities. Especially because I spend so many weeks each year traveling and speaking, often overseas. I would love to just hole up for a few months and write. But the very ministry opportunities around the world that cut into my writing also give me the material and inspiration for my next book. So it comes back to the challenge of finding balance and discipline to keep on writing no matter what is swirling around my daily life.

 What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Growing up in the Amazon jungles and Andes mountains of Colombia and Venezuela, my favorite childhood memories involve God's wonderful creation. Canoeing up and down jungle rivers. Flying in Cessna or traveling over high mountain passes to boarding school in Venezuela. Hiking Andes trails too steep for mule-back and jungle paths with monkeys and parrots chattering overhead. Swinging on vines into a mountain pool below just like Swiss Family Robinson, shooting whitewater rapids on inner-tubes.

 Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

Everything in my novels is based on actual events and situations in the countries of which I write, though not necessarily from my own life. A good example: depictions of jungle captivity in my Colombian guerrilla zone novel The DMZ came not from my own experience, but from personal friends who did spend up to years in captivity. However, one advantage of having traveled in thirty-plus countries on five continents is that I can pull a lot of sights, sounds, smells, and experiences from my own memory banks, whether the taste of Afghanistan's fine dust in the mouth, the moist fragrance of a high mountain cloud forest, or the chittering, cawing, croaking orchestra of an equatorial jungle.

More importantly, the emotional and spiritual threads of my novels and their protagonists have been birthed very definitely from the life journeys through which God has taken me and the spiritual battles and lessons involved.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

My ultimate goal in every book I write, however much a "thriller," is to share with the reader my own heartfelt conviction that, for all the turmoil and conflict and pain in our world, this universe does make sense and has both a purpose and a loving Creator. The scenarios in my books are only too real. But if a life spent in some of the planet’s more difficult corners has taught me more than I wish I knew about the depravity of which a godless mankind is capable, it has taught me far more of God’s overriding sovereignty and love. If I did not have the absolute assurance that the course of human history and current events as well as my own life lie in the hands of a loving heavenly Father, I would not have the nerve to research, much less write, the stories that I do.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I don't yet have a publication date (it is a multi-book project). But after seven consecutive adult international intrigue titles and a juvenile international mystery series, I am actually buried currently in a project that is very much outside either of those boxes, more The DaVinci Code meets Michael Crichton's Timeline than anything I've written to date. Set alternatively against a near-future and pre-diluvian Earth, Deluge is a story that has been bubbling for years, and I am excited about where it is going. But I hope I won't be leaving you in too much suspense if I reserve the details until I am much further along.

Learn more about Jeanette Windle and her books by visiting her WEBSITE.

 Purchasing Links:

Jeanette Windle is giving away a copy of  Congo Dawn. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

What a life! Can't even imagine that kind of life. I would like to win her book. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Anonymous said...

This book sounds really interesting. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Cyndi said...

Had not heard of Jeanette... thanks for the intro! As my church's librarian, this sounds like a good book to put in!


Cyndi said...

Got my free copy today and am very excited to read it! Looks like a great book! Thanks so much! :)

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