I enjoy reading almost as much as I enjoy writing, and with so many wonderful authors pumping out one great story after another, my passion for great words will be fueled for quite some time. Reading Linda Windsor’s novel, Healer, is like stepping into another world, a world of romance, courage, uncertainty and yet, unyielding faith.
Intrigued by this Arhurian Scottland novel, the first in the Brides of Alba trilogy, I shot Linda an email loaded with questions. Her responses amazed me, and made me love her story even more. Thanks, Linda, for being so real with us. Ah, transparency. I love it!
Me: Brenna Gowry lives during a very tumultuous time and is forced to deal with horrors that most of couldn’t even imagine at a very young age. Where does she derive her strength?
Linda: The beauty of Brenna is that she has been raised in isolation from all that. Until she was forced into hiding, she was educated by the Sisters of Avalon, who like Brenna, are descended from Britain’s first century apostolic lineage. Her life has been saturated by Scripture and those who live it, including her nurse. Brenna is well aware that horrible things happen, things she cannot change, like the loss of her family.
But her hope and faith is in the now and future…what can be through God’s love. She believes God has a plan, even the darkest of her hours. She sees the best in people instead of the worst. What they can be. This is what draws the embittered hero to her and moves him to want to protect this innocent. However, he soon sees that Brenna’s faith and God are stronger and more effective than his sword.
Me: What do you most admire about Brenna?
Linda: I’ve never had a heroine who was quite so grounded in her faith, although she is no saccharine character. Brenna struggles with her temper, with her will versus God’s. Her pragmatic approach of reining in her feelings to work or pray a problem through is the result of learning that feelings are not reliable, but the Word is. Feelings are of this world and will change. The Word will not. So she faces internal conflict with this time and again. I can relate to this conflict of faith over feelings from having been through the pits of chemical depression, another type of isolation, but isolation nonetheless.
The one time she does take the matter of her loneliness into her own hands instead of waiting on the Lord, she makes a muck of things. When I do the same, I make a muck of me. But I’m a slower learner than Brenna <g>.
Me: What motivated you to write this story?
Linda: I have always been fascinated with the Dark Ages and early Christianity. What did the early Christians have or do that tamed the barbarians when Roman swords could not? Yes, I know it’s God’s love and the Word, but how did they spread it so effectively? History is full of what the church has done wrong in the past, but what did it do right? Having written a trilogy set this same era in Ireland (The Fires of Gleannmara—MAIRE, RIONA, and DEIRDRE), my research gave me many answers.
These enabled me to reach my daughter who was stalked and assaulted in college, turned against God in anger, and became involved in Wicca, or white witchcraft. Her return to her faith turned my interest into a passion to reach out to other New Age believers (New Age being old age at the core) and to educate Christians to be effective witnesses, rather than drive nonbelievers away with judgmental attitudes born of fear and misunderstanding.
Me: What is the main message or truth you hoped to convey?
The information garnered from my research opened the lines of discussion with my daughter and New Age believers, enabling me to witness effectively for Christ. She wouldn’t hear it from the Bible. Man could have made the Scripture up in her skewed view. But tidbits from history and the traditions (from more than one culture or nation) of the very scholars, or druids, so revered by New Age aficionados? Yes, she’d hear that.
It didn’t bring about an overnight change. She took the information in and like seeds of faith, God watered them over a period of years. On Mother’s Day a few years later, my daughter accepted Christ back into her life. Why? The church wasn’t perfect, but He was. The church made mistakes, but so did she. She learned to keep her eyes on Jesus, not the church per se. In Him, there will never be disappointment. Faith in man is faith on sand.
As Christians, we must be educated in our own church history and the beliefs of others. We must learn, not respond to nonbelievers with hearsay. That is another reason I have a Bibliography in the back of HEALER. I hope to post a short list of things I learned that helped me reach my daughter on my website at www.LindaWindsor.com. All these are woven into my historical novels, that they might teach as well as entertain with page-turning plots. At least that’s my hope.
Lastly, if you have a loved one who is lost, embittered, and does not know Jesus, do not grow faint with fear. God hears your prayers for them. He has a plan for them, tailored to them. It may not unfold the way we expect it to, but it will come to pass in His perfect time. Our hope for our loved ones are placed on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. He will not fail us…or them.
Me: What part of Brenna’s personality do you most relate to and why?
Linda: I understand her loneliness from isolation. A clan war didn’t isolate me, but chemical/biological depression did for several years. The way that Brenna deals with her trials is reflective of the many lessons God has taught me during my dark times.
Key to this is that feelings are temporal and not always trustworthy. God’s promises and assurances are. Focus on His Word when you feel darkness closing in and believe. Know you are not alone. He is there, even though you can’t feel His presence. And know that you’re in good company besides. Some of his favorite people had depression.
And I will add this. Accept help. There is no more shame in taking medication for chemical depression than there is in taking insulin for diabetes. Both are the results of poor body chemistry function.