I am thrilled to have debut author Lynne Gentry with us this week! Just to show you how talented she is, the type of book she writes - time travel with an ancient Rome setting - isn't something I would normally choose to read. In fact, I can't remember how I connected with Healer of Carthage in the first place - but I loved it because it's much more than time travel, and its relevancy for us today scares me just a bit. And Lynne is graciously sharing a copy of this book with one of you (details at the bottom of this post). Please take time to check out my review of Healer of Carthage here.
Lynne is passionate about ministry, and can have you laughing with her delightful sense of humor while she drives home spiritual truths. I could say a lot more, but let's get right to Lynne's interview . . .
Q: Lynne, start by briefly telling us a little about yourself. Family? Is writing full time for you?
Carole, I’m thrilled to visit with you and your readers. You do such a fantastic job of promoting good stories. Thanks for all you do for Christian fiction and for expanding the Kingdom of God.
I’ve spent the past thirty years in full time ministry and raising two of the best kids in the world. When the oldest left for college, I took up writing to fill in the hole. Now I spend my days kissing on my grandbabies or pounding out stories on my computer I hope they’ll read one day.
Q: Underneath one of the photos on your website is the description "stage professional." Tell us more about that!
I’ve been a performer since I was old enough to jab a stick into the ground and pretend it was my microphone. Over the years, I’ve spent hours on the stage and behind the stage as a writer/director. But one of my favorite things to do is to teach stage presence and professional audition acting to young adults. Many of my students have successfully auditioned for Broadway, Disney, Hollywood, American Idol, TV shows and commercials, as well as major college theater programs and scholarships. Nothing thrills me more than to dig beneath the surface of a child’s insecurities and help them discover their hidden talents. Once a young person has a solid belief in their worth, giving them the mental and physical tools to polish their talents is easy.
Q: What are three things that hardly anyone knows about you?
If I tell, then everyone will know…
1) I can milk a cow.
2) Football great Joe Namath kissed my hand.
3) When I turned fifteen I got a job selling Massey Ferguson tractors to dusty wheat farmers and their burly sons.
Q: Tell us a little about The Carthage Chronicles series, and also about the book we are featuring today, Healer of Carthage.
Loosely based on actual events in life of the early church, The Carthage Chronicles tell the story of a twenty-first century doctor dropped into a third-century plague where she meets the dashing bishop of Carthage, Cyprianus Thascius.
In Healer of Carthage, the first book in the series, we meet the high-spirited and terrified young medical intern, Dr. Lisbeth Hastings. Raised by her father, Lisbeth has always felt she was responsible for her mother’s disappearance at the mysterious Cave of the Swimmers. A tragic event alters Lisbeth’s medical career and she defaults to answering her father’s summons to return to the last place on earth she ever wanted to see again. An accident at the cave sends her tumbling through the portal that will forever change her life…and…well, you’ll just have to buy the book to find out what happens when she wakes up on a Roman slave block.
Q: Describe Healer of Carthage in five words.
High Stakes. Wild adventure. Romantic.
Q: Why time travel? And why Rome?
Ten years ago, I started out writing musical theater because I couldn’t find a Christmas program that I liked. In the process of researching the story of the birth of Christ, I discovered how the politics of the day shaped Jesus’ time on earth. The Roman way of life fascinated me. My first novel was about first century Rome. Even though that story will probably never see the light of day, I felt blessed by the research. So when I heard about a third-century plague that nearly toppled the Roman Empire, I knew I had to investigate it further. That’s when I discovered the stunning truth that Christian persecution rose to an all-time high in this century. Even more astounding: a fractured little band of Christians joined hands, cared for those persecuting them, and in the process of loving their enemies they changed history.
Time travel seemed an excellent tool to explore the parallels between these two worlds.
Q: One of my favorite lines expressing Lisbeth's thoughts during a day at the games in Carthage gives me chills: "Deaf ears. Blind eyes. . . . Good people doing nothing. The fall of every civilization playing out before her very eyes." What does this mean to you?
Whenever I re-read those words I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe the day is coming when believers will once again find themselves backed against the wall. We will have a choice to make: put aside our petty differences and join hands, or turn our backs on each other and meet our doom.
Q: A friend who doesn't care for time travel stories is looking for a good book to read. What would you say in order to convince him/her to give Healer of Carthage a chance?
This story is more than a time travel adventure. Healer of Carthage is the story of one woman’s desperate journey to save the future by changing the past. If that doesn’t sway your friend, have her watch this video and I’ll bet she’ll be hooked.
Healer of Carthage trailer
Q: For a debut author, I'm always eager to ask how it feels to hold that first book in your hands. Was the road to publication fairly easy or difficult?
When the box of Advanced Reader Copies arrived on my doorstep I tore into it, pulled out a book, and cried. These bound pages represented the culmination of a lifetime of preparation by the Lord. Unlike a lot of my writer friends, I never dreamed of writing a book, but I have always been a storyteller. After my first play garnered rave reviews, a writer friend encouraged me to try my hand at writing a novel. The process of moving from stage to the page took ten long, hard years. But I can say without a doubt I have seen God’s hand every step of the way. He placed people in my path that helped me with the craft and with the business of writing. A word of warning … the writing journey is not for the faint of heart.
Q: What's on the book horizon for you, Lynne?
The Carthage Chronicles is a six-book series. Three full-length novels plus three eshorts. I’ve finished the second eshort (release November, 2014) and second book (release January, 2015). I’m currently writing Book #3 and have tears just thinking about leaving all of these wonderful characters behind.
Q: As readers, how can we support and encourage you, both personally and as an author?
Such a great question, Carole. Writing is a solitary sport and can be extremely lonely for an extrovert like me. I love it when readers take the time to write a review or send an email. I can work for days on the knowledge that the words I write matter. Here’s a sample of an email I cherish: "Holy WOW! When I finished Healer of Carthage I was breathless, speechless, in LOVE, and bawling my eyes out! I had just about every kind of emotion running through my mind and I wanted more." I re-read that email every day!
So what can readers do to support Christian authors? First of all, continue to buy Christian books. Secondly, take the time to find the author on Facebook or their website and shoot them a quick email. And most important of all, pray for us.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
I think there comes a time in everyone’s life when they regret a choice. I know I have several regrets. But in writing this series I learned an important truth. My failures are as much a part of me as my successes. Pull even one of those threads and I would be a different person. Would I be better or worse? I don’t know, but I’d be different. Here’s the deal: there’s a great peace in knowing that God can use me just like I am. And if he can use a broken pot like me, then he can certainly use you. Be encouraged fellow travelers.
Lynne, I hope everyone has enjoyed you as much as I have, and let me just say that you're always welcome here! May God continue to bless your family, ministry, and writing.
Lynne can be found on lynnegentry.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
To enter the drawing for Healer of Carthage, simply leave a meaningful comment based on the interview or a question for Lynne, along with your e-mail address in a safe format ("I'd like to read this book" does not qualify!) If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook.
Please "like" my Facebook page, The Power of Words Book Reviews, if you haven't already. And new followers of this blog are always welcome!
- E-mail required, one entry per person. Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
- Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, June 22. No purchase necessary.
- Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail on Monday, June 23. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
- Eligibility: US residents, 18 and older