Sunday, November 1, 2015

Interview + GIVEAWAY: Lynne Gentry

Valley of Decision, which concludes Lynne Gentry’s Carthage Chronicles series, is filled with rich historical detail and adventure. But what I most enjoyed was its spiritual impact and relevancy, a book and series that gave me much upon which to reflect. Please click on the title, Valley of Decision, to see my review.

Thanks so much to Lynne and Litfuse Publicity for this interview and a copy of Valley of Decision for one of you. Now enjoy as Lynne shares about this book . . .

Q: Tell us your favorite thing about your new book, Valley of Decision, which is the final installment in your series The Carthage Chronicles.

The world says we should make our decisions about love based on feelings. This story shows us how different the world would be if true love were based on actions.

Q: Why did you decide to set the book and the series in Carthage?

The Roman era has always interested me. When I stumbled across a third-century plague that nearly destroyed the empire, I had to know more. My research uncovered the fact that the Plague of Cyprian originated in Africa. So I didn’t choose the setting; history did.

Q: You’ve based some of Cyprian’s decisions in Valley of Decision on actual historical documents. What was the most important piece of research to the development of the book you found?

My stories are loosely based upon multiple historical accounts and Cyprianus Thascius’ own extensive writings, so from the beginning I’ve known Cyprian died a martyr’s death. As I wrote this final installment of his story, I took a closer look at his final day. Cyprian’s best friend Pontius recorded that soldiers came in the night and escorted Cyprian from his villa. He spent the night in the home of the commanding officers. That piece of information caused me to consider those long, dark hours. What went through Cyprian’s mind? Was he frightened? Did he ever consider recanting his faith? While we don’t have Cyprian’s thoughts, Pontius tells us that in the morning Cyprian went bravely and with “exceptional cheer” to face his executioner. To me, Cyprian’s demeanor validates the Lord’s calming presence in our lives . . . especially when the end comes.

Q: In the third century, Christians had the choice to run toward or away from those suffering from a deadly viral outbreak. What caused your characters to run toward the ill?

When the World Trade Center towers came down on September 11, 2001, cameras captured the terrified faces of people running for their lives. What struck me the most, though, were the unbelievable images of people running toward the smoke. Why would anyone risk their own lives to save someone they do not even know? That’s a question without an easy answer. I believe selflessness is a Christ-like characteristic best acquired through observation. When the church operates as Christ intended, a spirit of selflessness is modeled. Placing the welfare of others above your own is a picture of true love.

Q: What does your heroine, Lisbeth, discover about the true meaning of family in her efforts to reunite her own?

Lisbeth is like me. She longs to live in the security of a loving, united family. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered no one lives in a perfect family. Feelings get hurt. Relationships fragment. And sometimes, blood is not thicker than water. Flesh-and-blood families don’t always stay together. This would be a sad story if that was the end of it, but, like me, Lisbeth discovers family doesn’t always match our DNA. She learns families are the people who choose to love you no matter what.

Q: How does your own family reach beyond flesh and blood?

Every time the Lord called us to serve him in a new location, we moved farther from my flesh-and-blood family. I mourned not having my relatives close. I wanted my kids to know the joy of running in and out of their grandparents’ home. I wanted them to grow up playing with their cousins. To my surprise, those missing relationships were filled by people who weren’t related to us. At every church we served, the Lord provided a loving older couple excited to step in and love on our kids. The Lord brought a steady stream of families into our lives. Our children gained instant cousins, and our house was always full of laughter and friends on the holidays. Some of these friends have used their vacation time to sit by my bedside or care for my family as I recovered from surgeries. They’ve driven across the country to meet us for vacation. They’ve even sent checks to keep us afloat during a financial crisis. I’ve learned Christ is the blood that unites us all. Someone gave me a plaque that reads: “Friends are the family we choose.” I pray that you too dare to extend the borders of your family relationships. I promise you will be blessed.

Q: If you could go back in history, what time period would you visit?

I would love to return to the time of Christ and walk the same cobblestones and sandy beaches with him. I think my love of all things Roman came from sitting in Sunday school and listening to the stories about that intriguing part of the world.

Q: What projects are you working on next?

Stories are always clamoring for my attention. My next series is but a nugget based on a very unique event that happened in a dusty Middle Eastern town at the end of World War II. But I promise you, the stakes will be high, the adventures outlandish and the romance heart-melting. In the end, the world will be changed for the better!

For more information about Valley of Decision and Lynne Gentry visit, become a fan on Facebook (Author-Lynne-Gentry), or follow her on Twitter (@Lynne_Gentry) and Pinterest (lynnegentry7).



To enter the drawing for Valley of Decision . . .

1) Please go to my Facebook page and share about this giveaway ("likes" to my FB page are not required, but very much appreciated).

2) Answer the following question or leave a comment for Lynne:

If you could go back in history,
what time period would you visit?

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Monday, November 9. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

Eligibility: US residents


  1. Carole--shared on Facebook and on my Pinterest giveaway board. I've been thinking of reading this series for quite some time. It's just one of those reading desires that I haven't accomplished yet. I know I will very much enjoy it!

    1. Kay, I'm with you because there's so much out there that I want to read, but know there's no way I'll ever have the time. This is a thought-provoking series - totally out of the genres in which I usually read, but really great because of its spiritual impact. Thanks for visiting, as always, Kay.

  2. Thanks for linking up at Literacy Musing Mondays. I shared your link on my giveaway page.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting and sharing. I could spend all day exploring the links at Literacy Musing Mondays!

  3. Hello Carole! The Carthage Chronicles is a FANTASTIC series! I would love to go back to the time of the Book of Acts.

    I follow your blog via psalm103and138 at gmail dot com and shared giveaway on facebook.

    1. Wouldn't the time of Acts be fantastic?! To see the beginning of the church, maybe hear Peter or Paul preach . . .

      Have you read the whole series, Caryl?

    2. Carole, I've read/have books one and two.

  4. I would go back to the the late 1800's. This is when my ancestors came to America from Sweden and Norway. I would like to have been a part of this new adventure.

    1. What a rich cultural heritage you have, Beth! I'm probably guilty of romanticizing historical periods that I read about, but there's a lot about the late 1800s I'd like to explore also. Thanks for stopping by, Beth.

  5. Oh, I don't know. At first I would have said the 1800's with the cowboys and pretty ladies with all of their finery. But after serving as a missionary in Mexico and Nicaragua for 12 years, experiencing wagons, outhouses, bathing in rivers, cooking over an open fire... I actually realize the hardship. If I hadn't of known all this, the 1800's for sure. I 'shared' your posting so my friends could find you.

    1. You are a delight, Melody! Thank you for sharing. I'm sure I tend to romanticize historical times because, as enjoyable as they are to read about, I'm not sure I could have survived! And you could probably write a book about your experiences during those 12 years in Mexico and Nicaragua. My daughter leads a campus ministry in Germany, a totally different culture from where you were, but with the same impact for Christ. I'd love to connect with you more. Thanks so much for stopping by, Melody.

  6. I forgot to add my email to my post....

    missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

  7. I'm new to your site and your books. I'm excited about this give-away. I get an opportunity to sample a new author for my pristine collection. Traveling back, I would visit the 1600's, I believe. I would love to be a light amidst the darkness. How amazing would it be to change history during the darkest times of our history?! (shared on my FB page)

    1. "Pristine collection" - I love that description, Elisabeth! I'm not sure I would want to visit the 1600s, but I love your reasoning of shining the light of Christ during that particularly dark time. Thank you for stopping by, and please come back.

  8. I would love to go back to the 50's when I was a little girl. I don't remember much of that time period but I do know that I was loved very much.
    Janet E.

  9. I like the Civil War Time Period, and when the people traveled out west in the covered wagons. I dont know if I would like living back then, but it would be fun to visit.

    Thanks Carole, as always for your great posts and giveaways!
    amylsmith AT bledsoe DOT net

  10. If you could go back in history, what time period would you visit - I would love to visit the Late Eighteenth-Century- the time of Pride and Prejudice!

  11. If I could go back in time it would either be the 14th century or the roaring 20's. Completely different, but both so interesting!


  12. Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

  13. I would like to go back to the 1600's or 1700's. I would like to go back in time so I can visit with my ancestors about their Christian faith and why they decided to support this fledgling nation. My ancestor Nathaniel Morton wrote New England Memorial about God's providential care of the New Plymouth Colony in the New England States.It is available on Kindle.
    Thank you offering this giveaway. My email is phoneticpanda (at)gmail (dot)com

  14. I shared the giveaway on my fb as Sue Hull.
    Id like to go back in time when Jesus walked the earth. Thank you for the chance :)

  15. 18th century.
    whistleinthewind74 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  16. Loved the interview, Lynne and Carole - thank you!!

    I so relate to Lynne's story and quote about friends - I've lived out-of-state, and away from my family 4 times, for a total of 18 years. Some of my Christian brothers and sisters-in-Christ truly became like part of my family - even though I've lived near family again for 8 years, my "adopted" family members are still dear to my heart, and I love seeing them as often as possible.

    If I could go back in history, it would certainly be during the time of Christ. I've always wanted to tour the Holy Land - I can't even imagine the emotion that would be created from walking on the same ground as did Christ.

    I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of Lynne's books, however, her name has been on my TBR list for some time now. I'd love to read 'Valley of Decision' - thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    I shared the link to this post on my FB page.


  17. I shared on my FB page! Thank you for this awesome giveaway! It sounds great!
    Baleyann01(at) gmail(dot) com

  18. Ps. I would go back in time to when we were at the turn of the modern world! Right when things were starting to come out, but not everyone had it:)

  19. That is a very moving interview! Thanks for sharing it. Thanks for being a part of Booknificent Thursday this week!

  20. I think I would lurk to go back in time to right after Christ died in the Roman Empire. Societal similarities with much harsh reality would be such an interesting experience! Email: guccitonucci(at)gmail(dot)com