Christine never intended to become an author. So it was a surprise to her to write non-fiction and now a novel.
Christine is an Australian who both grew up in Asia and has worked in Taiwan, with OMF International, since 1999. Christine used to be a physiotherapist, but now writes ‘storyteller’ on airport forms. She has written two books on Bible storytelling (Telling the Gospel Through Story, IVP, 2012; Stories aren’t just for kids, 2017) and spends her time either telling Bible stories or training others to do so.
In her spare time, Christine loves all things active – hiking, cycling, swimming, snorkelling. But she also likes reading and genealogical research, as that satisfies her desire to be an historical detective.
Grace in Strange Disguise is on the debut fiction, Inspy Award long list (like a semi-final).
You can connect with Christine via:
1. You say you’re a reluctant novelist, what do you mean by this?
I was not one of those people who wanted to be a writer when I ‘grew up.’ I started writing non-fiction because I wanted to record the answers that people kept asking me about one-to-one discipleship. That became 1-2-1 Discipleship: Helping one another grow spiritually (Christian Focus, 2009). Writing non-fiction was hard and I wasn’t crazy enough to consider writing fiction.
But it seems like God had other ideas. About 2007, while I was having a prayer day, the idea for two novels dropped in to my head. It took more than six years before the internal pressure to write became so great that to say ‘no’ would have been disobedience. I wrote two practice novels and then dared to start working on the first of the two original ideas. Grace in Strange Disguise was four and a half years of hard work as I learned to write.
2. That’s a long time, how did you keep going?
Firstly, I knew that the idea had come from God and not myself and therefore I reasoned that he was more than able to teach me to write. There were lots of rejections along the way and lots of times I despaired but at every point I’d pray, “Lord, this was your idea, send the right people or resources to help me.” And he did, every time. I am so glad I waited for His timing. I intended to publish about September 2016 but He delayed me until October, 2017. It was oh so worth it.
3. Why did you write this book?
As I read other Christian fiction and discipled people, three issues coalesced. Firstly, there were few books I could find that weren’t ‘happily ever after’ books. I wanted to write about a single person who honors God. Secondly, many of the people I discipled struggled with the whole issue of ‘why am I suffering? Where is God in my pain?’ Implicit in these questions were a belief that God is there to make life smooth. I wanted to tackle this issue. Thirdly, as someone who loves to tell others about Jesus, I wanted to model evangelism within the book. How can we share the best news of all in a way that makes listeners curious? Many readers comment on this aspect of the book.
4. You’re a full-time missionary, how do you find time to write?
It hasn’t been easy. After praying about it, I’ve set aside a few hours each week and am trying to protect that block of time and write every week. I am also getting better at outlining the book and doing the preparation so that the actual writing is an easier process.
5. Tell us about the featured book.
Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart?
6. The cover says that this is book 1. Are others on the way?
I have just completed the draft of book two and am working towards an October release although it might be earlier.
Initially I thought this was a standalone book but my second editor read it and wrote back, “I think this is one and a half books.” It was quite a shock because I was five months from publishing but I trusted her. So, I chopped the final third of the book off and wrote a new ending.
When I shared my ideas for sequels she said, “Sounds like five books!” At the moment I am planning for four or five and intend to stop there.
Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? Similar to Francine Rivers contemporary Christian fiction.
Currently the ebook is 20% discount to $3.99
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