Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Inspiration from India

Today we welcome guest author Christine Lindsay. Her debut novel with WhiteFire Publishing has been receiving rave reviews.  Join us as she shares the fascinating history that inspired it.

So much research went into writing Shadowed in Silk that it’s hard to choose just one aspect. From biographies of military personnel I discovered specifics like the galvanized bathtub my Major Geoff Richards would bathe in, the intricacies of his Sam Brown belt and his khaki drill jacket. And one of my favorite details, what it ‘feels’ like to sit on a cavalry charger as it jumps over irrigation canals in Northern India.

Or I could share details that make up the life of an English or American woman, such as my heroine Abby Fraser living in India at the beginning of the last century. Details such as the Vinolia soap she bathed with, or the chapattis spread with marmalade she served to her son, Cam. 

But I prefer to tell you about the inspiration behind one of my secondary---but oh so integral---Indian characters, Miriam. This tiny 50-year-old Indian woman is one of my favorites. Miriam’s back-story is that she is a former Hindu widow who turned to Christ. Since her conversion she rescues abused and abandoned women and children, and runs a small clinic and orphanage. It is there that Miriam teaches Abby that God does not wish His daughters to submit to cruelty within their marriages.

The inspiration behind my fictional Miriam is a the real Pandita Ramabai, an Indian woman who lived about 100 years ago.

I first heard about this true-life heroine, Ramabai, while sitting in a mid-week prayer meeting about 30 years ago. This brilliant Indian woman had died in 1922, but she had done so much for women and children in India that England awarded her the Kaisar-I-Hind Gold Medal. India has since issued a commemorative stamp in Ramabai’s honor, and she was given the honorary acclaim of ‘Pandita’ in Hindu tradition, meaning ‘learned master’.

Born into a high caste Hindu family, Ramabai’s father broke with tradition and taught her to read. This was the beginning of my heroine’s search for enlightenment. As a family they walked the length of India, Ramabai’s eyes were opened to the incredible suffering of Indian women and children.

After her parents and siblings died, Ramabai also broke with tradition and married a lawyer of a lower Hindu caste, but he died of a cholera leaving her alone with a tiny daughter.

One day, looking through her husband's papers she found a Bible, and found fulfillment to her spiritual search in the person of Jesus Christ. But Ramabai didn’t just add Jesus to a list of Hindu gods to worship. She came to the realization that Jesus is the only way to God the Father.

This prompted Ramabai to translate the Bible into her local language. To name just a few of her accomplishments—she started the first  Braille School, promoted the need for female medical doctors, and was the founder of the Ramabai Mukti Mission, a home for sexually abused Hindu widows and children. She was a great social reformer in India long before Gandhi.

I hope you’ll be able to read my debut novel, Shadowed in Silk, which reveals my fascination with British ruled India, but also the inspiration of Ramabai. Enjoy the trailer below.

You can find Shadowed in Silk by clicking on  Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. And drop by my website. I’d love to chat with you, www.christinelindsay.com


Christine Lindsay writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India. SHADOWED IN SILK won first place in the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical under the title Unveiled.


  1. Hi, Christine! :)

    Thank you for sharing this background to your novel. Sounds like you had some amazing inspiration!

    And I just love the book trailer, by the way! :)


    P.S. To those of you who haven't read Christine's book yet, it's great! I had the privilege of reading and reviewing it, and I really enjoyed it. :)

  2. Intriguing book--and the trailer was beautifully done too! I enjoyed learning about Ramabai too. Had never heard of her and all she accomplished.

  3. I'm SO happy to have you with us today, Christine. I'm drawn to India and this time period, filled with all its beauty and cruelty.

    What an amazing story. Your research and trip to India provided such details for SHADOWED IN SILK, and your writing makes it an incredible read.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  4. Christine--

    I love the story of Ramabai. So incredible, and a wonderful tribute of what Christ can do in a surrendered servant.

    And I enjoyed the trailer. This just moved up a few places in my TBR list.

  5. I'm so honored to have Christine Lindsay as one of my WhiteFire sisters. I've read this book twice already and loved it both times!

  6. Being on the west coast, I've just got up. Thank you so much for your really encouragine comments.

    Ramabai is such an inspiring person in history that I hope to showcase more of her within my Eshana character in the sequel to SiS which is called Captured by Moonlight.

    Glad you liked the trailer. I did it myself. :o)

  7. Ooooh, Christine. Love the new title!

  8. Hey Christine, so nice to see you here. I would've loved to read about any of the topics you highlighted, but I'm glad you settled on Ramabai. She sounds like a great role model not only for the women of India, but other countries as well.

    I'm looking forward to reading your book. :)

    Dina, thanks for featuring Christine today.

    Anita Mae.

  9. Yes, Ramabai was a wonderful Christian woman who I am so excited to one day meet, when we all get to Heaven. :o)

    I was doubly-blessed lately when I learned that my birth-daughter, Sarah, and her husband Mark are going into full-time missionary work. One of the organizations they will oversee is the Ramabai Mukti mission in India that is still going strong today.

  10. Wow, Christine, Ramabaia's story is so inspirational. What an amazing woman. I can't wait to read your book - it sounds fascinating.

  11. I've heard of Pandita. Sounds like a really cool book!

  12. Thanks so much for your post, Christine! Ramabiai's story is truly inspiring.

    Love the trailer! I look forward to reading the book.

  13. Yea, yet another chance to say what an amazing book this is, not just the research, but the writing, the voice, the heart-felt emotion.

  14. It's so nice to meet another person, Faye, who has heard of Pandita Ramabai. She was an amazing woman.

    Thank you all for your so encouraging comments.

  15. Christine, one of my introductions into "grown-up" stories was M.M. Kaye's novels about India. It was such an unusual and intriguing time period. I remember being horrified by the story of the women being burned to death on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Looking forward to reading "Shadowed in Silk"!


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