A former teacher, who now writes and speaks full-time, Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. In 1992, she resigned from teaching to write full time and has, subsequently, released twenty-three novels and one non-fiction book.
Lynn has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction, and she is an inductee in the Christy Award Hall of Fame. One of her novels, Hidden Places, was made into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie starring Shirley Jones.
Lynn and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan.
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Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Yes! A very happy detour. I was a psychology major in college and planned to attend graduate school to become a counselor. But then a job opportunity that my husband couldn’t pass up took us to Bogotá, Colombia, for two years. My plans went on hold, then were delayed again when our first son was born. In the meantime, I began to write fiction and discovered how much I loved it. I’m so glad that God’s plans superseded mine.
What led you to write Chasing Shadows (Tyndale House, June 2021 )?
I wanted to pay tribute to two Dutch women, Corrie ten Boom and Diet Eman, whose faith and obedience to God led them to risk their lives to rescue Jews from the Nazis. My character Lena de Vries is much like Corrie ten Boom, a mature Christian who knows that her decisions will have life-and-death consequences for her and her family. My character Ans de Vries, like Diet Eman, is only nineteen years old with a boyfriend and a future that she must offer to God.
We may never face a devastating war, but our lives could change in an instant like theirs did. I hope my novel will challenge readers to ask if their faith would prove as strong as Corrie’s and Diet’s did when put to the test.
It’s sounds like a great book, Lynn. What made you want to write historical fiction? What is it about that genre you enjoy?
I write historical fiction because I love history, especially the little-known stories of ordinary people. For me, reading about the past and how people like me lived lives of courage in difficult times helps me live a life of faith and grace with God’s help. When we travel back in history through novels, I think it’s easier to see how God used tragic events as part of His redemption story. And that gives us faith to believe that He is still working now and that our lives can play a part in His story today.
A few fun questions …
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
There’s nothing better than a gooey, cheesy, flavorful helping of lasagna. It was my favorite dish growing up, and my mom made it often—even for Thanksgiving along with turkey and mashed potatoes. To celebrate the anniversary of our first date, my husband took me to the only Italian restaurant in town for a lasagna dinner. It has been our celebration food ever since.
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
I often think of Paul’s words to his disciple Timothy: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God . . .” (2 Timothy 1:5-6).
I was blessed with godly parents and grandparents whose faith set an example for me and laid the foundation for the work God has given me as a writer. It’s now my responsibility to pursue my own relationship with God and to develop the gifts He has given me, for His glory. I also hope to live in such a way that my children and grandchildren will walk with Him, too.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong female lead, the girl next door, the mysterious woman behind dark glasses, the superheroine, or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I see a lot of myself in my own main characters. The women in my novels have plenty of fears and weaknesses and aren’t the heroic type at all in the beginning. But in the end, they turn out to be the strong female lead because they learn to put their faith and trust in Christ.
I have learned to do many things that my shy, introverted self could never have imagined doing—like sharing my faith with audiences across the US and in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Canada. Like the apostle Paul (and my characters), I don’t always see myself as the strong female lead, but “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Thanks, Lynn! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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