A News Clipping Leads to a Civil War Novel — Terra Lynee
Today I’m happy to welcome author Terra Lynee for an author spotlight, the story behind her novel, and giveaway. Read through to the end to find out how to enter.
I have a folder on my computer that I cannot open. It’s not corrupt. I just can’t remember the password. It’s a zip file containing six short stories I wrote years ago. I zipped up these stories thinking that I would compile them, along with others, into a book for publication one day. In a time when we are all regularly hacked, I have yet to find a way to hack into this group of files that is zipped up tight.
Once, I did have the password written down in a notebook somewhere, since I knew I might not be using the stories right away. I think the notebook was lost during a move. I’m still more than a little frustrated that I can’t get the zip folder open after trying a number of software fixes. I think about the work that went into the stories, which now sit idle on my hard drive. However, like many frustrations, this one does come with a silver lining. Writing these stories, along with another dozen or so, prepared me to write a book.
I was compelled to write my novel, Nathan’s Fate, after receiving two items: a newspaper reprint of a Civil War letter and a Bible. The reprinted letter had been written by one of my ancestors when he fighting in the conflict between the states. He sent it to the woman he loved and hoped to marry.
The Bible belonged to my great-grandmother, and it contained notes about faith in the margins. My Civil War ancestor survived the conflict and married the recipient of the letter. My grandmother’s Bible sits on my nightstand. Together, they sparked my contemplation of how we are linked to the family that came before us, as we experience love and face tragedies, especially the pain of war.
In my novel, Nathan must choose between life with his fiancée, Lydia, and saving fellow soldiers on the battlefield. His choice leads to a fate that changes his path and his love’s future. Lydia’s struggle to survive despair inspires her descendants, including a young woman named Sara. This connection between Lydia and Sara sets up the book’s theme of love transcending time.
I cried some while writing this book – but I had to pull from my own experiences with grief to bring realism to the story. I also was thinking a lot about my great-grandmother – a woman I respected and loved with a great chunk of my heart.
I still want to write that book of short stories, in spite of some of my favorites being locked from view. I am not sure I could recreate them, and maybe it’s time to move on. However, if you have the secret to cracking zips legally, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to email me if you have questions about my novel! I won’t share your email with anyone, not even my publisher.
— What is your favorite part of writing?
Creating a story that is completely original. I never set out to write a book that fit a certain formula. My book came to me in pieces in my mind before I ever put a word on paper. I felt compelled to do something unique with a literary feel. Nathan’s Fate is a romance (three romances actually), but it’s also a tale of regaining faith. The novel contains subtle symbols of faith throughout its pages, as well as some direct references, such as names of characters.
— What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write?
Writing involves quite a bit of sitting, so I try to do some type of physical activity before I start. Maybe I should try one of the desks where you can stand! I make notes on new ideas before I fall asleep at night though I mainly compose at the keyboard. Usually my basset hound is nearby when I write, and I’m drinking hot or iced tea. If I do feel stuck, I follow a trick from a workshop: draw circles on paper with the hand I use least. Then do the same with my writing hand. Next, draw other shapes, like cubes. After drawing for a few minutes, I can usually get my thoughts in order. If not, there’s always chocolate.
— How has being published changed your life?
I have been able to meet, in person and online, so many wonderful people. Their encouragement means the world to me. Also, I am braver! I was a very private person before, not an introvert, just private. Publishing means putting yourself out into the online universe, doing book signings, and entering contests. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. Like any venture, there are people out there to support you and others who could take advantage. You have to be ready to be busy!
Readers, leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win one signed paperback copy, to be mailed to winner within 7 days of name being chosen. (Giveaway is open to US residents only.)
ABOUT THE BOOK: Nathan’s Fate
More than a century ago, an actual Civil War soldier wrote heartfelt secrets to the woman he loved. In his letter, the soldier asks that this woman take his written message:
“…to your heart, and [may] my love be entwined around your heart as the grapevine
around the bush. Long may it stand with you and never be forgotten.”
Author Terra Lynee read the letter from this soldier, who was also her ancestor, in the 1990s. This reading led her to consider the many soldiers of the Civil War who never made it home to their loves. Also in the ‘90s, Lynee inherited her great-grandmother’s Bible. It contained written thoughts and prayers in the margins—a tradition that other family members also practiced. Lynee was inspired by how we are linked to the family that came before us, as we experience love and face tragedies. The result of that inspiration is the novel, Nathan’s Fate.
Nathan’s Fate falls into the genres of Christian Fiction and Historical Fiction. While fighting for the Union, a soldier, Nathan, is faced with choosing between life with his fiancée, Lydia, and saving fellow soldiers on the battlefield. His choice changes his path and his love’s future.
- The book’s setting moves between two periods of war: The Civil War and the War in the Middle East, yet it is more a tale of love than of conflict.
- Lydia’s life is linked to that of her descendants through a Bible and through her practice of putting her prayers into writing.
- Nathan and Lydia are a Civil War couple connected to a modern-day couple—Sara and Dillon.
- Sara is descended from Lydia, while Nathan and Dillon are united by the women they adore and their service as soldiers.
2002: Ginny Returns to the Fields
The bedroom spoke of an older era. A shining glass lamp spilled muted light into shadowy corners. Time had tinged the lamp’s white ruffled shade with touches of yellow. A soft light bulb illuminated half of a grandmother’s body, propped up on firm pillows, in her queen size bed. Her thin frame was covered by a black and red T-shirt, which announced the year that a local football team had conquered the state. The grandmother’s casual sleeping attire contrasted with the antique gold bracelet on her wrist.
The older woman had no real cares as her day edged away and no idea that the night held travel across tremendous distances into unknown territories. Although most everyone she knew called her Ginny, her actual name was Genevieve Meyer.
Ginny’s long fingers reached for a Bible on her walnut nightstand. The dark-brown book sat next to the glass lamp and a pearl-handled hairbrush. This brush received little use since its owner preferred a plastic one with rubber bristles. Ginny kept the yellowing lamp shade and ineffective brush because they were sweet reminders of a time she loved, when her crinkled reflection did not cause her to wince.
Decades ago, her skin glowed like an eggshell, smooth and white. Eventually, the eggshell became cracked and spotted. When Ginny reached the age of sixty, she asked her daughter, Charlotte, to give her a facelift for her birthday. Her daughter cringed, claiming that if there were complications during the procedure, she would carry the guilt of having caused them. So, Ginny’s skin became patterned with crevices, gradually coordinating with the cover of her Bible. No matter what the days brought, the final minutes of Ginny’s nights were spent reading a page from this treasured book. The cover revealed its time on Earth with imperfections of varying lengths. Tiny paths of wear wound around the title.
Ginny turned the aging pages tenderly, knowing their link to the spine, though still unyielding, became more tenuous with each reading. Some of the gilt-edged sheets were haunted by slight discolorations that crept threateningly toward the printed text. Usually, after placing the book back on the nightstand, the grandmother’s hand with its prominent purple veins would reach out from the bed and pat the Bible as if it were a friend. However, tonight, on the eve of her birthday, Ginny closed the book and drew it near. She adjusted her blue comforter in preparation for sleep, with the worn Bible beside her.
Dove Christian Publishers Copyright © 2017 by Terra Lynee
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Terra Lynee
Terra Lynee was inspired to write a novel that explores how love evolves, and even transcends time. Her first book, “Nathan’s Fate,” is that exploration. While crafting marketing materials and online content for small businesses, Terra began to take time to type the words that would become the novel. She wrote the last chapter first, knowing with certainty how she felt the story should end. “Nathan’s Fate” moves between two eras. It is for the fan of historical fiction and Christian fiction.
Terra has worked as a writer in the fields of: Journalism, Public Relations, and Marketing. During her career, she has won multiple awards for writing business communications. She was born in Oklahoma and currently resides in Texas. The author, who studied English at a Texas university, has lived throughout the U.S.
Learn more about Terra Lynee or purchase her novel at https://www.dovechristianpublishers.com/catalog/christian-fiction/Nathan’s-Fate/