Saturday, September 27, 2014

Meet Holly Michael, author of Crooked Lines

I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Crooked Lines, a novel about an American woman, an Indian man, and the crooked paths that bring them together. With its strong Christian theme, author Holly Michael's debut fits perfectly into that market. It isn't preachy, though, and mainstream readers will enjoy it.

Holly shares some of her thoughts with us:

Author Holly Michael
Why India?

For a Wisconsin farm girl born with wanderlust and big dreams (and tired of looking at black and white cows), I craved the unknown--exotic, colorful, and warm places. Although I wanted to travel the world from a young age, India stuck in my mind as the ultimate place to visit. As destiny would have it, I married a man from India who loved to travel and who had friends all over the world. My husband's background is unique. He entered into a religious community as a teenager.

After we met and married (in our late 30s), my husband and I travelled around the United States and also abroad, meeting friends from his seminary days. They shared amazing stories about coming of age and maturing in a strict religious order in the late 70s and through the 1990s. These young men worked in orphanages, in "untouchable" villages where those considered born from the foot of God could not drink from the same well as others born from a higher part of God. They met Mother Teresa, slogged through the slums of India, spent time in leper colonies. Fascinating stories! So, having visited many of the places in India where my husband and their friends lived, I began to craft Crooked Lines, creating Sagai-a teenager from South India, embracing a call from God.

Then there's Rebecca, a farm girl from Wisconsin. Though living in a completely different culture form Sagai, her experiences parallel his. The two lives are connected through a mutual friend, a priest from India who visits the United States.

Who's your prime audience, and what do you hope they'll get out of Crooked Lines?

At first I thought Crooked Lines would fit more in the mainstream fiction market because it's not typical Christian Fiction as it explores the good and not so good of religion. But it also works in the Christian fiction market because while it shines light on religious inconsistencies, ultimately it doesn't dishonor God. Though characters experience dark moments and tough issues are tackled, Crooked Lines is really an inspirational novel.

Once Rebecca and Sagai meet, what then? Are their problems over, or do you plan a sequel?

You'll have to read Crooked Lines to find out when they actually meet, but yes, there is a sequel. It will be released in January and Rebecca and Sagai will have to make big decisions about their lives and futures. I guarantee there will be drama.

Who plays them in the movie?

Allu Arjun is a Tamil Nadu actor from South India, where my husband is from. He's got a really sweet face.  And Rebecca...hmmm...maybe Emma Roberts because she has to play a younger and an a little bit older Rebecca and she also has the sweetness quality. Hollywood meets Bollywood!

What are the differences between you and Rebecca? 

I haven't yet talked about this anywhere, but first, allow me to share the first two lines in Crooked Lines. "It didn’t occur to me at the edge of the pond that I’d broken the sixth commandment, actually committed murder. I was busy working out a deal with God, swearing to Jesus I’d become a nun if He helped me breathe life back into my baby sister’s limp body."

That was me at age fifteen. It also didn't really occur to me, until years later, that maybe the death of my little sister wasn't an accident. But, I'll leave it at that. A theory of what happened to Kara comes out in the book, toward the end, and it's close to what I believed might have happened that day.

How well do Christians fit into Indian society?

Yes, let's go back to India! Although Christianity is only about 2% in India, large pockets of Christianity exist, especially in South India. St. Thomas the Apostle was martyred in India and his body is entombed in St Tomas Cathedral in Chennai. Also, my husband's hometown is a Tamil Nadu hill station that the British founded as a retreat center, full of monasteries and churches (picture). India is so diverse, and Crooked Lines offers a taste of the mix of religion and culture across India.

Read the great Amazon reviews and buy your copy of Crooked Lines.

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