When writing historical fiction, what are the challenges (or joys) of balancing historical facts with filling in the blanks with your imagination?

One of the joys of writing historical fiction is that as I research past history, I get scores of great ideas for plots and stories!

I once read a true account of how women dressed up like men and fought in the Civil War—and it led me to write the novel Fire by Night.

The true story of the Packhorse Librarians during the Great Depression led to my novel Wonderland Creek.

In all those instances, the historical facts fed my imagination. The challenge comes, when I have to fit my plot ideas into a historical framework.

Sometimes I wish I could change the facts and the dates to fit my story! And often, by the time I finish a novel, I have trouble remembering which ideas were true facts and which ones I made up.

What do you hope readers takeaway after reading Legacy of Mercy?

One of the themes is about gossip, and how lives can be destroyed by the power of our unbridled tongues. Another is the difficult struggle that young people often face when they seek to stay true to their faith and to who God created them to be.

I think there’s also a message for the older generation—that God doesn’t believe in retirement!

I would be thrilled if readers found themselves pondering these themes after finishing Legacy of Mercy, but my primary goal is always to simply tell a good story.

How does your faith impact how you approach writing stories?

Every author writes from his or her own worldview, whether they are a Christian, an atheist or some other religion. Our worldview is the way we make sense of life and put all the puzzle pieces together to answer life’s questions.

I don’t have a spiritual theme in mind when I begin a story. I simply want to tell a tale about people in a certain time and place, facing a difficult dilemma. It’s not my goal to preach the Gospel message in every book I write.

But because I’m a Christian, my worldview seeps through the pages of my book as the characters wrestle with the big questions in life. And it’s natural for them to find the answers to those questions from my own Christian worldview.

What are your favorite ways for readers to support their favorite authors?

I think it’s wonderful when readers are so excited about an author that they want to share her books with all of their friends. Word-of-mouth is still the number one way that books are sold.

Book clubs are very popular, and I love it when a reader tells me that no one in her club had read one of my books until she suggested it for their monthly selection—and then all of those new readers told their family and friends about it!

It’s so helpful when readers post blogs about an author’s books and post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, but when they share their copy of a book until it falls apart, that’s the best advertising ever!

Visit Lynn Austin’s author page:


Legacy of Mercy
Waves of Mercy #2
Lynn Austin
Bethany House

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she’s learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje’s been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

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