Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Lynn Austin & If I Were You

Posted June 2, 2020 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, giveaway, historical, Lynn Austin / 40 Comments


I am absolutely fangirling right now because the one and only Lynn Austin is here to chat about her new book, If I Were You, which released TODAY!

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. One of her novels, Hidden Places, was made into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie. Lynn and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan. Visit her online at www.lynnaustin.org.

You can also connect with Lynn Austin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


IF I WERE YOU
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: June 2, 2020
PAGES: 464

From bestselling and eight-time Christy Award–winning author Lynn Austin comes a remarkable novel of sisterhood and self-discovery set against the backdrop of WWII.

1950. In the wake of the war, Audrey Clarkson leaves her manor house in England for a fresh start in America with her young son. As a widowed war bride, Audrey needs the support of her American in-laws, whom she has never met. But she arrives to find that her longtime friend Eve Dawson has been impersonating her for the past four years. Unraveling this deception will force Audrey and Eve’s secrets—and the complicated history of their friendship—to the surface.

1940. Eve and Audrey have been as different as two friends can be since the day they met at Wellingford Hall, where Eve’s mother served as a lady’s maid for Audrey’s mother. As young women, those differences become a polarizing force . . . until a greater threat—Nazi invasion—reunites them. With London facing relentless bombardment, Audrey and Eve join the fight as ambulance drivers, battling constant danger together. An American stationed in England brings dreams of a brighter future for Audrey, and the collapse of the class system gives Eve hope for a future with Audrey’s brother. But in the wake of devastating loss, both women must make life-altering decisions that will set in motion a web of lies and push them both to the breaking point long after the last bomb has fallen.

This sweeping story transports readers to one of the most challenging eras of history to explore the deep, abiding power of faith and friendship to overcome more than we ever thought possible.

 

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Hi Lynn! Welcome to the blog!

Q: Have you always loved books and reading? What about your formative years informed your love for reading and books?

Lynn: Books have been part of my life for as long as I can remember, beginning with bedtime stories when I was a child. My mother was the town librarian in the village where I grew up, so it’s not an exaggeration to say I was raised in a library. Over the years, I helped with everything from processing books to reading aloud for story hour, and I developed a deep appreciation for all sorts of books. In addition, my grandmother was a natural-born storyteller whose tales kept my sisters and me spellbound for hours on warm summer evenings.

Carrie: oh i love that! What a great legacy to have!

Q: How did you become a writer?

Lynn: I loved to read, but after a while it seemed like so many well-written books offered very little hope. Too many themes seemed to be “Life is hard and then you die.” I agree that life is hard—but God is good! So I sat down one day 35 years ago (I was a stay-at-home mom with a new baby at the time) and decided to write the kind of book I enjoyed reading—one that makes me laugh, makes me cry, and helps me learn something about myself and my life. I knew nothing about getting published (that would come later), but I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed writing. Eventually, God brought a wonderful Christian author into my life who asked me to join her writers’ critique group, where I learned the basics of writing and publishing. As the years passed, I struggled to figure out if God was calling me to be a writer. I decided to persevere, and eleven years after I first sat down to write, my first novel was published.

Carrie: wow! that’s a great testimony to perseverance as well as the power of fiction that reminds us that God is good.

Q: What made you want to write historical fiction? What about that genre do you enjoy?

Lynn: 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.

Carrie: Amen. That’s why i love reading it, too.

Q: What motivated you to write a story line about two women in WWII?

Lynn: The idea for If I Were You began with a true story someone told me about a British war bride who came to America after WWII—only to learn that her husband had died in a tragic accident. Should she stay? Return to London? As I began researching the time period, I discovered how much the war changed roles and expectations for women in Britain, dissolving class differences. I’m a huge fan of the TV series Downton Abbey, so I decided to create two women—Audrey, a wealthy aristocrat, and Eve, her servant—and explore the ways the war and the “invasion” of American soldiers before D-Day changed their lives. 

Carrie: oh wow! that sounds like a fascinating true story too!

Q: Please tell us a bit about the setting of your novel.

Lynn: There are three settings, really. The main characters grow up at Wellingford Hall, a stately manor house in the countryside outside of London in the 1930s. Audrey lives upstairs with all of the advantages of wealth and prestige. Eve lives belowstairs as a scullery maid. When the war begins, the setting changes to Audrey’s town house in London in the 1940s, where the now-grown women endure the nightly catastrophic Nazi bombing raids known as the Blitz. But both of these settings are surrounded by a framework set in 1950s America, where one of the women has gone to live as a British war bride.

Carrie: I’m looking forward to visiting all of these settings on the pages 🙂

Q: Please tell us about your main characters in If I Were You and what kind of challenges they face.

Lynn: Audrey Clarkson is raised with wealth and privilege—which seems enviable except that she’s confined to a life of narrowly defined roles and is expected to marry within her class, not for love. Eve Dawson is born into the working class as a servant, with very little hope of ever bettering herself—or marrying the upper-class man she loves. But when the war begins, the women enlist in the Army together and drive ambulances in war-ravaged London. Their courage and faith are challenged in ways they’d never imagined.

Carrie: It’s always interesting how something like that strips away our differences and reminds us that deep down we’re more alike than we may realize.

Q: Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Lynn: I think Eve was my favorite. She had a hard life, yet for the most part she remained happy and optimistic, seeing life as an adventure. She makes some terrible choices out of desperation—but don’t we all? I love that she is imperfect like the rest of us.

Carrie: Flawed characters are my favorite because I can see myself in them.

Q: What lessons can be learned from your main characters?

Lynn: Adversity—in this case a devastating war—can sometimes help us figure out who we are and what our purpose in life might be. God has a purpose for each of us, and once we find the courage to break free from the expectations of family and society—and our own fears—we can live the life we were meant to live. Also, there are things each woman envies about the other, and the story reveals how jealousy can sometimes blind us to the many opportunities right in front of us.

Carrie: both of those lessons are so true… and so important to be aware of.

Q: How much research did you have to do on the WWII period in the United Kingdom?

Lynn: A lot! My favorite way to research is to travel, and for this book, I was able to spend a few days exploring London. The Imperial War Museum allowed me to immerse myself in the setting with the re-creation of a typical house from this time period. It also had an Anderson shelter I could crawl inside for a simulated air raid. (Very claustrophobic!) I love to interview people and read first-person accounts from people who lived through these events and experiences, which I then incorporated into the story. My purpose isn’t to write a history book that teaches readers about dates and battles, but to help them experience wartime London through my characters.

Carrie: that sounds like such an amazing research trip!! wow!

Q: What is your hope for If I Were You?

Lynn: I hope that by reading this story of ordinary women who persevered through extraordinary circumstances, my readers will be encouraged to face their own challenges with courage and faith.

Carrie: something we definitely need right now …


Tyndale House is offering a print copy of If I Were You to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read If I Were You? What interests you most from my Q&A with Lynn Austin?

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40 responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Lynn Austin & If I Were You

  1. Perrianne Askew

    I like the contrast between the three different classes of women. It should be very interesting to see how this plays out during a war. It may even be that a war levels the playing firld quite a bit!

  2. Pam K.

    If I Were You interests me first because it is written by Lynn Austin. I’ve read many of her books and always enjoy them. I also like reading books about sisters and the dynamics between them since I also have sisters. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  3. Caryl Kane

    I’ve been a fan of Lynn Austin for years! I got hooked on her Chronicles of Kings series.

  4. Kris M

    I’m interested because Lynn always writes such fabulous books! And this one sounds great!

  5. Lynette

    I like the What lessons can be learned from the main characters question. Great interview!

  6. Vivian Furbay

    I love to read historical fiction and non-fiction. This sounds like a good one.

  7. Cindi Altman

    I believe what interests me most about this book is the time period. WWII seems to be a time that I enjoy learning about. Knowing Lynn Austin wrote the book makes it that much more appealing since she does extensive research for all of her novels.

  8. Anne

    This fascinating historical set during my favorite eras, the 1940’s and the 1950’s makes the story come alive. Learning about the background of the actual story and the characters is extremely interesting. What a memorable and unforgettable story which is profound and true to life. I would love this treasure.

  9. What interests me the most is the fact it’s historical set in the 1950’s and plot.
    Would love to read and review the print format/version of this book.
    What made you choose these characters?
    What made you choose the 1950’s?
    Enjoyed interview.

  10. Megan

    I really enjoy books set during World War II. So much was changing and it just fascinates me.

  11. Alison Boss

    This book sounds AMAZING! I am intrigued with the Downtown Abbey upstairs/downstairs storyline of the heroines, and the timeline of WWII. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book!!!

  12. Colleen H.

    I love everything I have read so far by Lynn Austin, and I also love the WWII setting, so to me, it’s a win!

  13. Debra Branigan

    I am interested in this book because I really like WWII era fiction. This particular novel sounds like a very dramatic and interesting read. Best wishes to the author on the novel.

  14. Patty

    Facing our challenges wiht courage and faith… honestly that’s something I need to read right now!

  15. Brenda Murphree

    I think this story line will be good. I like when one is rich or well off and one is poor. This gives the story several ways to go and teaches us how much we are alike even though we have a few differences.

  16. Connie Porter Saunders

    I enjoyed learning the true story of the young bride who finds that she has traveled to this country and her husband has died. I can’t imagine what I would have done!

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