Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Interview: Author Christine Schaub

Christine, thank you for joining us. Please give us a brief overview of how and when you began to write and what led you to write historicals.

I’m trained as a journalist and corporate writer, but have continually dabbled in acting and playwrighting. In the midst of this dabbling, a music minister asked me to develop a drama/monologue behind the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” That drama proved so successful I developed ten more dramas behind the hymns, then converted four of them into teleplays. I was then offered a chance to expand them into a series of historical novels.

Why do you write?

I’m a storyteller at heart, whether composing feature stories for print media or corporate communications or the stage. But writing, unlike acting, allows a mass audience to put on their own mental stage plays based on the details I give them.

The Music of the Heart series is based on real people in circumstances one almost cannot invent. Thus I feel compelled to tell the stories behind these men who, in the midst of great personal tragedy, picked up pens and fashioned their pain into poems of hope that we still celebrate today, a hundred or more years later.

Tell us a bit about your books: How many do you have published? What eras have you focused on, and why? Do you write in other genres too?

I’ve published two novels in the Music of the Heart series—Finding Anna (October 2005) and The Longing Season (July 2006) through Bethany House/Baker Books—and am currently working on a third for a Fall 2007 release. Because the stories are biographical in nature, I’m obliged to focus on 1871-73 Chicago and New York, 1746-48 England and Africa, and 1860s Scotland—wonderfully fascinating locations and eras.

I’m currently shopping a contemporary action/humor series, which did not eliminate the research element for setting, but did free me to write modern dialogue and use current technology and cultural references in plot.

Are your books classified as historical romance or as historical fiction—and what is the difference?

My series is shelved under historical fiction because the over-riding theme focuses on the long-ago, true-life events that led up to the writing of an iconic hymn. If the stories include a little romance, even better! But romance is not the focus.

Obviously your books are fiction, so how accurate do you strive to be?

A recent magazine article called my genre fauxography—a mix of part-biography, part-fiction. In this post-70s, “new journalism” style, I take a set of documented facts about my main characters, settings, social rules and language, then weave imaginary conversations, subcharacters and subplots around them. Historical readers demand accuracy, and I don’t want to disappoint them.

Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of my interview with Christine Schaub, author of Finding Anna (2005) and The Longing Season (2005), books 1 and 2 of the Music of the Heart Series from Bethany House. And don’t forget to post your comments to be entered into our drawing. We’ll be giving away two copies of Christine’s novel The Longing Season.


Kristy Dykes said...

Great interview. Thanks for providing it. Christine's premise sounds wonderful. I've always loved the hymns of the faith.

J. M. Hochstetler said...

Hi, Kristy!

This series really does have a great premise, doesn't it? I think most Christians find immense comfort in the great hymns of the faith--especially when we're going through trials. Knowing the stories behind the hymns that have touched us the most is another source of encouragement, especially since many of them were written when the authors were experiencing considerable trial themselves.

Lori Benton said...

Whadda ya know. I've discovered that men DID wear drawers under their breeches in the 18th century. Go figure!

Some did, anyway... in the second half of the century. I'm looking at a photo of a pair dated 1750ish, in WHAT CLOTHES REVEAL, The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America.

Okay, that had nothing to do with today's post. Just wanted to share the madness. [s]

More OT, a copy of Finding Anna sits atop my TBR pile, and I'm looking forward to it. A great concept for a series. Thanks Christine!


J. M. Hochstetler said...


Thank you for that bit of research. It will definitely come in handy for the projects I'm working on. LOL!

I've already told you about this, Lori, but for anyone else who's interested--a wonderful source for information about 18th century clothing is the 18th Century Woman group on Yahoo. You can find it through a search. If you join, you will have access to their files as well as the e-mail loop, which will keep you fully updated on all sorts of details about 18th century life. There are many docents, reenactors, and researchers in the group, and the information they have access to is highly detailed.