Lynn Austin: Unveiling A Moving Generational Saga
Wide acclaim, numerous awards, and bestselling sales have made Lynn Austin a
long-time favorite among readers, retailers, book clubs, and librarians.With depth and insight,
Austin pens compelling tales that engage the minds and hearts of readers.
Though Waters Roar follows four generations of women who take part in different
social changes in history. And it’s a story with personal roots.
1.Your novels are known for their strong female characters.Why is that, and is that still
true in Though Waters Roar?
I come from a long line of strong women, so I have plenty of role models to draw from.My
maternal grandmother was one of 6 sisters (no brothers); my mother one of two sisters (no
brothers) and I am one of three sisters (no brothers). Most of the women in my family
wouldn’t have described themselves as strong initially, but their Christian faith and
circumstances in life made them so. I write about this kind of woman with the hope that
my readers, who are mostly women, will also turn to Christ to find the strength they need
for the challenges they face. And yes, Though Waters Roar features four generations of
strong female characters.
2.How did you come up with the initial story idea for this book?
In A Proper Pursuit, I had a minor character who was a suffragette, and as I began
researching the women’s movement for that novel, I discovered that I had the wrong
impression of the origins of the movement. I was surprised to learn that much of the work
was accomplished by ordinary Christian women who wanted to improve society in
response to their strong Christian faith. They wanted to abolish slavery and to improve
living and working conditions for women and children. They worked for better schools,
public libraries and parks in their communities. And they formed the very successful
Women’s Christian Temperance Union to close the saloons that undermined morality in
their towns. But in order to accomplish these faith-based goals the women needed to have a
voice—and a vote—so they eventually joined forces with the suffrage movement. I wanted
to write a book that covered the movement from its earliest roots in order to show how
women lived out their Christian convictions, tackling the serious social issues of their
3.You’ve written several other books featuring four generations of women, including
Eve’s Daughters, Hidden Places and All She Ever Wanted. Is this a genre you enjoy
Yes, I love to write what I call “family sagas,” showing how the choices one generation
makes affect the next generation.Writing books that cover dozens of years involves a lot of
research, but fortunately I love history! Though Waters Roar spans the time period in
America from the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 until women finally won the
right to vote in 1920.
My own grandmother was a very devout Christian and a staunch supporter of the
Women’s Christian Temperance Union, signing “The Pledge” to abstain from alcohol as a
young woman in her twenties.When I discovered the strong ties between the WCTU and
the suffrage movement, I decided to feature a grandmother who is fighting in the
temperance movement. From there, it was easy to envision a story with several generations
of women, each working for a “cause” in her era: Abolition, Temperance, Social Justice for
women and children, and Woman Suffrage.
4.What is the underlying theme? Besides entertainment,what’s the take-away value for Though Waters Roar?
My goal for this book was to tell a good story that shows how ordinary women, committed to God and His purposes,
can make a difference.We all have hard times in our lives, but they are often God’s way of preparing us for the work He
wants us to accomplish if we will offer our lives and talents to Him. It’s summed up by an adage I quote in the book:
“Smooth seas do not produce skillful sailors.” I hope to inspire women to do what they can, offering that “cup of cold
water” in Christ’s name.
5. Even though this is historical fiction, is the story still relevant to women today?
I think it’s very important for modern women to recognize all of the limitations and barriers that women in previous
generations faced, and how hard they had to fight in order to win the freedoms and career choices that we take for
granted today. If nothing else, it should convince women to take advantage of the hard-won right to vote!
But I also think that many of the issues that I raise in the book are timeless, such as dealing with disappointment in our
marriages, raising our children to be unique individuals, and finding God’s plan for our lives.
6.Who do you write for?
I write my stories for women who are looking for the same qualities that I enjoy in a good book. I like to learn
something new whenever I read and to grow in my faith. I want a book that makes me laugh, makes me cry (a little) and
makes me think. I write for readers who enjoy a good, long story with characters who become “real” people to them.