Today I have author and teacher Lynne Tagawa answering questions and chatting about her novel, A Twisted Strand.
After a painful divorce, Rachel Davis is ready to enjoy her new South Texas country home, raise her kids, and find some peace. Can she find the secret to making her heart whole again?
William Davis, MD, would do anything to take back his horrible mistake, but infidelity is more than his wife can forgive. He goes home to an empty house in Austin each night, trying his best to be a good dad from afar.
When Rachel discovers their Jersey heifer dead from a hemorrhagic fever, she quickly realizes that the disease may spread to humans. Working for an epidemiologist, she joins the investigation. The family vet sickens, and Will enters the battle against this mysterious virus. Is it natural? Or is it terrorism?
Estranged from God and from each other, Rachel and Will encounter the truth of the gospel and struggle to make sense of it. Is there hope? And is there hope for their relationship?
Where did you get the idea for A Twisted Strand? Since this was my first foray into fiction, I wanted to keep one thing easy: the setting. I tried to imagine a story set near my home in San Antonio, Texas, and the surrounding area. Then came the “what if” question—what if an engineered virus started spreading here?
I know the book has medical/laboratory aspects. Did you have to do special research for this? I did. I’m a biology teacher by trade, so the basics were known to me, but there was an incredible amount of minutiae I had to look up. For example, all the stuff about Ebola’s capsid proteins in the book I found online.
By the way, the crux of the story—the genetic engineering—is unrealistic to my mind. The two particular viruses I put together remind me of a weed-whacker engine being put inside the chassis of a full-size sedan. It simply isn’t going to work. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some combination that would—and that’s what makes such stories suspenseful. There is always the possibility.
Is there a theme associated with the book? If so, what is it? Actually, I began this story with the thematic elements uppermost in my mind. How could I relate the Law of Moses to the gospel in a simple, natural way? The Law, which reveals our sin and foreshadows Christ, is the doorway to the gospel—our “tutor,” as it were. My characters grapple with the issues of sin, forgiveness, and reconciliation—before God, and between each other. For this reason, the story is a bit more “preachy” than most, but I’ve been told that the scriptural elements fit in very naturally.
Have you ever read a scene that had you biting your nails in suspense? If so, what book was it from? One of Bodie Thoene’s first series, The Zion Chronicles, contains a number of nail-biting scenes that stand out in my mind years after having read them. For example, I can still visualize a bus full of people, bombed on the way to Jerusalem’s Old City, slipping over the cliff at the side of the road.
But it wasn’t the bus that I cared about—it was, of course, the people inside. And what this author did so well was to paint these characters in such a way that I cared about them. And that is the essence of great suspense—we care about the characters, and so whether it’s a nuclear bomb or a terrorist or a dying dog, we are moved, we are biting our nails.
One of my primary goals as a writer is to create characters that the reader can identify with at some level—characters the reader will care about. And this, of course, is important in any genre.
I completely agree! Thank you so much, Lynne, for visiting with us today. I’ve enjoyed this interview and I’m sure readers will too. You can find A Twisted Strand on Amazon here.
Lynne Tagawa is married with four grown sons and three marvelous grandbabies. A biology teacher by trade, she teaches part-time, writes, and edits. She’s written a Texas history curriculum in narrative form, Sam Houston’s Republic, and published her debut novel, A Twisted Strand, last year. The Shenandoah Road, a story of the Great Awakening, is scheduled to be published in 2018. Lynne lives with her husband in South Texas.
Connect with Lynne at http://gracetrails.blogspot.com.
I will see you back next week for another installment of Spring Suspense with author Leeann Betts.