Page 13


Local Author Writes UC Berkeley Literary Suspense

Lafayette Today ~ August 2016 - Page 13

By Christine Sunderland

An early baby-boomer, I grew up in Berkeley, Orinda, and Lafayette. My father, Carl Thomas, was the founding pastor of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in the ‘fifties, and I have early memories of meeting in the Lafayette Park Theater and the old Town Hall. I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Orinda and Lafayette and, being raised in a pastor’s family, I was steeped in poetic cadence, powerful language, and salvific story and image. My father died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 1981, and I remembered him in the portrayal of the professor in The Fire Trail who is dying of ALS. Fast forward fifty years and I found myself traveling in Western Europe and keeping meditative journals, stunned by the history of the Western world. From those travel journals emerged my first three novels, Pilgrimage, Offerings, and Inheritance, set in Italy, France, and England, dealing with the history of the West found in its churches and shrines. My fourth novel, Hana-lani, was born on its own, not relying on journals. The heroine, a fast-paced city girl, must recover from a plane crash in a rural community on Maui, where she faces life choices and the meaning of love. In The Magdalene Mystery, the fifth novel, I returned to European settings, in a quest to find the real Mary Magdalene in Rome's basilicas and Provencal grottos. In my research and writing I developed a keen appreciation for the connection between past and present, Doors | Windows | Blinds & Shades | Home Automation and the importance of knowing how our culture arrived at this moment in time. I sense, as do many, America is on fire. We face daily threats to peace, to liberty and law, Visit Our Alamo freedom of speech and worship, to honoring the dignity of every person regardless of race, gender, handicap, age. UC Showroom Berkeley, the home of the Free Speech Movement, seemed 3221-B Danville Blvd a perfect setting to explore America’s cultural collapse and the definition of civilization. And Berkeley was one of my Alamo, CA 94507 home towns as well as where I serve as Managing Editor for By Appointment Only American Church Union, a small Anglican publisher. My office is a block from campus, an easy commute from Alamo where I live today with my husband and two amazing cats. In The Fire Trail (eLectio Publishing, May, 2016), UC Berkeley grad student Jessica Thierry walks the Fire Trail in the hills and witnesses a rapistmurderer leave the scene. Fearing for her life, she focuses on her doctorate about Christianity’s role in Berkeley's history. She meets grad student Zachary Aguilar who searches for goodness, beauty, transcendence, and truth as he strives to protect her from the killer. Jessica is hired as Assistant Docent at Comerford House Museum where she meets Armenian Pastor Nathaniel Casparian. Disfigured by burns, resident caretaker of Comerford, Father Nate looks after his dying brother who is writing The Question of Civilization. As Jessica writes her dissertation discussing the benefit of the Presentation Sisters to Berkeley history, she works alongside Anna Aguilar, Comerford’s docent, who vets violent novels donated to her children’s library. Frightened by rising crime, Anna is encouraged by Nate’s belief in a return of the Judeo-Christian tradition of peace and freedom to the public square. As the killer draws near, as local crime increases, and as terrorism escalates, The Fire Trail draws these four characters to a dramatic conclusion. I’ll be reading from The Fire Trail at Orinda Books, September 17, from 3-5PM. The novel is carried by Orinda Books, Rakestraw Books in Danville, the Berkeley Historical Society, and online retailers. Visit me at www.ChristineSunderland. com and the The Fire Trail’s Facebook page, “The Fire Trail, by Christine Sunderland.” Advertorial

DOORS & WINDOWS pellanorcal.com

Wood | Fiberglass | Vinyl

(844) 877-3552 www.PellaNorCal.com

Profile for The Editors, Inc

Lafayette Today August 2016  

Lafayette, California's premier monthly good-news newspaper

Lafayette Today August 2016  

Lafayette, California's premier monthly good-news newspaper