Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native and the bestselling author of The Swan House, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Her Secrets of the Cross trilogy will be published in the Northern summer of 2012, including the long-awaited finale, Two Destinies.
For over twenty years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work with International Teams. They presently live near Lyon, France. The Mussers have two sons and a daughter-in-law.
To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, and to find discussion questions as well as photos of sites mentioned in the stories, please visit www.elizabethmusser.com.
In late 1961 as Algeria’s war for independence from France is coming to a close, two crosses, symbolic of another time in history, draw together a host of characters in an unforgettable story of love and war, forgiveness and revenge.
Set in the south of France in the fall of 1961, Two Crosses tells the story of Gabriella Madison, the daughter of missionaries in Senegal, who spends her junior year of college in Castelnau, France. Her faith is tested when she discovers a secret from her past, falls in love, and unwittingly becomes involved in the backdrop of the Algerian War.
Welcome to Ink Dots Elizabeth. Tell us where you’re from and who you live with. Bonjour! I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia, in the southeast of the USA. For the past 25 years I’ve lived with my husband, Paul, in several French cities (Firminy, Montpellier, Lyon) where we have worked in ministry with the missions organization International Teams. Our two sons, Andrew and Chris, grew up in France and graduated from high school there. Now they both live in the US. Andrew is married to Lacy and they are expecting their first child this summer—hooray for grandparenthood! Wow, such adventures already and great ones ahead! Congratulations!
Tell us how you came to write this book. After having lived in Montpellier, France for four years, I had heard quite a lot about the Algerian War for Independence from France (1957-1962). However, I figured, if most Americans were like me, they knew absolutely nothing about this war (maybe they didn’t even know that Algeria was just across the Mediterranean from France). I wanted to introduce them to another part of history, and to the unfamiliar culture of North Africa as well as the more familiar and much loved South of France. That was the background for Two Crosses. The story itself combined everything I love to read: history, art, literature, mystery, romance, and adventure.
If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be? I don’t have one specific time period, but I would like to follow some of the godly saints of old, to see how they held on to faith in the midst of hard times: the Apostle Paul, Saint Francis of Assisi, the brave Huguenots of the 17th century, Hudson Taylor in China, George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, Catherine Marshall. Most recently, I have been challenged in my faith by reading the writings of Lilias Trotter, who spent 40 years as a missionary in Algeria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since my trilogy involves Algeria, I have enjoyed discovering this remarkable woman. I like comfort, so peeking into those time periods would, I’m sure, be scary, and yet, I think my faith would be renewed. She sounds fascinating.
Have you been to Australia? I have never been to Australia, but I’ve had friends who have lived in your lovely land. I think I fell in love with Australia when I first saw The Man from Snowy River. I’ve also heard wonderful stories of God’s work in Australia, as the founder of our mission, Kevin Dyer, is Australian and I have made many Australian friends over the years. Love the accent! If I ever had a chance to visit, I’d like to follow Crocodile Dundee around for awhile...or better yet, Dotti! Not sure I could show you the same Australia Croc Dundee would, but we could rustle up a few shopping adventures in Melbourne!
How has writing this book changed you? Two Crosses was my first contracted novel—first published in 1996. Having prayed for so many years that the Lord would show me if he wanted me to do something more with my writing gift, writing this novel was a huge answer to prayer and each day I sat down at my computer was like getting a hug from the Lord. It changed my life by launching my writing career as a novelist, but more importantly, it was another instance in which the Lord showed me that His provision in His way and in His time is always best and that waiting on Him is worth it. I am so thrilled the complete trilogy, Two Crosses, Two Testaments and Two Destinies will be released this summer!
Here’s a peek into chapter one of Elizabeth’s Two Crosses. For your chance to win a print copy, please leave a comment below and I’ll announce the winner on Friday.
Congratulations on the release of this trilogy, Elizabeth. I look forward to hearing more about your writing journey in the days to come.
The sun rose softly on the lazy town of Castelnau in the south of France. Gabriella quietly slipped out of bed, stretched, and ran her fingers through her thick mane of red hair. The tile floor felt cool to her bare feet. Peering down from her tiny room, she watched the empty streets begin to fill with people. Mme Leclerc, her landlady, was the first to enter the boulangerie just in view down the street to buy baguettes and gros pain, the bread essential for breakfast for her three boarding students.
She watched a moment longer, until a lanky young man in his midtwenties walked briskly up the street. There was no mistaking the next client who entered the boulangerie. Gabriella had recognized him the first time she saw him buying bread a few days earlier, from the description of the other boarders. This was David Hoffmann, the university’s handsome American instructor. Gabriella strained to get a closer look.
She reached for the large leather-bound Bible sitting on her wooden nightstand and leafed familiarly through the pages until she found the place she was seeking. Ten minutes later, as she carefully laid the book back on the nightstand, a letter fell from the Bible. She reached down and retrieved it, and as she tucked it back into the book, a line caught her eye: I give you this cross, which has always been for me a symbol of forgiveness and love.
A shadow swept across her. Instinctively she reached to touch the gold chain that hung around her neck. Paying no attention to the cold, hard tile beneath her bare knees, she knelt on the floor and propped her folded hands on the side of the bed. She moved her lips without a sound escaping. It was only later, when she rose to her feet and smoothed her skirt, that she noticed her hands were wet from her warm tears.