Today we're excited to chat with Christine Sunderland, author of Pilgrimage.
FQ: What type of reader did you have in mind when you wrote Pilgrimage?
I believe Pilgrimage would appeal to travelers who enjoy journeys both of body and soul, those who seek to experience and understand our world, as well as our place in it.
FQ: What do you hope a reader of another faith might get out of your book?
I would hope a reader of another faith would enjoy visiting Italy (Rome, Orvieto, Milan, Lake Como, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Siena) as well as the journey through time, meeting historical figures who have so impacted Western values. Also, the central premise of Pilgrimage is a universal one – a mother's grief. Agnostic readers have commented to me that they saw Madeleine's journey of healing as a metaphor for the human condition.
FQ: Your main character accepts religious miracles, such as receiving the stigmata, with little doubt in their veracity. How do you view religious miracles?
Throughout time there have been fraudulent claims and bogus relics. Even so, I believe in miracles that have been historically documented with eyewitness accounts. An interesting present day stigmatic is Padre Pio, who died in the last few years. His stigmata are well documented.
FQ: The characters in your book hold very definite values. For example, Madeleine tries to dissuade her son from living out of wedlock with his girlfriend. Are you hoping to embark certain lessons in values to your readership?
Every author's values are present in his or her work, and I am no exception, but of course, each of us must make our own choices and respect one another's chosen path. As an author, I must tell the truth as I see it.
FQ: Your book also serves as a great travelogue. Could readers use Pilgrimage to find the churches, restaurants and hotels mentioned in the book?
All of the churches, restaurants and hotels are factual and welcoming to visitors and guests. Pilgrimage arose out of my travel journals and we often return to these beloved places in Italy.
FQ: Can you give readers a preview of what they can expect in the second book of the trilogy, Offerings?
In Offerings we travel again with Jack and Madeleine, this time through France in search of an expert surgeon to perform a lifesaving procedure. We also see France through the eyes of the agnostic Doctor DuPres. Themes involve the nature of love, the power of trust, and the question of belief. We visit Lourdes, Rocamadour, Vence, Lèrins, Lyons, Vézeley, Reims, and of course, Paris.
The third in the trilogy, Inheritance, set in England, will be released in the next six months.