On Writing Hard Subjects by Linda Thompson – Guest Post

Posted January 24, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Guest Post /

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by Linda Thompson

“Throughout the process of this book I’ve learned to live in His grace, to write through His power, and to rest in His presence. Oh, how grateful I am to know him as Savior. How wonderful to love and be loved by an infinite, unchanging, life-giving God.”

– Allison Pittman, For Time and Eternity

I found these words-to-live-by on the Acknowledgments page of Allison Pittman’s 2010 novel, which deals incisively and gracefully with a very hard subject: polygamy, and the heartbreak of a “first wife” trapped in it. Allison’s words struck me in part because I was also writing a novel that plunged into hard subjects—places some might feel Christian fiction shouldn’t venture.

So why did I find it important to “go there”? Why did I feel this book had to be written? Because the “bones” of the tale are true, and I wanted to see God glorified for it. While I added fictional detail, at the heart it’s a tale of radical redemption the Lord really wrought.

The story stirred me when my husband first pointed it out to me in a World War II history book. And it still stirs me today, even after I worked for six years to shape the historical material into a novel. It’s a tremendous testimony to how His grace pierces through to the darkest places our world can devise—prisons, torture chambers, brothels. Anywhere men and women are desperate enough to come to the end of themselves is a place God’s power (dynamis, the root word from which we get our word dynamite) can reign.


Lieutenant Robert Hite, captive. Tokyo, April 1942. Part of the chain of historical events that inspired The Plum Blooms in Winter.

The Bible shows us example after example where our Lord speaks redemption into dark places. In the gospels alone we meet many figures that can’t be shown with any accuracy on Sunday School felt boards—prostitutes, demoniacs, lepers. Our Lord delivers from the very tomb, thick with the stench of death. And God gets the glory for all of it.

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified in it.” (John 11:4)

I don’t know about you, but I believe we’re living in the “as in the days of Noah” Jesus spoke of in Matt 24:37. Our world is dark and getting darker. In dozens of nations, being a Christian can bring a death sentence, or get you sent to a “black jail” or a work camp or an organ harvester.

Is that grim? Terribly, if we ignore the dynamis of God. God’s church is growing fastest in the very nations where persecution is hottest. That isn’t new. Much of the New Testament was written to Christians suffering from desperate hardship or undergoing violent persecution (“the fiery ordeal among you,” 1 Pet 4:12).

“You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”

– Corrie Ten Boom

When you boil it down to its essentials, The Plum Blooms in Winter records the journeys of two individuals—a downed American airman and a Japanese woman forced into prostitution—who learn this truth. It’s my fervent prayer that it will speak to others who desperately need to learn it. And isn’t that all of us?

On Writing Hard Subjects by Linda Thompson – Guest Post

The Plum Blooms in Winter

by Linda Thompson

Series: Brands from the Burning #1
Series Rating:
Published by Mountain Brook Ink
Publication Date December 1, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Action/Adventure
Setting: Japan, China World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 366


A Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge--In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission--Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal. In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ's forgiveness.

Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother's life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him--even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka's treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends--only to confront a decision that will change everything.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Also in this series: The Mulberry Leaf Whispers

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About Linda Thompson

Linda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves–stories where reckless faith meets relentless redemption. Her recently launched debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an A.C.F.W. Genesis award winner. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading–yes, that does make her a throwback–taking in a majestic desert moonrise, or dreaming of an upcoming trip. She and her husband recently returned from a tour of Israel and Jordan and a visit to Wales.

Linda loves to connect with readers!


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7 responses to “On Writing Hard Subjects by Linda Thompson – Guest Post

  1. Phyllis, thank you so much for the honor of guest-posting on your blog. When I wrote this I hadn’t seen your review, so it’s a God thing that this post dovetailed so well with it! Thank you for your kind reception of The Plum Blooms in Winter, and for all you do to promote quality Christian fiction.

    • I’m so glad you shared on the blog. I was blessed by this post as well as the book and agree that it does go so well with the review. Then again, this did come out so clearly in the story! Thank you for taking the time to create this post for us!

  2. Beverly Cheevers

    Beautifully written apologetic. You definitely showcased God’s dynamis in this post. God bless you!
    And thanks, Phyllis, for sharing your blog with Linda today!

  3. Jennifer Hibdon

    Thank you the review. I must read this book. Thanx for sharing, Linda.

    • Linda

      It’s my pleasure, Jennifer! Thanks for the comment. 🙂 and I have to agree that you must read this book. 😀