I am incredibly honored today to welcome prolific, award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry to the blog to chat about his new book Overcomer!
Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.
Chris’s novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and The Promise of Jesse Woods, have won five Christy Awards, an ECPA Christian Book Award, and two Awards of Merit from Christianity Today. He was inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2018. His eightieth published book, Under a Cloudless Sky, is a novel set in the coalfields of his home state of West Virginia. His books include movie novelizations, like the bestseller War Room; nonfiction; and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and the Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. Visit his website at www.chrisfabry.com.
GENRE: Inspirational Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: July 23, 2019
Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team and state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant shuts down and hundreds of families leave their town, John questions how he and his family will face an uncertain future. After reluctantly agreeing to coach cross-country, John and his wife, Amy, meet an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward discovery. Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.
Hi Chris! Welcome to the blog!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the story line, without giving too much away?
Chris: The film focuses on a fifteen-year-old girl, Hannah Scott. She’s been through a lot of loss in her life and struggles with her identity, which is universal. As you watch her grapple with what life throws at her, you will be encouraged to run your own race. Her coach also has a big part in the film and novel because he’s struggling with some of the same questions.
Q: This is your second novelization of a Kendrick brothers’ movie. What is your process for writing a movie novelization?
Chris: I love the fact that the Kendricks have drawn the boundary lines and have made all the hard choices. I call it the fence line—they’ve put up the barbed wire and I get to play in the pasture. I read the script, I watch the rough cut of the film about a thousand times, I ask questions about what’s on Hannah’s wall, for example. Why does she choose those images to put above her bed? Why does she wear that shirt on her first day of school? So I get to do things with words and answer questions that you can’t do in a film because of the limitations on-screen.
Carrie: That sounds like so much fun!
Q: Speaking of fun…what do you enjoy about this process?
Chris: I love the sense of exploring characters and their hearts. To me, these are real people. I like to put myself in the place of a coach who has defined himself by wins and losses. I like to run with Hannah and hear the struggle she has with asthma. And I enjoyed getting to know Hannah’s grandmother, Barbara. She’s a difficult character in the film, but in the book you learn some of the backstory of why she acts the way she acts. I just love that process.
Carrie: Filling in those blanks and making them real for the reader is a gift!
Q: What is challenging about this process?
Chris: The most challenging thing about writing someone else’s idea is that I have to stay consistent with something someone else invented. It’s easy for me to go in some direction or add some motivation that isn’t necessarily on target with the vision of the Kendricks. So I lean on Alex mostly to rein me in and keep me in the pasture.
Carrie: I bet that would be difficult at times.
Q: You visited the set of Overcomer when it was being filmed. What did you take away from that experience?
Chris: I was amazed at the complexity of all the moving parts. I was also struck by the commitment the Kendricks and their team have to tell the story they’re given and not deviate. Their commitment to prayer on set was heartening and rich.
Carrie: Visiting a film or TV set is on my bucket list!
Q: Overcomer suggests that surrendering our lives to God is the only way to discover the life we were meant to live. Comment on that principle.
Chris: I once knew an old missionary to India who told me, “Your greatest mission in life is submission.” The best thing we can do with our lives is to fully surrender to God’s work. For those of us who like to control things (me being chief controller), this is a scary, vulnerable thing to do. But we find real, abundant life when we get to the point where we’re willing to allow God to do whatever he wants to do in and through us.
Carrie: So true – and such a lifelong journey too.
Q: Building on that last question a bit more – What do we risk when we surrender control and place our future in God’s hands? What do we gain?
Chris: Surrender is a huge risk because we lose control. We lose the ability to write our own story. But when you take that step of faith—and another and another—you begin the journey of entering the Bigger Story, the Larger Story of what God is doing in you and in the world. Look at the disciples before they fully entered that story and after they entered it. You’ll never reach your full potential until you submit to God’s working in your life.
Carrie: The Bigger Story – yes! This is my heartbeat
Q: Who is your favorite character in this story and why?
Chris: How do you not answer with Hannah? She’s just so relatable and real to me. But I have to say that Thomas captured my heart. When you see the depth of his struggle, the guilt he has lived with, the way God has taken hold of him—but that he is still growing in grace when we meet him—his face, his heart all comes through so strongly.
Carrie: Hannah definitely intrigues me – and now Thomas does too!
Q: How did you relate to this story personally?
Chris: I aspire to have my identity come from what God has done for me in Christ. In reality, I struggle with the same thing these characters are struggling with. Do I gauge my worth by my performance? Do I gauge my acceptability with God by some external thing, or do I really believe God accepts me as I am and that he sees the righteousness of Christ in me? Do I strive or rest? Those are questions that are huge in my life and I think will make a difference for anyone who reads or sees this story.
Carrie: Amen. Such relevant questions to grapple with…
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Overcomer to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about Chris Fabry and/or Overcomer?