DogwoodDogwood
Chris Fabry
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In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and "do life" the best she can. Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved--only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin's past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn't survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.
     

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Chris Fabry is a writer, host of Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio, father of nine and husband of one. He studied Journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, has worked in radio with many ministries since the 1980s, and has published more than 60 books. Andrea, now live in Colorado and are the parents of nine children.

Favorite Verse: Colossians 3:23-24

 

 Our Interview with Chris Fabry


 

How did you get started as a CBA writer?


I met Jerry Jenkins. I gave him some stories and he asked, “Do you really want to do this? I can help.” He did. That’s how I got my start.


How did you come up with the concept for Dogwood?


I had the idea in the 1980s or early 90s. I knew right away that there would be death as part of the center of the story. I wanted to present some characters who had gone through horrific loss and sacrifice and show that God cares for those hurts and can redeem that loss and that hurt.


What is the symbolism for the title Dogwood?


Dogwood trees are plentiful in my home state of West Virginia. There’s a legend about the dogwood—and part of that legend is that if you look closely at the flower petals on the tree you will see the nail prints and a cross. I think that image grabbed me and kept me writing.

 

Do you have a favorite character in the Dogwood? Why?


Will has to be the obvious choice because he’s the one with the biggest heart, he loves Karin with all of his being, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to regain her love. I have to mention Ruthie, however, because I think all of us have a Ruthie in our lives that speaks truth to us and helps us move forward. Without Ruthie, Will can’t accomplish his task.

How much research did Dogwood take?

 
Since I grew up in a town like Dogwood, I took the characters from people I had seen, but some of the prison scenes and the law enforcement angle took a little more time.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while researching and writing Dogwood?


This may seem weird, but West Virginia led the country in deaths per capita in Viet Nam than any other state. Some of that material was edited from the final version of the book and didn’t fit, but many sons of the hills gave their lives in that conflict.

Is this the beginning of a series; or a stand-alone?


The book stands alone, but there will be two others to follow that will have the same setting—different time periods, but the same setting.

 

How did you choose the story line?

I think good stories choose you. This is the one I kept coming back to as my first adult novel. There’s something about the setting that is unique—the people are the people I love, the ones I grew up with and have stuck in my memory, and the plot is something I identify with…great loss yields great pain and can also yield great redemption.

 

 

Do you prefer to write romance fiction?
 
I don’t think of my writing as strictly romance. There’s certainly an element of romance that runs through the story, but there’s also mystery and intrigue, as well as a supernatural aspect. I guess I prefer to write stories people will read.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

 
I’d love to write every minute of my work day, but with nine children and two hungry dogs, I can’t. I think keeping the story fresh in your mind and coming back to it fresh is a struggle. Also, since I work out of a home office, there’s always something to do and I can easily neglect the kids and my wife.


What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?


I enjoy being able to use my imagination to form a whole world of characters of my own. I enjoy sitting down with a fresh idea and having no idea who might benefit from the words I write, but also knowing that God has the perfect reader in mind.

 

 

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?


I’m a member of the Christian Writers Guild and I’ve seen so many people helped by the mentors over the years. That idea of having someone come alongside and help answer the nitty-gritty questions of publishing is a wonderful thing.

What do you do to keep your writing fresh and improve on it each time you write a book?


That goes back to the verse at the top. When we’re given a task to do, we can either do it wholeheartedly or in some other way. I try to throw myself into each project as if this is the last thing I’ll ever write. I hope that comes through, whether it’s a book for children or adults.

Are there any other new projects on the horizon?


The one I’m working on now is the next book in the series. It’s about a little girl looking for her true identity, traveling the country with the man she thinks is her father.

 

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Dogwood?


Life is hard and you have to hug the ugly out of it. There is no problem you’ve faced in life, no bad choice that you’ve made, that God isn’t prepared to redeem for his glory.

What is your greatest achievement?


Maybe being self-employed for the past nine years and being able to pay the bills of a large family. But that’s really not my achievement—God has worked that out and I thank him for it.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Usually it’s a walk in the Colorado mountains or a baseball game or finding a good book and losing myself.

 

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