Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I was fascinated with words as a child. My mother read to me. I got hooked on Hardy Boys stories and after that it was all over. I wrote songs, poems, stories, skits—you name it, and in college I studied journalism, thinking that was the only way to apply a love of writing. In my 30s, after hosting a radio show for many years and interviewing authors, I decided to take the plunge and IVP published Spiritually Correct Bedtime Stories. Since then, I’ve had more than 70 books published and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to write.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
Morning is the best time to get everything flowing. I do an afternoon radio show and have other voice work I do—but I try to carve out from the time I get up to late morning for working on whatever is on the front burner. I’m a big believer that 90% of writing, like life, is simply showing up.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?
My wife has been trying to get me to use a standing desk, but I’m still a sit-down writer. I use my desktop computer with an ergonomic keyboard. Sometimes I move to the other side of the room, away from the desk, and sit with the keyboard in my lap.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
The favorite part is discovering something about the character or story that I didn’t know. Sometimes a question will pop up or a character says something I hadn’t intended in dialog and I just smile. My least favorite part of writing is judging the results by how many buy or read what I write. It’s easy to get into a performance trap with this and not simply offer it to God like anything else.
How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
The Kendricks came up with the story, the script, the dialog—they did 90% of the heavy lifting and I came along and filled out the story in novel form. It was an invigorating process because my novels usually take a lot longer—6-12 months in some cases. But War Room gave me a field in which to play and I loved that structure and was able to bring my own creativity to the story. I got the script in November of last year, as I recall, and the first draft was finished by February.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I don’t do a lot of marketing myself—the publisher does that and the Kendricks certainly did a great job with making a great movie. For my other books, I appear on programs—my own show, too, Chris Fabry Live, and my website—plus social media. That lets people know about my projects.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
My next novel is titled The Promise of Jesse Woods. It will come out in June of 2016. It’s a coming-of-age story that takes place simultaneously in 1972 and 1984. It’s really a love story about three kids who had an eventful summer and how that affected them.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I have 50 ideas that are vying for the next story. I keep a running list of ideas and note cards and stories. That’s part of the fun of doing this.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Talent doesn’t mean much to me. Some of the most talented writers have never published. I look for the hungry person who wants to write. If you’re willing to be open to a painful experience—editing and questions and honing the craft and reading other writers and about writing—see, now you’ve got me going. Don’t worry about your talent. Sit down and write. So many people have said, “I have a really good story I know will be a hit.” Guess how many times those people have actually written it down. Very few of them have done the hard work of even starting to tell the story. So worrying about the talent is a non-starter. The better question is, “Do I have stamina to push through to the end?” Do you have what it takes to be published—which is years of lonely work, little pay, but a ton of satisfaction. Off the soapbox now.
What advice can you give someone who isn’t worried about talent but doesn’t know where to start?
Start small. Write consistently. Journal. Blog. Get your ideas out of your head onto the page. Don’t start with writing a novel or a full-length nonfiction book. Start small. Write for your local newspaper. Write online—there are so many places you can be published today that weren’t there when I was starting. And don’t believe everything your mother/family tell you about writing. Find someone who can look at your writing and help you get better. Find someone who is published who can help lead you the next step of the way.
Learn more about Chris:
War Room Book Trailer: http://chrisfabry.com/war-room-trailer
Also, my radio show is http://www.moodyradio.org/chrisfabrylive/