Author, Chris Fabry

November 3, 2011
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Chris Fabry is a name well-known name for lovers of Christian fantasy. It's inevitable that any pre-teen or teenage boy has read or owns at least one of his books. He has written a multitude of books, as well having co-written several series with Jerry B. Jenkins.

I was recently given the opportunity to interview Mr. Fabry for Teen Ink.

Rachel- Tell us about yourself.

Chris Fabry- I’ve been married 29 years to Andrea Kessel Fabry. We have 9 children from 26 to 10 years of age. I grew up in WV and moved to Chicago to study at Moody Bible Institute. We moved from Chicago to Colorado in 2000. About 3 years ago our family moved to Arizona to get treatment from a toxic mold exposure. I love to read, write, and I do several radio programs.
 
RH- How did you first become interested in writing?

CF- I wrote as a child, but didn’t get a lot of encouragement from teachers. Teachers were more interested in the technical aspects of writing. I wanted to make my friends laugh. I would stay up late and craft stories, poems, and songs and read them to my friends the next day. I studied journalism in college, then worked with Moody Radio. I began to get the “itch” to write again as I spoke with famous authors. That fueled the desire and I published my first book in 1995. I’m working on book #72 now.
 
RH- You've worked with Jerry B. Jenkins several times; what is it like working with him?

CF- I’ve learned more from Jerry than all my writing classes combined. He’s a lot further down the road than I am and has made himself available to answer questions about selling my writing, what to write, how to write, and more. I can’t thank him enough for his input in my writing life.

RH- What inspired the Red Rock mysteries?

CF- Jerry and I wanted to do a series of books that mimicked the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew series, but that had a distinctly Christian feel. Many of the situations in the books were taken from my own children’s lives. We lived, at the time, in a section of Colorado with lots of red rock formations and a variety of animals, so I tried to work in as much local color as I could.

RH- How did the process of co-writing the Left Behind Kids work?

CF- Jerry was on a hectic pace with the adult series so he and Dr. LaHaye asked if I would write the children’s series. I read the adult books and plotted out 4 books per adult title. I sent the plots to Jerry. He marked them up, told me where he thought they should go, and then turned me loose. I sent the manuscript to him when I was finished, asking questions along the way, and he sent the edited manuscript back. I changed/reworked things and sent the book on to the publisher. There were further edits from there, but that was the process.

RH- How were you involved in the audio-dramatization of the series?

CF- I wrote the scripts for the first 10 books, I believe. Todd Busteed oversaw the production of them and I worked with him to bring the series to life via audio dramatization.

RH- Tell us about the writing of the Wormling series.

CF- I had a fantasy idea just before we ended the Red Rock series. Jerry loved it and thought it would be a big hit. Everyone who’s read it really likes Owen Reeder and his story. It’s an allegory about each individual believer and the power we have available to us if we’ll only realize who we are. We had a lot of fun with the characters and plot lines.

RH- Are you yourself a fan of fantasy?

CF- I love The Lord of the Rings, but I have to admit I’m not a huge fantasy reader. I find that ultra-smart people can hold all of those characters and storylines in their heads much better than I can.


RH- When co-writing a book, how do you decide upon a plot or idea?

CF- I find it difficult to write another person’s vision. I have to own it. It has to come from inside me. There have been suggestions along the way that help, that take me in some other direction than I had planned, but I pretty much have to decide what I want to write and run with it from my own vision.

RH- Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

CF- I read a lot of genres. My favorite of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird. That book had a tremendous affect on me. I like the writing of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly. I read Christian fiction as well, and books about writing.

RH- Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

CF- Real life is the best ground to dig for stories. There are tons of rocks in our lives that you can roll over and find something growing, something wriggling. I see stories in the news, hear them from friends and family, and sometimes they just spring up overnight.

RH- Please share with us your testimony of Salvation.

CF- My family went to a little church that taught you couldn’t really know if you were a Christian from one day to the next. My mother listened to Back to the Bible on a local radio station and realized that it’s by grace we’re saved an not by our own merit. I understood that at about 10 years of age and asked God’s forgiveness. But it wasn’t until high school and afterward that I made a decision to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. So it was a real progression for me—coming to faith, struggling with what that looked like, and then inviting Jesus to live in and through me.

RH- You're latest project is Almost Heaven; tell us about that.

CF- Billy Allman is based on a real man who lived in West Virginia. I found out about him on the radio when a listener called and told me about his struggles. I knew from that day I had to write about him. The book is about God’s work in one man’s life. He seems like an inconsequential person to most everyone, but to God he is important.

RH- What other projects do you have in the works?

CF- The other book out is called A Marriage Carol. It’s based on A Christmas Carol and shows what choices can do to a marriage, good and bad.

RH- What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

CF- Write, write, write, and read, read, read. There is no substitute for actually sitting down and writing, rather than talking about writing. Also, start small. You’ll want to start with a novel. That’s like a brain surgeon beginning her career by slicing someone’s head open. Dissect a worm before you do a liver transplant. Writing is an art. It takes a lot of work. There is craft to it. Yes, anyone can make a chair or paint by number, but an artist crafts a painting or a piece of furniture. The same goes for writers.





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