Chris Fabry hopes readers find truth in his fiction.
“I want to move people like I’ve been moved by stories,” says the Christian writer, who in June received a Christy Award, a premier award in Christian fiction, for “Not in the Heart.”
Today is the official release date for his latest book, “Every Waking Moment,” in which characters face the question: What if this is as good as my life gets?
Characters are key to Fabry, who says he wants to write authentic, struggling people who must ask questions and make choices.
He hopes to write “how to deal with life in a literary way” and that readers will ask themselves the same questions of their lives and relationships that his characters must.
“Chris writes people who you can imagine that is someone you know, someone you have encountered” and he evokes honest emotion, says Karen Watson, associate publisher for fiction at Tyndale House Publishing Group in Illinois.
“I want to tell the truth about whoever the character is,” says Fabry, who writes and broadcasts radio programs from his office, a one-time walk-in closet in his Vail home’s master suite. He and his wife, Andrea Fabry, have been married since 1982 and have nine children, ages 12 to 28.
Fabry says he doesn’t write to tell readers what he believes, he writes to discover what he thinks and believes. He hopes readers will finish his books with some answers.
Christian fiction is written from a Christian worldview and easily crosses into other genres, says Watson.
“Many writers have an agenda, a perspective” from which they write,” Fabry says. Christian fiction is often pigeonholed as an agenda-driven genre and relegated to the back shelves of bookstores.
He considers his work literary fiction and that it could easily be plugged into other categories. For example, “Not in the Heart,” which deals with a journalist who discovers a death-row inmate who may not have been the killer, could have been placed among thrillers.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to put Chris’ books out there” in other categories, Watson says.
Storytelling has been integral to the Christian tradition since Jesus told parables — simple, imagery-steeped tales that illustrated a message. The parables are considered essential to Jesus’ teachings.
Christian fiction has matured substantially over the last 50 years, says Watson. As other genres, like romance and mystery, Christian fiction has moved beyond code-driven, formulaic books with mandatory elements.
Criticism of Christian fiction is often based on a 20-year-old snapshot of the genre, she says. Electronics stores and digital books have helped Christian fiction attract readers because the books are not strictly categorized.
“Amazon doesn’t make a distinction” among genres, says Watson. Readers pull up a book by title and are often pleasantly surprised by the quality of writing and story content. Thus, Christian authors are reaching more readers and an atypical audience.
Fabry has written about 70 books. He also has inspirational, nonfiction and youth fiction in his publishing cache. Sports fans may recognize his name — Fabry collaborated on biographies of Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Fabry received two previous Christy Awards and an Evangelical Christian Publishers Association book award for fiction.
The West Virginia native is an alumnus of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
In 1998, he was hired to write the “Left Behind: The Kids” series, which follows a group of teens who were “left behind” when other friends and family members were taken to heaven in the rapture. He wrote 35 books in the series over six years.
Fabry says his other passion is broadcasting. He first hit the airwaves in high school (not counting the skits he wrote for his CB radio when he was 12) and now includes chatting with listeners on “Chris Fabry Live!” weekdays on Moody Radio among several broadcasting endeavors.
Up at about 4:30 a.m. every morning, Fabry sets a daily word goal — about 15,000 when writing an adult book to 2,000 when writing for kids and teens.
Though deadlines and hungry kids help keep Fabry on that grueling pace, he says, “I’m doing what I really want to do. I’m doing what I really like to do.”