The publisher has agreed to give away one print copy of this book (US ONLY). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends July 26, 2019. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.)
Q&A with Chris...
Q: You visited the set of Overcomer when it was being filmed. What did you take away
from that experience?
A: 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.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the story line, without giving too much away?
A: 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 story suggests that we often let others, our culture, or the roles we play define us. What do you hope this story does inside readers?
A: First, I hope it captivates readers as simply a good story. I want you to turn the pages to see what will happen next. I was able to develop some of the story lines a little further and show a little more than the film can show in two hours. So my desire is for a satisfying read that takes you deeper into your own heart. Then, when you see the film, I hope you’ll be amazed at how the two versions of the story come together.
Q: Is discovering our identity in Christ something you can do “mentally”? How do you get the knowledge to transform the way you live?
A: There is a sense that you can “know” this and not experience it. In other words, there are plenty of Christians who get this in the head but not the heart. It’s our hope that this story will bridge the gap between head and heart. Transformation doesn’t come with knowing facts. It comes when you participate with God in the change he is making on the inside. That’s always a painful process but a good one.
Q: This book suggests that surrendering our lives to God is the only way to discover the life we were meant to live. Comment on that principle.
A: 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.
Q: What do we risk when we surrender control and place our future in God’s hands? What do we gain?
A: 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.
Q: This is your second novelization of a Kendrick brothers’ movie. What is your process for writing a movie novelization?
A: 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.
Q: What character will we learn more about in the book than we see in the movie?
A: Hannah’s grandmother, Barbara, has a tough, crusty exterior. And in the film you see a lot of her fear and how that motivates her life. Of course, you want to see her change by the end of the story, but we know that doesn’t always happen. So I found it challenging to tell more about what’s going on inside Barbara in the novel.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this story and why?
A: 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.
Q: How did you relate to this story personally?
A: 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.
It’s hard to write this review without including any spoilers. I read a lot of books, and I don't give out too many five-star reviews, but this one is certainly worthy of it. To keep it short and to the point, the message is something I needed to hear, and I think many others will feel the same way.
The book is divided into four parts (The Coach, The Question, The Answer, and The Voice). Throughout the book, Fabry’s characters are a reminder that life doesn’t always turn out as we expect. In fact, it rarely does. But that’s not always a bad thing, as God’s plans are so much better than we can envision. We are all overcomers in some way, and this book reinforces that message.
Many people will be able to relate to John and Hannah, who are struggling to find their paths. It's wonderful to see them grow as they realize the parts God has lined up for them to fulfill. The book may leave the reader evaluating who they really are … and whose they really are. It’s a highly emotional read, especially as the story unfolds, so keep the Kleenex nearby. I had a difficult time putting this book down, as it was that engaging. I look forward to seeing the movie.
A couple of my favorite quotes:
- “When we give our life over to God, He helps us, He forgives us, He can turn the bad to good and carry us forward.”
- “I think somehow forgiveness is a gift you have to open every day. First, you open it for yourself and receive it. Once you do that, you wrap it up and give it to somebody else.”
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.