Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gloria's Corner interviews father/daughter writing team Karina & Deacon Steve

Gloria's Corner
June 10, 2010

Interview with Karina Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert
by Gloria

Good morning everyone.

Today we have with us an author who has been here before, but this time Karina Fabian has her dad, Deacon Steven Lumbert join her. Glad you could join us here today and share a bit about your joint authorship of your book, Why God Matters. We will hear thoughts from both Karina and Steven in today’s interview.

GO: Karina to start us off here, tell us a bit about your book and how you came to write a book with your dad?

KF: Why God Matters tells of several experiences from my father’s and my lives that showed us God’s loving hand and that strengthened our faith. Along with the stories of those experiences (think Chicken Soup style), we offer some short lessons on increasing your own faith, plus quotes from Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I was asked to write this book by Tribute Books to fill a hole in their production line. They already knew exactly what they wanted–right to the format. It was actually pretty easy, but I felt intimidated about the assignment because I felt I could only offer an overly feminine perspective, and the book really needed a balance. Then in church, it hit me–I have a deacon father! I called him up and invited him to collaborate and it was the best thing I could have done–for the book and for me.

GO: When two writers co-author a book there is a chance that their writing styles would clash. Deacon Lumbert, when Karina asked you to co-author this book were you concerned about the style issue? How did you work this out so that the finished product was consistent in style?

SL: I didn’t even consider that issue. As this is my first time writing a book, I was excited to work with Karina. She is an accomplished and published author. I had confidence in her. We agreed on a process for reviewing the writing, but I can tell you she is a tough critic.

GO: Karina, I believe this was the first time you’ve co-written a book with your dad. What were the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer during this experience?

KF: Actually, this was the first time I’ve co-written a book, period. I actually think it went easier because it was with my dad. I have to admit, though, I was a little nervous. I know my dad–he’s a dear, smart and funny, but he’s a TALKER, and it comes out in his writing. I know there’d be some serious editing and I wanted to be sure that I not only didn’t wreck his style, but that I didn’t get into arguments.

As it turned out, the biggest surprise was the best. I’d give a critique (one that would make a lot of writers cry, frankly) and Dad would come back with this work that was so improved! Then we’d tweak until they sang. Looking back, I think a lot of his stories are better done than mine, and I’m the one with 20 + year’s experience. I am so proud of my Daddy!

Other great surprises were personal–learning the full story of the Lumbert Trouble Boys. Realizing just how much we meant to each other in our faith journeys as well as our life journeys. God blessed us with the chance to write this book.

GO: Steven, have you written a book prior to this one? I know you’ve written many sermons, which are a different kind of writing, I’d think. What are your thoughts about the experience?

SL: This was the first time ever. As you mention, I have written many homilies/sermons, and many, many reports in my previous work. However, the style used in writing a book is totally different and I had to get used to it. With the experience, I think I will now be writing more effective homilies/sermons as I now realize a more effective way of writing.

GO: Karina, your book is slanted toward a specific religion, but lots of things you write about can be re-slanted towards other ones. E.g. I’m Jewish and also believe in God, but in a different way perhaps than you, your father or other religions do. Would you tell us how you could promote this type of book to a wider audience? What would it take?

KF: It’s true, this book is written for a Catholic audience. In fact, we decided to include quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church after Dad used a few as his introductory quotes and we realized how well the Catechism addresses all aspects of living–not just the religious side.

However, the experiences we share transcend religion: learning about generosity from your parents; seeing God’s hand in saving your life; understanding your relationship with God. I think those who are not put off by reading Catholic quotes can find inspiration they can apply to their own relationship with God. Consider it this way: could you read a story about a Buddhist that included quotes from Buddha without feeling threatened? Could you gain something from the experience?

I must admit, though, I’m comfortable focusing on the Catholic audience. My fiction is a different story–and a different interview.

GO: Steven, as an author, how do you want readers to view your book?

SL: As this book is about how God is always present with us, I hope and pray that the readers will begin to see how God is there, how He calls always to holiness of life, even in the everyday happenings.

GO: Karina, all good stories originate somewhere. How did this one get started?

KF: These stories started with a Navy man who fell in love with a Catholic woman while stationed in Puerto Rico. His father made him wait until he was 21 to get married, so June 24, 1966, two days after his birthday, Steven Lumbert married Socorro Vicenty. I was born April 19, 1967, and my sister, April 12, 1968. He and Mom raised us to love God and to love others, and by far, their example was the greatest teacher.

Our stories are examples from our lives. We hope they will teach as well.

GO: Steven, have you and Karina considered writing another book together? If so, is anything planned within the next few years? What would it be about?

SL: I have thought about it, but before any decisions are made, I think Karina and I both agree we need to see how this one goes.

KF: The manuscript wasn’t even finished and Dad was asking, “What shall we do next?” LOL. Right now, I have a backlog of obligations in the fiction realm. We’re going to revisit this question next year.

GO: Karina, has your relationship become better or worse having worked on this book with your dad? Would you recommend this to other writers?

KF: Oh, I can’t recommend one way or the other–it would totally depend on the father-daughter relationship. I’m not sure even we could have had such an easy time if we’d tried this ten years ago.

However, I do feel closer to Dad, and frankly, that was one of my ulterior motives behind asking him to collaborate. With my family moving around the country and Dad and Mom so busy with church, many of our phone calls devolve into reciting our To-Do lists! This gave Dad and me a focus for sharing more about ourselves.

We do recommend that families take time to share their faith stories. In fact, we suggest this at the end of the book. Further, we have a page on our website, www.whygodmatters.com, for folks to write in about little experiences that have enhanced their faith.

GO: Steven, what advice would you give to a writer considering teaming up with a parent to co-write a book?

SL: First thing to do is make sure that your relationship to each other is strong enough to withstand criticism, especially when the child is criticizing the parent. I think that if the relationship is strong enough to withstand that, then pursue it further.

Working with my daughter on this book has been a most enlightening experience. Even though I am the parent here, and supposed to “know it all,” I found that our relationship as father/daughter has become more profound as we both wrote of our experiences of God.

GO: Before we wrap up today, do either you or your dad have anything else to add? Can you tell my readers how they can purchase this book and where they can learn more about you online?

KF/SL: Why God Matters has the Catholic Writers’ Guild Seal of Approval, which testifies to its Catholicity. We hope to see it in Catholic book stores–so if you frequent a Christian or Catholic book store, please ask them about ordering it–and maybe getting some copies to share with their other customers.

You can get more information, see the book video and share your stories at www.whygodmatters.com. There’s also a link there for purchasing the book.

For those who prefer Amazon, here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/Why-God-Matters-Recognize-Daily/dp/0982256531/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274127345&sr=8-1

GO: Well thank you both for stopping by today. Hope you’ll be back soon

KF/SL: Thanks, Gloria! We really appreciate your hosting us.

Please leave any comments you wish or questions for Karina or Deacon Steven Lumbert.

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