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PRODUCT NEWS Books & Bibles Fiction File November 2013
Fiction File November 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:36 AM EDT

garrettg_portraitASK THE AUTHOR: Greg Garrett

LATEST PROJECT: The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story, written with Brennan Manning (9780310339007, $15.99, Nov. 5).ProdigalFinal

PUBLISHER: Zondervan.

How would you summarize the story of The Prodigal?

The Prodigal is a contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son with megachurch pastor Jack Chisholm as our character who is cast out because of his very public indiscretions and taken in by his estranged father. Our story focuses on what happens after the parable concludes, where the hard work of living into and accepting grace and forgiveness take place. Back home in the small Texas town in which he grew up, Jack struggles to take responsibility for what he’s done to his church, his family and himself, and struggles to find a more authentic way to live and believe. Can he become someone who does what is right not because the camera is on him, but because it’s the right thing to do?

Why was it important to bring this novel into being?

This novel exists because Brennan Manning wanted to leave behind a story that exemplified the radical grace of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of the Father, Brennan’s beloved “Abba.” Beyond those most important things, the book is about how we believe, how we live and how we love and treat those who should be closest to us. It’s a book about faith—but also about the daily walk of faith.

How did you meet your co-author, the now-late Brennan Manning?

Both of us are represented by Alive Communications, and our agents “introduced” us and asked if I would consider being the novelist helping to retell the prodigal parable as Brennan’s final book.

How did your collaboration work?

Brennan and I passed things back and forth through our agents. We fleshed out the story Brennan wanted to tell, and then I took on the task of translating that blueprint into a building you could walk around in, decorated with all things Brennan. The book incorporates a lot of his teaching, and it became apparent early that we needed a surrogate Brennan in there to deliver those lines convincingly. That character turned into Father Frank.

Why did you decide to base one of the characters—Francis Xavier Malone—after your co-author?

It became clear, trying to solve the practical problem of bringing Brennan’s teachings about grace, love and forgiveness into a work of fiction that some character would have to say the things that Brennan says so beautifully in his nonfiction. That person had to be a moral center—and would need to be someone who liked to talk, so it wouldn’t seem odd for him to be delivering wisdom! Father Frank wasn’t Brennan’s idea—he was too modest for that—but was the right solution to a number of problems.

How is this novel related to The Ragamuffin Gospel?

We thought of The Prodigal as a sequel to The Ragamuffin Gospel, retelling those teachings in the form of a novel.


ECPA Fiction Top 10

1. The Secret Keeper, Beverly Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group) 

2. The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine/Charisma House Book Group)

3. The Tattered Quilt, Wanda E. Brunstetter (Barbour Publishing)

4. Trapped, Irene Hannon (Revell/Baker Publishing Group) 

5. Secrets Over Sweet Tea, Denise Hildreth Jones (Tyndale House Publishers) 

6. The Miner’s Lady, Tracie Peterson (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group) 

7. All in Good Time, Maureen Lang (Tyndale) 

8. Wings of Glass, Gina Holmes (Tyndale) 

9. Wake the Dawn, Lauraine Snelling (FaithWords)

10. Vanished, Hannon (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)


The ECPA list is compiled from sales of Christian books in hundreds of Christian retail outlets nationwide, collected using Pubtrack Christian ( Best-sellers are for the four-week cycle ending Sept. 14, 2013. All rights reserved. © 2013 ECPA.



New Fiction in December

  • Stranger Things, Erin Healy (Thomas Nelson)
  • Tempest’s Course, Lynette Sowell (Abingdon Press)