Interview with Karina Lumbert Fabian: '...the stories are specifically about how God shows his love...'

Karina Lumbert Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. A busy mother of four, she finds her strongest encounters with God's love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day. Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but has settled into writing mostly fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporate the principles of faith-filled living. Karina is all over the web. You can visit her website at www.fabianspace.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Karina. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life?

Glad to be here. I've been writing professionally since 1996, when I gave up reading fiction for Lent and took up writing. My first job, obtained days after my vow, was with the Wyoming Catholic Register, writing feature stories, including a couple of vignettes about God's work in my own life. I've always toyed with these kinds of stories, but not seriously. I preferred news or helpful stories, which sell more easily, or fiction, which is more fun. However, I had a small collection of stories that I'd written and planned to sell "someday."

I have edited three science fiction anthologies (Infinite Space, Infinite God I and II, and Leaps of Faith), and written several novels. Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, a humorous fantasy about a Catholic dragon detective babysitting the Faerie folk at a convention, just won the 2010 INDIE Book awards for best fantasy. I've also got an annual contract for creating Catholic school planners, which include stories, quotes and short lessons.

In January 2010, Tribute books put out an ad looking for a Catholic writer to make a small book of faith stories and lessons learned. Because I was familiar with the kind of story-lesson-Scripture style they wanted and I had several unpublished stories in my files anyway, I considered it.

I hesitated because my stories are from a woman's point of view, and I felt they wanted something more universal, so I asked my father, Deacon Steve Lumbert, to collaborate with me. His contributions took what could have been a good little book and made it a terrific one!

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

Actually, we didn't. Tribute Books already had the title chosen, along with the format, cover art and even the website name, www.whygodmatters.com. It's a unique situation where we could just step in and give substance to form. (It was a refreshing change of pace from my seat-of-the-pants novel writing, too.)


Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Actually, my publisher believed it should be published--enough to have put in so much work into developing it even before they had hired me and my father.

Now, why do I believe it's worthy of their leap of faith? I'm going to cheat here and let a couple of our readers answer that:

Walt Staples, Former President of the Catholic Writers' Guild: Many times one sees Roman Catholicism explained using either closely reasoned theology or an appeal to ancient writers of the Church. While both are legitimate approaches, the average reader looking to explore the faith is often left cold... Steven Lumbert and Karina Fabian delineate the Catholic faith as experienced by a pair of average everyday people like the great majority who make up the 24 percent of Americans who share this religion.

Deacon Ditewig: We owe Karina and Deacon Steve a debt of gratitude for their sensitive and inspirational message. Like the catechists of the ancient church, they remind us that being a disciple must be something that permeates every aspect of our being. Being Christian is not something we do, but a relationship we nurture and live out every day of our lives.


Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Tribute Books have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

Tribute had the cover already designed, but it was love at first sight for me. I adore the simplicity and clarity of it. My only addition was to get the Catholic Writers' Guild Seal of Approval incorporated into the art. The CWG has assessed the book for its Catholocity and affirms that it does promote Catholic beliefs and values.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

I'm being very spoiled this time. Tribute developed an impressive website, www.whygodmatters.com, and has taken our suggestions to include a sample chapter and a page where people can share their own faith stories. In addition, they hired Pump Up Your Book Promotions to arrange the virtual book tour. Tribute is also sending out press releases (which I provided) and is requesting reviews.

Naturally, I've been talking it up on my online groups, Twitter, Facebook, etc. My father is more person-to-person and plans on doing some live book signings at deacon events. Unfortunately, the book came out just as my family is moving to another state, so I've not been able to plan any live events yet, but I hope to. I also want to do some kind of talk to go with the book, perhaps about seeing God in the day-to-day, and one about fathers and daughters.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

There are a lot of books that teach you how to deepen your faith, and there are a lot of books (like the Chicken Soup series) that touch the heart. However, Why God Matters combines these. The stories are specifically about how God shows his love and how faith can be found in the everyday, and there are life lessons, Scripture and even paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church for meditation and spiritual growth. We think it's going to reach Catholics who want to grow in faith but need a baby step to start, or for those of well-developed faith who want a heartwarming book that's easy to digest as a change of pace.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Page 45, "Small Steps, Steady Progress." Oh, this is ironic. This is my story about how I was learning to conquer the housework thought small steady steps rather than letting it gather to crisis proportions, and how I needed to do the same with my faith. As I look around my house--which has been neglected as I have mono and am homeschooling one child for the rest of the year, plus getting ready to move--I'm thinking I'd better re-read that story!

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

My dad and I have talked about doing something else together, but right now, we're both too busy to do more than idly speculate. In the meantime, I'm back to fiction: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, should be done in a couple of weeks. Then I'm going to rewrite my sci-fi novel, Discovery. If I finish before I get the editor comments on my fantasy novel, Mind Over Mind, I want to begin work again on Gapman, a superhero spoof set in my fantasy world of DragonEye, PI (www.dragoneyepi.net). Like I said, Why God Matters was a definite change for me.


Q: Thank you for your interview, Karina. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

The most central place to find out more about me is my website, www.fabianspace.com. There I keep my news, blog, books and whatever else.

The book has its own website, www.whygodmatters.com, and I'd like to especially direct attention to the "Share Your Story" page. We'd love to hear from you how God has touched your life, and would like others to come and read for inspiration.

As for purchasing Why God Matters, you can order it as a print or e-book online, or ask for it at your favorite Catholic bookstore. In fact, I'd really encourage you to ask at the Catholic bookstore. Perhaps they might order extra copies for their shelves, and we can share our faith stories with even more people. Plus Catholic bookstores have so much to offer and are fun to browse in.

Thanks again for the opportunity to talk about Why God Matters!
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