Felling Big Trees
by Rich Garon
Felling Big Trees is the story of disgraced Congressman Fran Stewart as he turns to the American heartland to find redemption in the eyes of his daughter and the woman he loves. He has been adrift after losing his wife in a horrific car accident. Trying to free himself from a politically powerful mother-in-law who blames him for his daughter’s death, Fran searches for a way to prepare a better future for himself and his teenage daughter, Becky. An innocent misstep one evening leads to political disaster for Fran. Fran travels through heartland towns where no one knows he’s a former congressman. Stripped of the detachment that characterized his early years as a congressman, Fran is drawn to an everyman perspective that poses universal questions. What breeds inaction and apathy? How do we jumpstart a deeper connection to the injustices we see every day? What does it take to engender empathy in a meaningful and focused way? How far will we humble ourselves to help those with few resources? Fran has to stand up to prejudices and uncaring established ways.
This is a really good and interesting book. It’s about a man who loses his wife and is trying to find his way. It obviously talks a lot about politics. Since he got his job thanks to the influences of his wife and family, when she dies he starts questioning everything. He feels lost now that he doesn’t have her. The book follows his ups and downs on dealing with this. And his pursuit to establish a healthy relationship with his daughter. This book will make you question your own decisions in life.
The writing is good and the story is interesting. Definitely a most read. Specially in cold days like today. I think people will feel inspired when they read this book.
Special Q&A With Author
1) What ‘s the inspiration behind Felling Big Trees?
I had recently retired from a career of more than 25 years working on Capitol Hill. I had the opportunity to spend considerable time with members and got to see the human side of Congress. These elected officials have families and deep personal commitments, and I wanted to incorporate some of these elements and themes into a novel. The novel takes place in the 1990s but speaks to some of the same problems—poverty, homelessness, armed conflict ravaging countless numbers of civilians—that confront us today. The book raises questions about cutting through apathy and rallying enough resources towards helping resolve these problems.
2) What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and wrote many statements, speeches, and reports as part of my career. I was drawn to writing a novel as it permits one to develop a specific universe of characters and themes that hopefully convey compelling concepts to the reader. I have three additional manuscripts. They’ll require final editing, but that can be a very satisfying process that produces tighter, more finely-crafted prose.
3) What’s your writing process?
There’s usually an idea that captures your imagination and I try to expand on that in a coherent way. That’s not easy when you’re writing 300 pages or so—there are a lot of moving parts that have to meld together very well if the novel is to appeal to readers. Often times, story lines or character development don’t emerge as hoped. Sometimes there’s a quick acceptable fix. Other times there’s a lot of backtracking to make things flow better. I like to write in the morning and have some of my favorite music playing in the background.
4) I know that you are partnering with WhyHunger for the launch of this book, can you tell us al little bit about that?
That’s right, I am partnering with them. As you may know, proceeds from the sale of Felling Big Trees will go to WhyHunger. I first worked with WhyHunger some 40 years ago. I’m a great admirer of the important work they’ve done addressing the problems of hunger and poverty. They have been on the front lines in the battles to help those most in need. While great progress has been made in certain areas, there is still much more to do. WhyHunger could use more support from those concerned about these important issues.
Rich Garon received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from New York University and began a career on Capitol Hill that lasted for more than 25 years. For the last six of those years he served as Chief-of-Staff, Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives. He currently chairs the Serve (Outreach and Mission) Committee at the Immanuel Anglican Church in Woodbridge, VA and coordinates the Homeless Ministry, with an emphasis on those living in the woods. He was named to the Board of Directors of the Greater Prince William County [VA] Community Health Center, and conducts mission trips with his wife, Karen, to Bolivia to support church-building in several areas including what began as a tent city.
This book was given to me by Smith Publicity in exchange of an honest review.