Friday, November 11, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Warner Davis
I was born November 19, 1946 in Lexington, Kentucky. I grew up in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), the son of Methodist missionaries.
In 1967, I graduated from Asbury College with a Bachelor of Arts. I progressed to a Masters of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1971. Then years later, I began work on a Doctor of Ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary, earning that degree in 1984.
I have served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and New York. The great blessing of New York was my marriage to Tingting Yan.
Today, Tingting and I live in Collierville, Tennessee where I am Pastor of Collierville Presbyterian Church. Our daughter, Meggie, resides in Brooklyn, New York.
How did you start out your writing career?
Feeling called to share my story of dealing with ferocious uncertainty, I began writing a memoir.
What did you learn while writing this book?
Detailing my close calls, I learned more deeply of the reality of God's providence. I realized a powerful force acting in my behalf and embraced the truth in that line of the hymn that sings:
Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come,
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
The event that prompted me to consider writing this book was the Columbine school shooting in the spring of 1999. As I digested the account of two teenage boys walking into hallways with their guns blazing leaving 12 students and one teacher dead, I got in touch with the fear that overtakes you when you are at the mercy of forces gone wild. Reared in the Congo where unruly forces are common, I remembered chaotic instances in my own life. Then I thought about the ways life can come apart for all of us – a natural disaster, a financial collapse, a cancer diagnosis, a violent attack, a crippling accident, a family death, etc. And that's when I began to think of writing a memoir to show the long, winding path that brought me to see that courage is a realistic option no matter how hopeless we may feel.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
My mother because she was a study in contrasts – religious but with flashes of irreverence; serious on the one hand, playful on the other; one moment screaming from fear of a cockroach, the next demonstrating rock-like courage in the face of armed conflict.
What has surprised you the most about becoming a published author?
The power of the pen. The influence it wields. It's impact on lives.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love it when the plot comes into focus and words flow to follow its lead. As for what I hate the most, it's the long period of time it can take to get the story in finished form.
What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?
You can no longer depend on a publisher to do the lion's share of your book's marketing. You have to assume that responsibility yourself.
You need to stay on top of technological advances to effectively market your book.
You need to come to terms with the great amount of time it takes to market your book through the internet.
Can you give us one do and one don't for those aspiring to be a writer?
One do: Educate yourself on marketing through the internet.
One don't: Don't drop the ball on your own reading of good literature. I'm convinced that you need to read good books to write good books.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It's hard work.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
I found myself living in the skin of Peekay – the character in the South African novel The Power of One whose strength of character developed as he surmounted one obstacle after another.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Read fiction and non-fiction that reflect great writing.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
Do public speaking. Grant readers' requests for autographs. Respond to their e-mails. Converse with them.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
My life experience has converged with this scriptural affirmation to confirm that a self-giving life is far more satisfying than a self-centered one.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I'm thinking of a collection of inspirational short stories.
How can readers get in contact with you?
My mailing address is:
305 Wildfox Drive
Collierville, TN 38017
My email address is:
My website is:
Peace in a Mad Dog World
Warner Davis spends 10 years of his boyhood in a region that is home to malarial mosquitoes, ravenous driver ants, prowling lions, 30-foot-long pythons, and highly venomous mambas. It is also a land of inter-tribal warfare, rebel occupations, and anarchic government. His father's call to serve as a missionary in the Belgian Congo and his mother's eventual acceptance of that summons land them, his sister and him in tow, in this world seemingly abandoned to unleashed chaos.
Beginning with a rabid dog's attack he survives, a suspenseful story unfolds of Warner's dealing with fierce uncertainty.
His sense of vulnerability reaches fever pitch when he runs into a poisonous snake on his way to the bathroom in the dead of the night. Frightening as this close call is, and overwhelming as the subsequent death of his best friend is, his breaking point comes years later when his mother is losing her battle with cancer. Engulfed in the darkness of despair, lights breaks through when Warner, drawing inspiration from the courageous role models in his life, reaches a conscious decision to embrace their faith as his own.
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