Chris Fabry had his start in small-town radio and years later—now with his own nationally syndicated show and dozens of bestselling novels—he’s returning that nostalgic past in A Piece of the Moon. After reading the novel, I knew I wanted to talk to Chris about it and he was kind enough to sit down for a chat. Listen in below or search “Life is Story” at wherever you get your podcasts.
The Conversation | Chris Fabry
This excerpt is lightly edited for conciseness and clarity. Listen to the full podcast interview above or wherever you get your podcasts.
Josh Olds: Let’s begin simply: What’s A Piece of the Moon all about?
Chris Fabry: Well, this novel has been rolling around my soul for 40 years because when I was a teenager, I was able to work at a little country-western radio station, a daylight to dark station, 5000 watts, in a town in West Virginia where I grew up. And I didn’t want to be in radio, but I went there. And this was the station where if anybody made a mistake at some place in some bigger market, they would bounce all the way down to Country 16. And so I got to work with a lot of people who had made some mistakes and had wound up there. And I learned from them so much.
I had in my mind for 40 years all of these people that I’ve met who were trying…they were in one place trying to go someplace else. And I wedded that experience, then, with the idea of a man who really wants to people to read the Bible—it’s in his DNA for them to read the Bible. And what he’s going to do is he’s going to hide millions of dollars of cash and coins in a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. And he’s going to hide it in the hills. And he’s going to give people clues from the Bible, so that they can go and look that up and find the treasure. And so, the one story is the treasure hunt that runs all the way through there. And you get these biblical breadcrumbs that are sprinkled throughout the story.
This novel has been rolling around my soul for 40 years. – Chris Fabry
And the other part of the book is what happens in this little town, the fictional Emmaus, West Virginia. What happens in this little town with this little radio station and the people who populate it, and people who call in on the morning program and the and the donut shop and the place where they buy their coffee. So it’s a very small story. But it turns out to be a very big story, because I think it represents all of us—the longing that we have, the desire that we have, for connection and love and riches and fame and all of that. It just kind of ties it all together. And there’s a love story thrown in there as well. So I mean, what could be better than that? You got a little bit of everything.
Josh Olds: With your background in radio, was there any character that you felt like you were drawing from your own past?
Chris Fabry: I kind of based Clay on my own experience, because I felt…the very first time I sat down and the DJ that was there, said “You take the next one,” you know, or “You read this copy,” or “You read the news here,” I just got so nervous. And it was almost an act. It’s like jumping off a cliff, to turn the microphone on and to project and to, you know, to actually do the thing just made me break out in sweats the first time and then you get you get kind of used to it. But I think that that whole confidence thing then came inside of me, the longer I did it, the more confident that I became.
A PIECE OF THE MOON represents all of us—the longing that we have, the desire that we have, for connection and love and riches and fame and all of that.
There is a scene in the book where it’s kind of a life-or-death situation. And it involves a flood and Clay is at the station. And I experienced this when I was a kid. I got a call. I didn’t have to work on this Saturday, it was like I was supposed to work later on Saturday, I think. And I got a call from the morning guy. He said “Get down here, the river’s up, and I need somebody to run the board while I go help some people.” And so I go, you know, this is my day off … But I went down. And I thought, well, you know, this is extra time for me, I’ll just have fun with it. So I started playing any song that would have the word “rain” in it or have “water” or “listen to the rhythm of the falling rain” or “blue eyes crying in the rain”… And I got a phone call from a listener, you know, one line lit up. And she said we’re out here getting all of our stuff into a canoe to get it from the house to safety. And you’re yucking it up on the radio about the rain.
And my jaw kind of dropped and I don’t even remember what I said to her. But it made me think, wait a minute. This is not just me talking on the radio and playing songs. This is this is real life. … It was this wake-up call as a teenager, how much words count both positively and negatively. And how much you can cut somebody with a sarcastic remark, how much it can tear people down. And also on the positive of that. If you can use this opportunity, there’s a flood here to reach into people’s lives and tell them “Hey, we’re here for you. It’s going to be okay, we’re going to get through this together.” … And so that was the time that I learned that really hard lesson.
The Book | A Piece of the Moon
Read the full Life is Story review of A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry here.
An inspiring southern fiction story from the bestselling author of War Room
When eccentric millionaire Gideon Quidley receives a divine revelation to hide his earthly treasure somewhere in the hills, he sets out to find a fitting hiding spot, choosing only a few Bible verses as clues leading to untold riches of gold, silver, cash . . . and one very unexpected–and very costly–item.
Treasure hunters descend upon the hills of West Virginia, including those surrounding the small town of Emmaus, where TD Lovett and Waite Evers provide the latest updates and the beating heart of the community on radio station Country 16. Neither man is much interested in a wild-goose chase for Quidley’s treasure, though. Waite is busy keeping the station afloat and caring for the bruised souls who have landed there. Meanwhile, TD’s more intent on winning over local junkyard owner Pidge Bledsoe, who has taken in a shy, wounded boy to raise.
But after an estranged friend goes missing searching for the treasure, TD is unexpectedly drawn into the hunt. As TD joins the race to find Quidley’s wealth, he discovers where his own real treasure lies, and he begins to suspect there’s a hidden piece to Gideon Quidley’s treasure that no one could’ve expected.
The Author | Chris Fabry
Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. In 2020, he was inducted into the Marshall University School of Journalism and Mass Communications Hall of Fame. A native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.
Chris’s novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and The Promise of Jesse Woods, have won five Christy Awards, an ECPA Christian Book Award, and two Awards of Merit from Christianity Today. He was inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2018. His books include movie novelizations, such as War Room and Overcomer, and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and the Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. He encourages those who dream of writing with his website heyyoucanwrite.com. Find out more about his books at chrisfabry.com.