Our guest today is a former Capitol Hill worker. Author Rich Garon has answered some questions about himself and his new novel coming out later in February 2019, called ‘Lee Fitts’.
Writing a novel and funneling the proceeds to help his local homeless shelter is just one way that he serves his community, church, and beyond. It’s inspiring, and should cause us all to take pause and think how we, too, can use our talents that God gave us to help people in need. Thank you, Dr Garon!
Question: Your book jacket text starts out “You can’t stop rooting for Lee Fitts?” Why is that the case?
Rich Garon: Lee Fitts, the novel’s protagonist, is someone exuding goodness, compassion, and honesty in light of limitations resulting from the trauma of a horrific accident. He is always trying to do his best to improve himself and help others.
Q: Forgiveness seems to be a big part of the book – what role does this topic play?
Garon: This is a central theme of the book along with compassion. Lee and a woman trying to help him both suffered greatly from the scene of horror opening the book. Yet they, after reflection and from faith they draw on, are moved to a colossal act of forgiveness that destroys the hate that horrible morning produced.
Q: You also say that Lee embodies honesty. How does that reveal itself and why is that of particular importance?
Garon: The way honesty manifests itself in Lee emerges as he works on a political campaign. His actions are unthinkable from a political operative’s point of view and his honesty costs him. At times, when many would say honesty is becoming a rarer commodity in politics, Lee’s experience becomes a salient commentary.
Q: Redemption is another element of the story. How does that figure into understanding Lee and the challenges he faces?
Garon: Prior to the accident, Lee had potential unknown among most his age. It was lost, as the incident destroyed Lee’s family and reduced Lee to someone with severe limitations. He begins to emerge from this condition and driven by faith, the love of his family, and the love of a woman who shares an important link to that morning, works to recapture the skill that was once his.
Q: And family, what role does that play?
Garon: Family is a central theme in this novel. Having his family together is the main thing in which Lee is interested. His love of family provides him with an incomparable source of strength, which together with strong support from two important friends, propels him toward the goal he sets.
Q: Before becoming an author, you worked on Capitol Hill. What did you do there, and why did you make the switch from politics to writer?
Garon: I worked on the Hill for over 25 years. I started as an intern and left the Hill after serving six years as Chief-of-Staff of the House Committee on International Relations. I did a lot of writing in my job where it was important to make your words work for you if you hoped those things you believed in came to fruition. I still have hope that certain things can change for the better and see the characters and themes of fiction a good way to try to raise awareness to these issues.
Q: I noticed the banner on your website says “Writing for change.” What does that mean?
Garon: Great question. Through the sale of my books I’m trying to raise awareness to some of the problems we’re facing today and also, by donating royalties to certain non-profits working on these problems, give them some additional resources to support their work. For example, proceeds from my first novel, Felling Big Trees, go to WhyHunger and proceeds from Lee Fitts will go to the Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the homeless in my community in Virginia.
Q: Your book is dedicated to Russell J. Campbell. Tell us who that is, and why you dedicated the book to him.
Garon: Russell passed away this past April. I knew him for more than six years. When I first met him, he lived in the woods and almost died there one winter. But we were able to get him a studio apt. with our church paying half the rent, the other half from some disability money he received. He became a very close friend and I became his authorized medical representative. Living in the woods took its toll, and he died of a degenerative brain disease.
Q: How does your faith impact your writing?
Garon: I hadn’t realized until after completing the book, what a faith-based exercise it was. But it’s all there, forgiveness, redemption, compassion, honesty along with occasional Scripture reference. Maybe it’s because I read so much C.S. Lewis. Lee is strong in the face of circumstances and people at odds with those virtues he has come to embody.
About the Author
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 more than 25 years.
For the last six of those years, he served as Chief-of-Staff for the Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives.
He currently is a member of 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.
All proceeds from the sale of Garon’s new novel, Lee Fitts, will go to the Bill Mehr Drop-In Center for the homeless in his local community.
His first novel, Felling Big Trees, released in 2017.
About the Book
Lee Fitts is a character you can’t help but root for. Everyone thought he had high potential to become a professional athlete, but after a tragic accident he must learn to rebuild his life and overcome some of the toughest obstacles imaginable. As his story unfolds, a woman sharing an important link to his traumatic accident commits herself to Lee’s recovery, and a night at a homeless shelter gives Lee the ability to forgive the villain who has haunted him all these years. And with the help of a pastor, who wrestles with problems of his own, Lee is afforded a chance at redemption.The story of Lee Fitts shows us how having faith can guide one to overcome even the worst odds. It also explores how goodness, forgiveness, and compassion can help us conquer just about anything.
Lee Fitts will be available on Amazon and through BookBaby in February 2019.
A special surprise for our Insiders – one lucky winner will be winning their very own copy of this book!
Winner will be chosen after the book is released later in February.
Sign up to be an Insider so you can be included in the contest!
Have you used your talents to help those in need? How creative have you gotten?
Tell us about it in the comments!