The Cross & the Pen: Craig Parshall on Fiction and Ministry
- Friday, May 16, 2003
Eva: As a novelist myself I believe that the BEST protagonists (or main characters) are the ones with some inner conflict. Does Will have an inner conflict, and if so, what?
Craig: In The Resurrection File Will's personal, internal struggles are multiple. He is still grieving over the loss of his first wife, he is trying to figure out whether he even wants to continue pursuing his legal practice, but most important of all, he is trying to come to grips with the reason why he senses a massive spiritual void in his life. In Custody of the State Will is now trying to work out his newly discovered worldview, and integrate his spiritual faith with his law practice and his interpersonal relationships (primarily with Fiona).
In the third in this series, The Accused, Will's decision about the future of his relationship with Fiona has come to a head - while at the same time his is forced into a harrowing confrontation with his darkest of personal demons, and his possible responsibility for his first wife's death.
Eva: How does Custody of the State deal with the issue of God's providential protection?
Craig: In Custody of the State Mary Sue Fellows and her farmer/husband, Joe Fellows, are charged with child abuse regarding their young son, Joshua. Will Chambers is called on to represent them, and defend them against the shocking allegation that Mary Sue Fellows is poisoning her only son. Mary Sue and Joe are Christians, and insist that they are innocent. This raises the question - why does God allow His children to be wrongfully accused, and abused by government systems that are sometimes callous (or even corrupt)? A parallel is drawn between the Fellowes family and a young First Century family - Mary, Joseph, and Jesus - who are forced to flee the Judea region because of a wrongful attack by a local corrupt government (Herod). The book deals with the questions of why God allows His children to be wrongfully accused, and how He extends His faithful, providential protection in the process.
Eva: You are an attorney. What kinds of family rights/parental rights issues have you faced in your law practice?
Craig: Over the course of my twenty-eight years as a trial lawyer I have handled a number of cases involved in parental rights and family issues. I have defended numerous Christian clients who have been wrongfully accused of child abuse and child neglect in a variety of circumstances. Some of them were homeschoolers, some of them because their children had complex medical conditions and they were insisting on second or third opinions from physicians, some because of trivial or emergency circumstances (i.e. leaving children alone in the car for a few minutes during an emergency), which was later characterized as child abuse by the authorities bent on "teaching a lesson." In some of my cases I attacked the illegality of unjust, anti-parent laws directly.
Eva: Okay, Craig. Give your fans a bit of a sneak preview. What's on the horizon for Will Chambers?
Craig: In book number three - The Accused - the reader is going to get a clear picture of what the future holds for Will and Fiona. The legal issue in that case involved a decorated Marine named Caleb Marlowe who was part of a super-secret, covert anti-terrorism unit of the American military. Colonel Marlowe heroically rescues the United States Secretary of Commerce when he is kidnapped by a terrorist cell group. But, while in Mexico, and while pursuing the fleeing terrorists, Colonel Marlowe makes a command decision that has tragic consequences. He is faced, first, with a potential court martial in a military tribunal. Will defends him there - and then is subpoenaed to testify before a slanted Senate subcommittee hearing, and finally defends Caleb Marlowe against "war crimes" allegations before the newly created, and highly controversial International Criminal Court in the Hague - which is the global criminal court recently created by the United Nations. In book number four, Will and Fiona, together, combine wits to unravel a legal mystery that has tarnished the name of a local Cape Hatteras Island, North Carolina family for three hundred years.
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