The annotated edition
"I'm really excited about this"
Fashan Books has released an annotated hardcover edition of the Kirby Lee Davis novel The Road to Renewal.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Davis. “With the first edition, published in 2018, I discovered some people did not recognize aspects of The Road to Renewal’s 1990s cultural landscapes. That opened the door for this annotated edition.”
It packages this Christian novel with 97 pages of new “Behind the Scenes” materials explaining historical backdrops and props. This edition also features essays on the author’s writing strategies, tactics, and theology.
“I’ve described The Road to Renewal as a comedy-drama, the kind of tale the Monty Python troupe might develop with Harper Lee or Alfred Hitchcock, if you can imagine that,” Davis chuckled. “Some people use the term ‘tragicomedy,’ which I appreciate since The Road to Renewal closes in Shakespearean fashion. But my original idea drew upon screwball comedies of old.”
Davis cited three film examples: 1938’s Bringing Up Baby, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, 1972’s What’s Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neill, and the 1980 Zucker/Abrams/Zucker classic Airplane. Those films demonstrate this genre’s formula – unsuspecting people meet in a chance encounter that forces them to endure an avalanche of increasingly zany pitfalls.
“Screwball comedies are more frequent in film, which better maintain their fast pace,” Davis said with a smile. “My Christian novel echoes this, with its building absurdities and spreading chaos. But where Hollywood concluded its calamities with a love story, The Road to Renewal ends with death and hard reflection, its love connection a distant possibility. I chose this path because nearly everything in the novel actually happened to me in some form across the first 20-some years of my adult life. I adapted and squeezed these events to spin a tale unlike any I’d read.”
Synopsis: Struggling to cope with his divorce, newspaper reporter/humorist James Harrigan tries to take his daughters on a rare afternoon trip to the zoo. In a routine stop for gas and snacks, Harrigan crosses paths with another Christian battling his own demons. That jumpstarts a three-day plunge for both men through heartache, seduction, and death.
The Road to Renewal delivers a rare Christian tale for believers and nonbelievers alike. The novel mixes comedy, childlike wonder, and riveting trauma with engaging scenes that draw frequent laughs amidst their escalating conflict. It ends with a contemplative call Davis hopes will move readers for years.
“My novel drew fire early on from proofreaders who worried some plot elements and language stretched Christian fiction boundaries,” said Davis. “But that underscores why I wrote The Road to Renewal. As I suffered through my divorce and returned to a single life, I endured temptations and frustrations that most Christian novels avoid. I wanted to share a humorous, heartfelt tale about real-world challenges believers face today. I wanted to show how we could use our faith, Bible knowledge, and the Spirit’s guidance to work through the compromising situations life throws at us.”
The annotated edition’s cultural notes, theological essays, and writing insights “are icing on the cake, in my opinion,” said Davis. “I spent a year explaining all the history, mischief, and ideals behind the novel, and I loved every minute of it.”
The Road to Renewal: Annotated is the second Fashan Books release this year, following February’s Lions of Judah, the second novel in The Jonah Cycle. Davis is editing the third book in the series, Faith.
“We hope to complete that in time for Easter,” he said.
This annotated edition also represents the second Fashan Books release targeting writers and church groups. The hardcover edition of The Prophet and the Dove, The Jonah Cycle’s first entry, boasts a 55-page study guide breaking down each chapter’s biblical and historical roots while evaluating key plot elements and posing discussion questions.
“Finishing that seemed a great accomplishment, but The Road to Renewal: Annotated almost doubled its content!” Davis laughed. “Now I’m considering going back to a project I set aside a few years ago: a set of devotionals for God’s Furry Angels, which is probably my most beloved novel to date.”
In addition to his 11 novels, Kirby Lee Davis is a singer/songwriter with more than 100 original tunes in his catalog, an award-winning photographer and journalist, and creator of the reviled/revered roleplaying game rulebook The Spawn of Fashan. You may learn more about these at kirbyleedavis.com. Cover art available upon request.