Meet the Author: Dave Fessenden
It’s April Fool’s Day, But This is No Joke!
When I asked Dave Fessenden if he minded being my featured guest on April Fool’s Day, he said, “That’ll be a hoot!” But Dave’s no fool when it comes to the writing and publishing world.
I’m not sure exactly where Dave Fessenden and I crossed paths, but it’s been a while back. I think it might have been at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, where we’ve both been on faculty numerous times over the last 12 years or so. He’s taught workshops from not only an author’s P.O.V., but from an editor’s and publisher’s P.O.V. as well.
Dave is an independent publishing consultant with 20 years experience in editorial management for Christian publishers with a B.A. in journalism, an M.A. in religion, and over 30 years of experience in writing and editing. In previous positions Dave served on the communications staff of Elim Bible Institute and was an editor of a regional edition of the largest Protestant weekly newspaper in the country.
His Writing Career
Dave humbly tells me, “I’ve published five books, produced study guides for two titles by A.W. Tozer (published in the back of the books), written hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and edited numerous books. I’ve recently completed a 10-year stint as a regular columnist for Cross & Quill, a Christian writers’ newsletter, and I’m a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences.” Dave also conducts Sunday school teaching workshops based on his book, Teaching with All Your Heart. His latest book, Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract, was published by SonFire Media in 2011.
Dave’s quite excited about his latest project, his first novel, The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy. “In this book” he says, “Sherlock Holmes’ smarter brother, Mycroft, teams up with Dr. Watson’s son, Thomas, to solve the murder of a bootlegger and his card-playing cronies in 1920s Philadelphia. It’s scheduled to be published in 2013.”
Dave plays guitar and has written dozens of songs. When he proposed to his wife, Jacque, he did the logical thing: he wrote a song! “It must have worked,” he says, “because we’ve been married now for 34 years.” (Dave and Jacque live in Central Pennsylvania and have two adult sons.)
What About Dave’s New Book?
“There are three rules for writing a book,” a famous author once said. “Unfortunately, no one knows what they are!”
“It’s true—to some extent,” Dave says. “The process of writing a book is shrouded in mystery, and is probably the main reason why so many potential authors are simply treading water. Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract helps take the confusion out of the process. Concept to Contract merges practical advice with spiritual counsel so the approach emphasizes the inspirational impact of the author’s material.”
Dave is adamant about writers striving to publish a work of which they can be proud. “To produce a complete, publishable manuscript that will have a real ministry, you need to do a lot of praying, a lot of thinking, a lot of study, a lot of research—and very little actual writing at first—until the creative pressure, the spiritual burden, builds to a critical mass. At that point the book practically writes itself! Well, not really,” he adds. “But if you follow the methods I teach, writing a book should be a bit easier, a bit less mysterious. Concept to Contract can show you how.
A Few of Dave’s Endorsements:
Many would-be authors are passionate about their nonfiction topic, yet challenged to navigate the world of publishing. Dave Fessenden provides a focused plan for success. Read this book. No, do much more than read it; you need to study it carefully.
W. Terry Whalin, author of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (www.jumpstartdreams.com)
I’ve compiled an anthology, Writers on Writing, and composed two of my own books for writers. Plus I’ve taught writing at hundreds of conferences and colleges during the past thirty years. But I have to admit I’m just a bit jealous of David’s Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract. He’s managed to collect and communicate—in his warm and witty style—all the basics from “concept to contract.” A great resource! I just wish I had written it.
James N. Watkins, author of Communicate to Change Lives and Writing with Banana Peels
Helpful, humorous, and honest, Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract is more like a comprehensive conversation on conceiving and crafting a quality book rather than a stiff, starchy how-to-write-a-book book. Laced with great quotations and personal anecdotes, it’s easy to follow and fun to read. Don’t be misled, however: Although this book eschews pedantic pedagogy, it delivers on its promise to clarify the process of crafting a concept so that it lands a contract. Thanks, Dave, for sharing these insider secrets!
Patti Souder, director of the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference