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Roots & Branches Cover



Roots and Branches traces the image of the tree throughout the fiction of G. K. Chesterton, interpreting the underlying message of his religious convictions through biography and literary analysis. This book introduces the uninitiated to a classic British author, allows students of Chesterton to mine his enigmatic work for metaphysical connotation, and encourages current-day writers to build symbolism into their own stories.

So if you’ve ever wondered what good ole GKC might have meant with his rather abstruse fiction, you’ll enjoy reading Roots and Branches. If you’ve only vaguely heard about him (maybe watched one of his Father Brown mysteries on BBC), Roots and Branches is a good intro. If you, like me, are a writer looking to enrich your own fiction with symbolism (the reason I chose GKC as a research subject in the first place), this is the book for you!

BACKSTORY: I was minding my own business and working on my current novel last fall when, out of the blue, I got a strange email from a man asking for more info on an article I’d written about a novel he was reading (The Flying Inn). He introduced himself as a charter member of the Central Florida American Chesterton Society (the ACS has something like 85 chapters throughout the States, with some international presence as well as a quarterly magazine, Gilbert). I answered his questions and was in turn answered by . . . silence. Three weeks later he contacted me again with his true motivation: He was a small publisher interested in my graduate research at Briercrest (2001) and would like to do business with me.

Voila! Today I formally present the results of my new alliance with Wayne Stahre of The Habitation of Chimham Publishing.

Isn’t the cover lovely? My sister, Lorenda Harder, created the pen-and-ink sketch, with her daughter Averil assisting on the technical side of things. The publisher scored a foreword by Dale Alquist, president of the ACS, and several other Chesterton scholars weigh in as well with endorsements (among them Bruce Hindmarsh of Regent, mega-blogger Brandon Vogt, and GKC expert John Coates).

In a few days you’ll be able to find Roots and Branches at your favourite online bookstore. Or watch for me and my pile of copies at a conference near you!


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  1. Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Congratulations! I am so proud of you, Deb! You could pull away from being absorbed in your new novel to work on this non-fiction book “Roots & Branches” then see it to completion. I love the ink drawing of the mature tree by Lorenda. The powerful strokes give it a feeling of strength & wisdom. It is great that Averil could assist! My artistic family, what a gift!

    • Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much, Mom. It takes a lot of people to get a book together, and I’m grateful for all the help. I’ve already been asked to consider an arts interview by someone who interviewed me for my first novel (voice over the Internet).

  2. Lorenda
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all. It has been my privilege to add a small part to this significant book…and what a wonderful way to be introduced to Chesterton! I am already voraciously eating up “Roots & Branches” and have purchased a couple of Kindle books written by G.K. himself…they are waiting in line.

    • Posted May 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      GKC is really an interesting character. He was not widely known for his fiction and that made him unchartered territory–perfect research material. Lorenda, I think you’ll just love THE FLYING INN, which I’m sure you’ll reach for once you read Part II of ROOTS AND BRANCHES.

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