Inspiration Report

Inspiration Report


Interview with Jason Wright, Author of The Cross Gardener

posted by lbrockway

How many times have you seen a cross and flowers on a roadside, or other memorials that mark the spot where a life was lost? Don’t you sometimes wonder about the people touched by these tragedies and how life turns out for those left behind? A new inspirational fiction book gives us an inside look.

 

New York Times bestselling author Jason Wright offers a heartwarming and redemptive story about finding faith in the face of tragedy in, The Cross Gardner,” due out from Berkley, March 2

 

 


Jason Wright Photo by Julie Napear.JPG 

 

He tells the tale of John Bevan, a man who loses his wife and unborn child in a terrible accident. John withdraws from life and erects two small cross at the scene of the accident and visits daily. One day, he encounters a man kneeling before the crosses and touching them up with white paint. Conversations with the mysterious man, known only as the “Cross Gardener” begin to heal John’s heart. He comes to see what he must embrace in his life, from the pain of his past to the sorrow of his wife’s passing. Jason Wright shares his motivation for writing the book.

 

What was your inspiration for writing The Cross Gardner?

 

I live in a quiet valley where roadside crosses dot nearly every road I travel each day. Some sites are marked with a single, simple white cross. Others have teddy bears or balloons that appear periodically throughout the year. One such crash site just a mile from my home has four crosses, two much smaller than the others. An entire family perished there.

 

I often pass these roadside crosses and wonder what happened. What time of day was it? How old were they? Did they die alone? Did someone lead them home? Over the last few years, these questions have become more important to me.

 

Several dear friends and family members have passed away, including my father, and I’ve never been there; I’ve never been able to say goodbye.

 

Writing The Cross Gardner allowed me to pose some of these questions and answers in a way that brought me comfort. Hopefully it will do the same for the countless others who’ve lost loved ones and wondered about that miraculous transition from this life to the next.

 

Is there a particular reason why you chose the Shenandoah Valley, where you also live, as the setting for this book?

 

Roadside crosses are everywhere in the Shenandoah Valley, springing up after every crash, and serving as an inspiration and reminder to me of our life on this planet.  But it was not the only reason I chose this setting for THE CROSS GARDENER — the Valley is like a slice of heaven on earth. Placing the story here is a different sort of monument to those who’ve died.

 

The apple orchard plays a big role in this book.  Was there a particular reason you chose to set the book on an orchard?

 

Apple orchards are so wonderfully imperfect. Unlike most other forms of farming, apple orchards are hilly and knotty. I also love the metaphor that sometimes orchards have terrible seasons due to weather or pests, but the very same trees can generate wonderful, abundant fruit the very next year.

 

 

In The Cross Gardner John confronts some intense personal issues, but re-establishes his faith to eventually move forward and be appreciative for all that he has.  Was it difficult to find that balance and write about John’s grieving process?

 

This was the most difficult story I’ve ever told, and the first that made me cry as I wrote and edited it. It was excruciating, at times, to portray his struggles, knowing how real they are to so many people. The details and storylines are unique and fictional. But the pain of losing loved ones so tragically and well before their time is anything but fiction. It was a humbling challenge to know that the book would be more than fiction to many people, it would be a reminder of what they’ve suffered. It is my hope that it’s also a reminder of the hope that lies on the other side of grief.

 

 

What do you hope your readers get from the story?

 

No one dies alone. All of us – no matter race, age or religion – get an escort home.

 

Your previous book, The Wednesday Letters, was also an inspirational and heartwarming story, and your fans have responded by making it a New York Times bestseller.  What about the current climate draws people to inspirational fiction?

 

I think a tough economy, unemployment, political divisions, the disaster in Haiti, all of it weighs down on us. A piece of inspirational fiction can deliver us, even for a few hours, to a world where despite challenges and heartache, hope always reigns. I pray this book, like the others, motivates someone to take a piece of that fictional hope and apply it in their real, everyday life.

 



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sylvia jones white

posted March 2, 2010 at 7:53 pm


Whenever I pass a cross on a road like I did today, I wonder who, why and how….as I pass by, I often say a prayer for a life lost and hope as we pass by these crosses that we think how we can avoid situations like this…I appreciate seeing these crosses as it reminds us of someone no longer with us.



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Mike

posted March 3, 2010 at 10:20 am


Interesting! I lost my mom last December and it will take sometime to heal.



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Your Name

posted March 3, 2010 at 11:00 am


I on the other hand don’t really like to see the roadside memorials. I absolutely respect the loved ones who choose to do so, I have been to more than a few fatality accidents in my young career and know the carnage such an event brings. As a firefighter it is inevitable that we will see death on more than one occasion in our careers. So when I see the crosses, flowers, etc. I think of accidents myself and others have responded to and a feeling of sorrow comes over me. I do say a prayer for those who lost their lives and their loved ones left behind. My faith in God and knowing that I did all I could do for the victim/s in those situations gives me a sense of peace and the ability to carry on, God willing possibly save the next. When God says it’s time for us to go, we go! God Bless!



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vicky

posted March 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm


I have never really thought anything special about these roadside crosses, until recently I saw one near where I live. There was a firefighter and a young couple knelling at at a small cross with ballons and a teddy bear, I thought it must have been a child that was lost. I think it was a good thing for others to see. As someone said , there is a time to be born and a time to die. God is waiting on us.
Thanks Vicky Johnson



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JAN SULLIVAN

posted May 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm


I WAS RAISED IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY AT TOM’S BROOK AND WENT TO SCHOOL AT STRASBURG HIGH. THE CROSS GARDENER IS VERY SPECIAL TO ME BECAUSE JASON USED SO MANY SPOTS THAT HAVE BEEN CLOSE TO MY HEART DURING MY CHILDHOOD.
I ALWAYS KNOW THAT HE WILL BASE HIS NOVELS ON A FUNERAL. IT IS INTERESTING THE WAY HE WORKS HIS WRITING AROUND EACH FUNERAL IN EACH BOOK.
HIS WRITING HAS HAD A DEFINITE IMPRESSION ON MY THINKING. I WANT TO THANK HIM FOR PLACING THE APOSTROPHE IN TOM’S BROOK A COUPLE OF TIMES–BUT NOT ALL THE TIME,IN THE CROSS GARDENER. IF HE IS IN DOUBT–THE OFFICIAL SPELLING IS WITH THE APOSTROPHE. I WAS A TEACHER AND I CONSTANTLY WAS USING MY MAGIC MARKERS TO PLACE THE APOSTROPHE IN LITTLE KNOWN PLACES IN TOWN AS THE SPELLING GRADUALLY CHANGED. I GUESS I CAN BE CALLED THE APOSTROPHE GARDENER–FOR IT REMAINS A FETISH WITH ME.
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT WRITING. JAN SULLIVAN



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stevie g.

posted October 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm


I finished reading the book on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning we were driving along a windy road in the mountains of Maine. We pulled over to look at out the lake below. Right in front of me, behind a rock was a “memorial.” It was a simple white piece of fencing, the kind people use around a flower bed. There was a small American flag in front of it. On the fence in black marker was simply, ” We love you, Dad and think of you. We hope you’re watching over us.”
I lost my Dad three years ago. We had left him in the hospital planning to take him home the next morning. We got a call during the night that he had died. I have always worried that he was alone. The book leaves me with peace, knowing, no one is alone at the time of their death. That someone walked with my Dad and welcomed him home makes me feel better.



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Christy

posted December 1, 2010 at 7:10 pm


This was an amazing book! Like one of the earlier comments, these areas are pertinent to me as well as a Virginian. I love the way this book is written. I could not put it down! I thought it was very interesting that Jason Wright chose to use crosses just as the other character did in the book, who was significant to his life in so many ways. I loved John Bevan’s dad in the book. I fell immediately in love with his character!
I can’t wait to read Wright’s next book!



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Karen Philips

posted May 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm


Stevvi, This is an article in regards to the the book I lent to you. I just thought you might like it interesting. I hopr you like the reading! Love you , Karen



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Karen Philips

posted May 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm


I enjoyed this book. Thought other might as well.



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