D. Barkley Briggs: Healing Through Story
Dean Briggs had let his writing become merely a hobby in his busy life as a pastor and a father of four. But the loss of his wife compelled him to pick up an old story idea and write his sons a tale of adventure and overcoming tragedy.
“It was hard not to feel singled out for misfortune,” Dean shared as he talked about the improbable odds and unusual complications that led to his wife’s death. “I was a single father at 36, with four boys age 11 and under. Aspects of my life felt like they had all come unhinged. The grief was devastating, the loneliness, the difficulty of ministry.”
Yet his grief brought a new clarity. “The thing I kept returning to over and over again was that somehow, I needed to make sure that my sons were not left crippled by this experience–that they could learn to live a good life, and a strong life, and be men of substance and character in spite of this horrific setback.”
Dean began digging through his old writing notes and found an outline for a fantasy novel. “Suddenly this story included four brothers who had lost their mom, and this call to another world to live as champions took on an added layer of meaning and depth and consequences ... but I didn’t want it to just be that. I wanted it to be something that anyone who was going through something could recognize and relate to. But, more than anything, I wanted it to be an adventure that they could lose themselves in.”
That story eventually became the five-part Legends of Karac Tor, and book 3, The Song of Unmaking (Living Ink), released in fall 2011. Meanwhile, Dean fell in love with and married a widow with four children of her own, bringing their combined total to eight. “It’s fantastic, exhausting, exhilarating, and sometimes maddening, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”