New Christian book a cross between history, fiction

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2001

As a college student, Rosey Dow dreaded all writing assignments.

Now a wife and mother of seven children and with her prize-winning fifth novel behind her, she spends every possible moment at her craft.

Dow will sign her book &uot;Reaping the Whirlwind&uot; today from 1-3 p.m. at Cover to Cover Books, Main at Pearl streets.

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Winner of the coveted Christy Award, which takes its name from a book by Christian author Catherine Marshall, the book is historical fiction, a genre Dow has come to enjoy. The award is her first national one.

&uot;The book is set in the historical setting of the controversial 1925 Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee,&uot; Dow said. &uot;I went to Dayton and did research on the trial and on the real characters who were involved.&uot;

In the book, half the characters are the historical ones, and the other half are fictional.

The more she read about the trial, the more fascinated she became, Dow said. &uot;In the book I try to show the importance of the controversy between evolution and creationism,&uot; she said. &uot;Some people see it as an unresolved issue. The story shows it as a practical issue that affects our lives.&uot;

The central fictional character in &uot;Reaping the Whirlwind&uot; is a deputy sheriff who turns out to be the investigator of a mystery occurring in the town at the same time the trial is taking place.

&uot;He has a lot of baggage in his past to deal with, a lot of bitterness and inner anguish,&uot; Dow said.

&uot;His landlady is a very vocal Christian, a bombastic person who is on his case all the time.&uot;

To complicate that rocky relationship, the loud-mouthed landlady has a daughter to whom the deputy is attracted.

The mystery centers on unexplained deaths among townspeople. &uot;The deputy goes a step beyond his normal duties and discovers the foul play that other authorities were going to pass off as accidental,&uot; Dow said. &uot;The sheriff is busy with the trial going on in the town, and that’s why the deputy takes over the investigation of the deaths.&uot;

As author of Christian books, Dow joins a growing number of writers who are part of a publishing boom.

Sales of Christian books and videos totaled $4 billion in 2000 and studies of the industry indicate the market continues to grow.

Reports from a recent convention held by the Christian Booksellers Association show Christian authors are writing more and more books – fiction and nonfiction – that are appealing to the average customer in mainstream U.S. bookstores.

Dow, wife of a Baptist minister, said readers are hungry for books that tell good stories without some of the troubling material many modern books include.

&uot;Everything we put into our minds affects us. We can read things in textbooks and reference books and get lots of facts, but stories grip our hearts in the middle of our being,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s important to have stories that provide a good impact.&uot;

&uot;Reaping the Whirlwind&uot; was published by WinePress Publishers in Enumclaw, Wash. The 400-page softcover book sells for $15.95.