By Karen Holt
Arriving at BookExpo America Wednesday to promote his memoir, The Council of Dads, which he wrote after being diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of bone cancer, Feiler was smiling, energetic and eager to talk about not just his new book, but his plans for a future that until recently looked as if it would be cut short.
His next project is a monthly column for the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, which is set to debut May 30. Feiler said the column will focus on faith, family, fatherhood and friendship. The first installment deals with “reimagining the godparent for the contemporary times,” he said. It’s an ideal tie-in to Council, in which he enlists a team of close male friends help raise his twin daughters after he’s dead.
Now, looking very much alive, Feiler said Council has changed him as a writer.
“I have never been involved with something that has touched people so far and wide, so deeply and so emotionally,” said Feiler, who tells of receiving heartfelt emails from around the world and meeting tearful readers at his book signings. Known for exhaustively researched books such as Walking the Bible, Abraham and America’s Prophet, Feiler said now that he’s discovered a more personal voice, he wants to keep using it.
But he’s not ruling out a return to the type of book that made him famous. “Until last month or so I didn’t know if I physically could do it,” he said. “Literally in the last month I dropped my cane.”
Fittingly for an author so steeped in the traditions of faith, he describes the time he was too sick to work in biblical terms. “I look at my lost year as like my jubilee year. By lying fallow, I became much more fertile.”