Study of family tree leads professor, his father to author novel


When researching his family tree, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Roger Morris, Ed.D., came across a branch that captured his imagination. He discovered that some of his descendants fought in the Civil War.

So for the next four years, he and his father, Aubrey, wrote a historical novel, When a Sparrow Falls, that they published in January of 2015.

“My father and I have a close relationship and work well together,” Morris said. “Dad is a more creative person than I am, yet I have certain talents in writing.  So it was a good match.”

The Morrises wove the topic of faith (and its prevalence amidst hardship) within a historical narrative rooted in the 1860s. The topic of war and faith seemed a natural combination for Morris.

“The Civil War was a time where, despite the tragedy, saw hundreds of thousands come to Christ,” Morris said.

The novel was narrated by David Spence, a seminary student who lost his faith and dropped out of divinity school after the loss of his mother. Spence encountered a moment of truth in a battle that pushed him to decide between pursuing his own agenda or God’s plan.

“It’s about faith lost and faith restored, fused with reality and drama surrounding actual events, “ said Morris.

But above all, the novel's intent was to present a timeless message, applicable no matter the era.

When a Sparrow Falls is a reality check for all of us when facing a crisis of faith in God,” Morris said.