Corban Addison writes novels that speak to the human condition and focus on people who act on the world stage, who face struggles that speak to the great injustices occurring around the globe. "I write because I care about justice," says Addison, who lives in Charlottesville, Va., a college town south of the nation's capital. "I write for the world."

Addison began his writing career back in 2008 when he was practicing law, had a nine-month-old child and was buried under a mountain of school debt. "My wife suggested that I write something that married my writing and my love for justice," he says. "I saw a film called Trade and was inspired to write about human trafficking. I traveled widely to learn about it because I want my books to be truth and fact woven into a fictional narrative."

That first book, A Walk Across the Sun, was published in the United States by Sterling's SilverOak imprint (2012) and in the United Kingdom by Quercus (2014). It became a bestseller and was published in 18 languages; he Canadian edition, published by HarperCollins, sold 35,000. Addison continues to speak often on human trafficking and the story behind A Walk Across the Sun. His second book, The Garden of Burning Sand (2014), about violence against women in Africa, did just as well. His third book, The Tears of Dark Water, will be published in October by Thomas Nelson, a subsidiary of HarperCollins.

The Tears of Dark Water is set in the Horn of Africa and centers on the collapse of Somalia, Islam, piracy, and other dimensions of the devastation in that area of the world. Addison is quick to say that he travels to research each book, placing his characters in the places he's been. Tears took him on an odyssey that included sailing in the Seychelles archipelago, nights spent on the USS Truman and the USS Gettysburg in the Indian Ocean, through the Strait of Hormuz, into Somalia, and into Kenya and the Dadaab refugee camp, the world's largest. "I wanted to write about the disintegration of an entire country and the effects on the rest of the world," says Addison. "I wanted to balance the beauty of a place with the gritty, challenging parts of that same area."

Addison will sign galleys today, 10–11 a.m., at Thomas Nelson's booth (2038).

This article appeared in the May 28, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.