I recently replied to a blogpost by Sally Apokedak on the blogspot Novel Rocket. I’ve enjoyed this blogspot: http://www.novelrocket.com. She was asking what kind of fiction we like to read: books w/a glaring gospel message? characters that do or don’t change for the better? I’m posting part of my response below. Let it be known that I didn’t have issues w/bad parents/abandonment! But the point was that I think Christian fiction needs to be realistic. Or maybe not even be categorized as Christian fiction at all–thus transcending the market and reaching more people with the truth.
HG–“The problem I have w/Christian romance (most of it), is that the main guy character is unbelievable, and not representative of a real guy at all. I think running our male character’s actions through a trusted male friend/husband is an important step. MOST guys don’t normally know exactly the right words to say or romantic/protective gestures to make ALL the time. Also, I don’t like that alot of “romantic” books are about single women. Don’t married women know something about love? And I mean REAL, sacrificial love? Or are we just too boring to write about? I just wish more marriages, with their struggles, were portrayed in Christian fiction. I know there are several Christian books out there like that, but those usually aren’t the ones I see touted in Christian bookstores/libraries.
I love Gina Holmes’ “Crossing Oceans,” b/c it dealt with the real problems of cancer and divorce, etc. I love Frank Peretti b/c he deals with spiritual warfare in ways most of us hadn’t even thought about. I love C.S. Lewis b/c he was REAL (and deep!).
For what it’s worth, I write character-driven fiction about married MCs (main characters, in writers’ speak). But I don’t think it’s what Christian agents are looking for right now. I’ve definitely thought about selling out and writing romance about some single girl going to NYC (don’t they all!??) and her Cinderella story…but that’s just not me, and it’s not something I would want to read.
I think alot of people who’ve grown up reading the classics (like Hardy, Eliot, etc) are looking for characters we can sink our teeth into, who have flaws and strengths and struggle with things we all struggle with, like death and abandonment and bad parents, etc.
I realize I’m saying “I think” a lot, and obviously there are many people who feel otherwise. I’d just hate it if women read Christian romance (or any other kind of romance) and think that if their husbands aren’t acting as romantic/thoughtful/protective as the main guy in the romance, they’re falling short. This kind of thinking usually winds up in divorce–I’ve seen it happen.
I’d just like it if the demand for multi-faceted characters with multi-faceted plots gained momentum in the Christian market.
Thanks for asking, sorry to go on and on, but this is something I do feel very strongly about. How many Christians wind up skipping the Christian bookstore and reading best-sellers from the library/bookstore b/c their favorite genres just aren’t represented in Christian fiction? Christian writers can change the world, and not just from the confines of the Christian bookstore. We don’t have to preach, but everything we write should come from a Christian worldview, b/c that’s what we have!”
I’d love to get your comments on this. How do you feel about Christian romance? I understand that people are attracted to different genres. I’m just wishing the Christian market would reflect what Christians are ACTUALLY interested in…thus, “Otherworld.” Plenty of Christians are interested in ghosts, but they won’t come out and say it. Frank Peretti blew a hole in “standard” Christian fiction with his supernatural thrillers. What kinds of fiction do you read and why?