I read a funny comment in a Christian writer’s forum that I stalk…I mean “frequently read:”
“I think the perception of today’s kids is that Christian Fiction is their great-grandmas’ reading material. We need YA that can excite youth, and most of them go to public schools. They have required reading for English that may be shocking, depending on the agenda of the teacher and/or English dept.” – Nike Chillemi
There was a light bulb moment when I read this. Finally, someone who is saying what I’m saying! This comes on the heels of my stories and novel proposal being rejected time and time again.
Now, I will say that many published authors will talk/write about how they went through the same thing and to not give up. Full disclosure here – I am not giving up trying to publish my books. But, I’ve seem to hit a wall in how my writing is perceived.
Let me explain this way; when I was growing up, my mom tried to get me interested in Christian music. The problem was that I detested the options she presented because it was not my flavor of music. It was like being handed a cone with vanilla ice cream when I wanted mint chip (or vanilla/chocolate cake if you’re lactose intolerant). It wasn’t that I didn’t like the message, it was so very boring and unlike the songs on the radio.
When I read Nike’s quote, along with a blog posted by Chip McGregor link (head nod to Steve Laube link for addressing the same), it harkened back to the days that I used a recorder to tape over my mom’s choice of music. At the time, it was the only type of music available to me and it took me years and years to get over the fact that there are some astounding Christian bands that suit my taste. I had associated “Christian” music with guitars and “la-la” lyrics about how everyone loves everyone and deer and angels when, in fact, somewhere along the line, bands stepped out and were the torch bearers for sublime sounds. Jars of Clay self-titled album still gets me in the feels!
There are some radically different Christian fictions books now out for readers to enjoy. They stretch the gambit of sci-fi to dystopia, cozy mysteries to Amish romance, suspense/thrillers to contemporary. While we writers pour out our hearts, the market is vastly different than it was even ten years ago. I believe there are even Amish zombies in space!
If you’re a Christian fiction writer reading this blog, I challenge you to stretch yourself! You have the opportunity to reach those who think Christian fiction involves only wildflowers and strapping men named Brad/Chad (sorry if you’re name is Brad or Chad. I mean I’m not sorry you were given that name, but it was convenient to use your name here. I sacrifice your good name for convenience). God is using your words, so be faithful and creative!
If you are a reader, dip your toe into the array that has become Christian fiction. You can find yourself in a speculative future or hunkered in a World War II hospital.
This time, it’s not your grandma’s Christian fiction market!