Over the past few years, I have heard several different opinions on the genre of Christian fiction. There are those who stay clear of these books because they view this genre as being "too preachy", while others see these books as clean, cheesy stories that only mention God every now and then. There are also Christians who believe that Christian fiction is "preaching to the choir", and that if authors want to minister through their stories, they should write for the Mainstream fiction.
However, I believe that it is possible to find a line between coming across as too religious in our stories, while staying within the Christian market. But can Christian fiction really be considered "life-changing", even for non-believers?
Recently I've started venturing out of YA fiction and have been reading books from several different authors, including Karen Kingsbury, who is known as "the queen of Christian fiction". I'm already in love with her writing, the way that she uses real-life issues to create authentic, heart-wrenching novels. Her books have proven that Christian fiction doesn't have to be just "preaching to the choir", and that people can be ministered to through Christian fiction. There really is power in story. And yes, this genre really can be life-changing. In fact, since Kingsbury has received so many emails from readers who have told her that her stories have brought "tremendous changes into their lives", she has branded her books as "Life-Changing Fiction".
In an interview with the 700 Club, Karen Kingsbury discusses how she goes about writing deep stories rather than just "clean" stories. She talks about how God uses the power of story for His purpose, for His glory--exactly the way that Jesus did when He was on earth.
Another point that Kingsbury mentions in an interview is how Mainstream fiction can only deal with the physical, intellectual and emotional aspects of people--while Christian fiction can deal with all three of these, plus the spiritual.*
The world can write about the physical, intellectual,
and emotional aspects of people. So can we.
Ah, but we also can tell about the spiritual--and the story is nothing without that piece."~Karen Kingsbury
I'm thankful to have found an author who uses the power of a story the way that Jesus did--not just for entertainment, but to teach. And to present the truth in a way that can relate to people.
What's your purpose behind writing Christian fiction? Do you write to offer a clean alternative, or to craft deep, life-changing fiction? As a Christian fiction author, we should pray that God would be glorified through our writing, and that our books would bless readers and ultimately point them to Christ.
"You hold the pen of hope and healing,you who tell of fear and feeling.Power to touch the jaded soul;power to make the broken whole.To entertain, to intertwine,to take us back in tests and time.Write you must--now go from here;write and keep the Savior near.Now, Spirit, lead us every page;through our words, be center stage.Give us love for those who read;give us words so they might see.Author God, now through your powerguide us from this very hour.Let us tell of love and lightand grant us strength so we might write."~Karen Kingsbury
Have you ever read and been touched by Karen Kingsbury's books? Do you think Christian fiction can really be "life-changing"?
*However, there are Christians who have the gift for weaving a spiritual theme into a Mainstream fiction novel as well. I'm not at all against this at all. In fact, I believe there should be more Christians writing for the Mainstream market.