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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fiction Anyone? by Miralee Ferrell


Miralee Ferrell is the acclaimed author of The Other Daughter, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California, and Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon.


Fiction Anyone---Christian or Not?

When speaking at women’s groups I often ask how many read Christian fiction, and typically about 1/3 of the hands are raised, if that. There seems to be a common misunderstanding in both the church and the world about Christian fiction. Christians often believe it to be shallow stories with no take away applicable to their lives, and feel it’s a waste of their time. They’re committed to only reading what’s commonly called ‘Christian living’ books that speak to a specific area in need of change.

The world, on the other hand, perceive Christian fiction as just another opportunity for an author to deliver a sermon. They don’t believe the Christian community could deliver anything with enough depth to hold them, and don’t want to be preached at.

So what is Christian fiction and where does it fit in the world of literature? Maybe I should start by asking, what should Christian fiction NOT do? In the past, I’ve seen an occasional older CBA novel where the author apparently decided they needed a platform to preach the gospel. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for weaving salvation or other doctrinal principles into our stories, but I don’t believe our fiction should be preachy. Fiction needs to tell a good story, incorporate Godly values, strong family morals, and depict Jesus’ life and teaching, but what it should not do, in my humble opinion, is hit the reader over the head with the Bible.

It’s all about your world view. Have you read novels laced with New Age values and they came through with no doubt where the author stood? Or maybe you’ve read books with a strong political story line that convinced you the author was an extreme liberal. I believe as Christian authors we need to be writing, not so much Christian fiction, as GOOD fiction with our world view woven in so thoroughly that anyone from the world who reads it can’t help but see our values and beliefs. 

Should we beat them over the head with a salvation message, and have a character getting saved in every book? I don’t think that’s necessary. But we should let the love, acceptance and life of Jesus Christ shine through our characters so the world can see what makes us, and our fiction, unique. And hopefully, they’ll be drawn to our Lord and Savior as a result.

So let’s see if instead of writing “Christian” fiction, we can produce strong, well-written stories that bring hope, joy, peace, faith, and love to our reader’s lives. If we do that, there will always be a take-away for the reader who’s looking for something deeper than just another light-weight, worldly romance, and our novels will have met a need. After all, isn’t that the goal of most Christian authors? I believe today’s Christian novelists are paving a new path in the world of fiction, and we’ll see more and more readers who only used to read “How to, Christian living” books, turning to the deep, lasting world of fiction.


New job. New townhouse. New car. The perfect new life… Right?

Jeena Gregory thought she’d made it. She has everything a woman could ask for and a budding career promised more. But when rumors around town cast her boss in a shady light, Jeena starts to question her employer’s integrity.

When the boss disappears, salaries go unpaid, and Jeena witnesses several hush-hush phone calls, she realizes her carefully crafted world is crumbling. Shaken to the core at the threat of losing everything, Jenna is suddenly confronted with her prejudices—and with a God she had long forgotten.

"A story of growth, realization, and learning lessons the hard way, Finding Jeena is a deep look into the heart of one woman who knows exactly what she wants . . . until it betrays her."—Roseanna M. White, author of Stray Drop of Blood

“Powerfully written, this book pulls the reader deep inside Jeena's life. The roller-coaster ride from the pinnacle to a very dark pit precedes her redemption.”—Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of numerous books including Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

"Miralee Ferrell not only writes about issues and attitudes that are all too prevalent in our modern life, she skillfully presents the one true solution for all of the problems that plague us—a loving, caring God."—Arlene James, author of numerous books including the Chatam House Series

“A flawless writing style and interesting characters makes Finding Jeena a joy to own and a joy to read. You won’t want to put down.”—Molly Noble Bull, author of numerous books including the award-winning Sanctuary

Miralee Ferrell is the acclaimed author of The Other Daughter, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California, and Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon.

5 comments:

Mark Young said...

Great view point, Miralee. I believe more Christian authors need to pay attention to the point you make. And I wish more Christian men would break open a CBA novel. Many years ago, I reluctantly opened Francine River’s Redeeming Love and found I loved it. Books like that don’t pound the Message over your head, but you walk away knowing where the author’s beliefs are grounded. And they do it with great writing skills. Thanks for the article.

Sarah Baughman said...

Miralee,

Thank you! I agree with your opinion; I find that when I'm reading a "preachy" book, I like it less, even if the story is excellent. And I am a Christian! I can only imagine what a person who is not might be thinking while reading.

Miralee Ferrell said...

Mark,
I so agree with you...I worked in a Christian book store for 5 years and the female novel readers far outweighed the male, even tho we're getting more suspense and mystery novels that appeal to men.

I've had a few men read all of my books and have had very positive comments, since I weave in adventure and action, as well as strong family values.

Sarah,

You're very welcome and I appreciate your post. I agree, preachy books really jar me out of the story, and I imagine they're a real turn off to non-Christians.

Miralee Ferrell

David A. Bedford said...

I fully agree. This kind of writing is what I have endeavored to achieve in my new release. Rather than plug it here, I would invite anyone interested to click on my name and follow the link to my website. Thanks!

Lela Fox said...

I agree 100% about reading a Christian novel. I too believe in God and Jesus Christ but I don't like the books that are "preachy". In fact, I have members of my family and friends that won't read them because they think that is what they are.(so religious that it can't be interesting). I had the same opinion until I started reading them and started with Wanda Brunstetter's and fell in love with them. Then I branched out and started reading modern day romance. I will have to say, I always like to read historical,(during the time of settling the west and the new undeveloped USA)and Amish. But I love Christian fiction and thought I never would. Joke's on me!

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