Wednesday, April 28, 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 womens 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, perceives Christian fiction as just another opportunity to deliver a sermon. They don’t believe the religious community could deliver anything with enough depth to hold them, and don't want anyone preaching at them.

So what is Christian fiction and where does it fit in the world of literature? Maybe I should start by asking, what should it 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 worldview. Have you read novels laced with New Age values, and they came through with no doubt as to 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 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, although it’s perfectly acceptable if it works for the story line. 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.

releasing April 30th 
with Kregal Publications

New job. New townhouse, New car.

The perfect 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


Elizabeth said...

Loved this post! Great thoughts to consider as I begin my journey of writing "Christian" fiction. Affirming my thoughts on the subject too. Thank you for sharing!

Miralee Ferrell said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and pray all God's blessing as you move forward with your own exciting career!
Miralee Ferrell

Molly Noble Bull said...

Your flawless writing will take you far in this business.
www dot mollynoblebull dot com

Merely Here said...

This is exactly the way I feel about 'Christian fiction' as a genre... When I decided that I wanted to write fiction that would glorify God and bring people closer to Him, I started by picking up all the Christian fiction I could get a hold of. Unfortunately I was disappointed in a great deal of it, because it tasted of all the things you described in this post- either too preachy or the characters that were supposed to be flawed weren't flawed enough to be realistic. As new as I am to this business, I am struggling to figure out where that line lies- where Christian agents and publishers will publish a work but let it stand out as something that would pique the interest of the secular public. This blog is a blessing. Thank you!

Julia said...


Great thoughts. Exactly what I feel about Christian fiction.