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View Full Version : Is there room for anything else in Christian fiction?



Eowyn Eomer
10-30-2004, 01:58 AM
It seems that when I browse through the Christian fiction section, the vast majority of what I see are either Christian romance or End-Times fiction. I'm not usually that interested in romance novels, I did find a Christian series in that genre which I did enjoy. I'm even less fond of End-Times fiction.

Honestly, the kind of novels I would like to read in Christian Fiction don't seem to exist. I would like to read novels about family or about a person's journey through life, in a contemporary setting. Most Christian romance novels seem to take place in the past, End Times obviously take place in the future.

Are there other genres within Christian fiction out there? Is there room for them?

My top favorite genre is fantasy adventure. My second is family drama.

Has Christian fiction just not been around long?

dub
11-03-2004, 04:58 AM
I like to think that I write Christian Murder Mysteries...

You might look for Terri Blackstock, or Alton Gansky, if you want to read some very good mystery type Christian material.

my thoughts in the swamp - dub

DrRita
11-05-2004, 09:14 PM
Christian fictin is not new, just not as developed as secular fiction. Most Christian publishing houses aren't big enough to take many risks so they stay with the stuff they think will sell. Hence, not a wide variety. But I think that is changing. I know there are a couple of publishing houses who are starting to take some risks on sci-fi/fantasy. We just need to write what we'd like to read and then find a publishing house willing to take a chance.:nerd

Eowyn Eomer
11-06-2004, 11:17 AM
A Christian sci-fi fantasy - now there's an interesting idea. It's possible to say Lord of the Rings would fall somewhat into that category, but it's not blatantly Christian. Perhaps The Chronicles of Narnia would fall into that category?

callalily61
11-06-2004, 09:11 PM
I'm going gray trying to find an agent that will represent me to Christian publishers. Okay, the kids are partly responsible for the gray, too. :grin

Avoiding the scam artists is such fun, too. :grr

Lily (who has written what's basically a Christian Horror Searching-for-faith novel. Oy.)

DrRita
11-06-2004, 09:33 PM
Do you have a copy of Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's al market Guide? Her website is: www.stuartmarket.com She has a whole section on Christian agents. I hope I'm not giving you info you have already. It's tough finding an agent. :head

skylarburris
11-07-2004, 09:29 PM
No, there isn't room, because all of the major Christian publishing houses stick with dumbed-down stuff for the masses. I guess that's what sells, so why wouldn't they? If you write anything literary, or that is nuanced (rather than offering simplistic didacticism), the Christian houses aren't likely to publish you. Yet, if you write anything that is Christian, the secular houses aren't likely to publish you. So there is a real need for a market for literary, contemporary, Christian fiction. It just doesn't exist. However, this kind of fiction does sometimes break through and get published by the secular market. I would say that even some of Stephen King's later works have a Christian ring to them.

C.S. Lewis also has a science-fiction trilogy--but today, you don't have a serious Christian writer like C.S. Lewis. You have simplistic end-times fiction. Is it not being written or not being published? If you find quality Christian sci-fi, it probably won't be published by a Christian publishing house, but by a mainstream publisher. The same is true of contemporary Christian literature.

callalily61
11-08-2004, 07:11 PM
Dr Rita:

No, I absolutely hadn't heard of this book! Thank you! :hail

Now it's simply a matter of when I fork over the $28 -- now or in Jan. when the new edition comes out.

Lily

Gravity
11-09-2004, 09:53 PM
I started writing a series for Christian men revolving around a newly-born-again private investigator. It was a tough sell. My agent worked like a Trojan, but most of the Christian houses said my work was far too gritty and/or edgy. Finally RiverOak, the fiction imprint from Cook, took a chance on Until the Last Dog Dies. It came out this past June and surprise, is doing well. Well enough that they bought the sequel, When Skylarks Fall, and it'll be out next year. Plus I just got contracted for two more. So yes, it can happen. I'm proof.

John

callalily61
11-10-2004, 04:44 AM
Congratulations!!!

<span style="font-size:x-small;">Now what kind of bribe can I offer you and your agent to take a look at my book?</span>
;)

dub
11-10-2004, 10:06 AM
wow, congrats

dub

Betty W01
11-11-2004, 07:59 AM
John, that's great! Congratulations!

Dancre
01-28-2005, 03:47 AM
Hi Gang, Hi Betty,
It's been a while since i was here. I'm glad to see this Christian forum. And Congrats John!! it gives me hope that my novel will one day make it. it's also a bit "Gritty." i agree it's hard for christian writers to find agents. i've gone through 23 agents and 3 publishers so far. but of course my novel was poorly written so i think it's more of my lack of writing tech then a poor market. I'm fixing the tech area. ;) But the way i see it, if the Lord wants it published, then He'll get it published.
kim

Nazareth
02-21-2005, 11:27 PM
Gravity, you say your book was 'edgy' , in what way? Was there swearing in it? or graphic violence? I'm working on a novel & have so far been avoiding swearing, however, there are many characters that just aren't 'in character' when they say 'darn' or express anger. I'm not really sure what the guidelines are for christian writing. I'm not exactly writing for hte christian market- but might concider it but would need to know what they concider 'gritty' or offensive.

Gravity
02-21-2005, 11:58 PM
My stuff would considered edgy, I suppose, for two reasons. One, the lead series character, Joe Box, is a new Christian, bringing a lot of baggage into his walk. He's sarcastic, sometimes short-tempered, and a struggling alcoholic. Combine that with his propensity to get into violent situations, and my agent had her work cut out getting my stuff considered by the CBA. But God's good, and now my writing is being read by the public...and seemingly enjoyed, more's the wonder!

John

Betty W01
02-22-2005, 01:17 AM
Kim, welcome back!! Glad you like this room and I hope it will be helpful in the future. I'm still trying to attract other Christian writers in here, so spread the word. Good luck with your book.

John, I read your book and I thought you did a great job of portraying a new Christian in a sometimes-gritty field, who used to be a soldier as well as a foul-mouthed drunk. I'm looking forward to your next one, and I hope you can get back the first title from You-Know-Who [PA rants may be directed to TIO].

Gravity
02-22-2005, 01:25 AM
Thanks, Betty! That's very kind. Yeah, the battle to get my first book out of PA's clutches continues apace. Does that come under "fighting the good fight of faith?" *G*

John

revrew12
02-22-2005, 07:55 PM
Re: Christian sci-fi fantasy

I've written in this field and have talked with key editors at Zondervan about it. Classic Christian sci-fi, such as Chronicles of Narnia and Madeline L'Engle's stuff holds well, but the big problem seems to be sales. The editors at Zondervan really liked my writing, but said, "We've tried in the past, but the books didn't sell. We're trying ONE (emphasis mine) sci-fi author right now. If this guy can break down some doors, we may be open to more in the future."

There are smaller publishers who have published Christian fantasy/sci-fi, and some of the big ones have one or two authors in that genre on their list. But if it doesn't sell...well...they ARE publishers.

I can speculate that sci-fi/fantasy is a predominately male-interest market and Christian fiction is, like, 99.85% female buyers, thus explaining the numbers. I might speculate that sci-fi/fantasy is a more significantly youth/teen market and Christian parents are too wary of the entire genre to purchase fantasy books. I can speculate all day long, but until someone can break down some doors and open new markets, the big Christian fiction markets belong to female-targeted books with high relationship/romance elements.

Betty W01
02-22-2005, 08:35 PM
Are you familiar with Kathy Tyer's Firebird series? Christian worldview sci fi and very well-done.

DrRita
02-23-2005, 09:42 AM
I think the key to getting a break through is for these publishers to understand what is selling out in the secular and not try to squelch the creativity for the Christian market. It's a fine line but I know there are plenty of Christians like myself who love sci-fi fantasy and have had to read secular, humanist writers for years because the Christian market won't publish anything that doesn't fit a very narrow criteria. I don't agree with 80% of the world views of the secular christian sci-fi fantasy writers but their writing is generally better.

Maine Runner
02-24-2005, 01:50 AM
Eowyn,
If you like family drama, you may want to try Karen Kingsbury's Redemtion Series. Excellent books! All about a large christian family in Indiana (I think Indiana) and all the typical, and not so typical problems that families face. Infideltiy, sudden death of loved ones, assorted tragedies, cancer...you get the idea. Check them out!

Steve


Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent

revrew12
03-08-2005, 01:39 AM
Are you familiar with Kathy Tyer's Firebird series? Christian worldview sci fi and very well-done.

I'll be totally honest about it--I've never read it. But this past week, I remembered your post when I came across a copy of Firebird in a used bookstore. I picked it up with every intention of reading it, but eventually put it back on the shelf. The back cover and promotional quotes, etc. came across as so heavy-handed Christianese that I feared I would be disappointed by yet another Christian novel laced with sappy, unrealistic sentimentality and "the world is so rosy now that I'm a Christian" conversion moments. Is that a fair criticism? NO! I've never read the book. But as long as Christian publishers market their sci-fi fantasy the way Firebird was marketed, I don't think many sci-fi fantasy enthusiasts are going to pick up their titles.

Betty W01
03-09-2005, 06:54 PM
An excellent example of not judging a book by its cover..

I dislike sappy, cheesy Christian novels, I love sci fi, and I thought Firebird was good. Give it a chance sometime. Of course, mileage may vary <shrug> but I thought she did a nice job of embedding Christian symbolism in a sci fi world without coming across as too preachy.

Orson Scott Card (a Mormon) says that scifi is the last fictional frontier for Christian symbolism (paraphrased a bit, since I don't have the book I read it in handy). Comments? Anyone?

maestrowork
03-09-2005, 08:18 PM
Christian thrillers/suspense are growing now.

Dancre
03-09-2005, 09:47 PM
i've been reading jake thoene's book "Shaiton's Fire" which is a christian mystery/thriller. he reminds me of stephen coontz. but i agree with you all, i hate christian books in which everyone is happy, happy, happy. being a christian is HARD, but worth it. i also don't enjoy christian novels that are poorly written, yet advertised as the next best thing. it just grates my nerves.

oh and maestro, if you're still here, i read the first chapter of your book on your website. the novel looks scrumptious. can't wait to get my greasy hands on it. when is it coming out?

maestrowork
03-09-2005, 10:29 PM
Thanks Dancre! I'm glad you like the first chapter. The book should be out in late summer or fall. I'm just finishing up with the editing.

momwrites
03-09-2005, 11:25 PM
I am new to the forum and need some sound advice. Christian markets are tough to break into and because I write mainly Christian fiction, LDS, to be more precise; I am struggling with trying to find a publisher. I have queried every LDS publisher, but they are so swamped with books that they are turning down people left and right.

This would be my third book-my second, unfortunately got taken by PA (PublishAmerica) and I have finished with my third book, the second in a trilogy. How difficult is it relly to break into the Christian market?

Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks.

Dancre
03-10-2005, 08:17 PM
Oh mom, i totally understand your position. I've gone through 26 rejections so far. the only answer i can give is God's faithful, don't give up and don't go to PA!! ouch!! Keep sending out the queries and don't give up, dear. God has a plan!! He'll get you where you need to be.

kim

Vipersniper
03-23-2005, 02:31 AM
:Cake: My first published novel was a Christian fiction based one that was edgy about 911 and it was published. I have written four more in that line and would like a different publisher than who I went with at first. One deals with cancer, one deals with child abuse and ties into my first novel. They all have several intermingling characters which is Rose who is a teacher/preacher and hits hard on the issues of today. Two publishers turned it down because of who I published with at first. Another wanted speculative fiction but the poems that I have posted have gotten really good reviews. So I think that I am wondering the same thing about the publishers that will give the sequels a fair chance.

uugeejay
04-19-2005, 03:47 AM
Mark me down as another SF lover who would like to see something besides romance and End Time fiction.

I've completed three manuscripts and have begun querying agents but with no success. I fugured a series about a futuristic spy, a kind of Double-O Heaven (grew up on Heinlein and James Bond) would be a hard sell, so I'm not discouraged yet.

--
Will

Betty W01
04-19-2005, 07:11 PM
Check out Francine Rivers' The Scarlet Thread, for a well-written modern story. Also, for mystery lovers, see John's books (above) and Sally S. Wright's Ben Reese mysteries. Personally, I really like the Dee Henderson series, The O'Malleys. The prequel (Danger in the Shadows) is a great suspense story and the family's adventures are then played out over the next six books. I liked this particular series so well I own it!