Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Keeping The Faith

In the past three years, Inspirational Fiction has literally taken off. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll no doubt see a variety of Inspirational Fiction ranging from tender romances, to suspense, to chick lit and even science fiction. Every type of genre imaginable has now been claimed by the Inspirational writer.In the April issue of Romantic Times Magazine, the magazine proclaimed that'Christian books are taking aim at mainstream readers with stories that have universal appeal.' CHRISTIAN SUSPENSE books are a rising subgenre because they hold thrills for Christian fiction and mainstream readers who want less gore and more suspense.
Christian writing is a growth area in publishing. "Sales of Christian fiction have doubled in the last 10 years," says Golan. According to the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association), sales of Christian books are up 6.8% from previous years. Secular and religious publishers are adding a Christian twist to the genre of young women's fiction called "chick lit." Publishers Weekly dubbed it "Bridget Jones goes to church."While classic chick lit addresses single women's supposedly rushing issues — thigh circumference, man-trapping and how many glasses of wine one drank the night before — Christian chick lit includes more church singles' groups. And no recreational drinking."Publishers and retailers have a desire to connect with younger readers," says CBA president Bill Anderson. He sees a strong market for titles "that deal with contemporary issues but respect the faith and values of the readers."Charis Calhoon of the Romance Writers of America says 51.1 million readers buy at least one romance a year. Inspirational novels make up 10% of the market. Notes Calhoon: "Although (inspirational romances) have happy endings, the characters are grappling with their faith and their spirituality."Anne Goldsmith of Tyndale House Publishers describes why and how Christian novels differ from their mainstream counterparts. "Secular novels have a formula of its own: Strong, sassy woman struggles with career, self-doubt, and rising obstacles, and finds meaningful relationship and at least temporary triumph by the end. Christian novels deals with the same issues from a faith-based perspective, without the sexual content and bad language common in the mainstream."Joan Marlow Golan of Steeple Hill is even more specific about the heroine's relationship with Jesus. "You'll find some of the themes of secular fiction taken to a deeper level ."But do you ever wonder, in an ever-demanding world where more is considered better, how these writers keep the faith?“I think God tests you before He gives you too much success, I really do. I know where my heart is. Everyone has a distinct ministry. I really believe mine is bridging the gap between the Christian world and the non. If I ever can't speak to the outsideworld? I think I have become irrelevant and not able to "Go!" as He told us.” Kristin Billerbeck.“I feel writing inspirational romance strengthens my faith. My characters are growing intheir faith, and as they move closer to God, so do I. If I write a secular romance, I still keep the main characters within my moral boundaries. A great romance does not need the elements that go against my beliefs.” Sheila Holloway.“Certainly you can write a touching novel without giving up what you believe in. In fact, adding faith and/or strong values creates depth to the character as well as the story. Like real people, fictional characters can struggle with life decisions, but find strength and hope by turning to God. In romance, it's easy to drive the hero or heroine toward a love scene when the story sages. In inspirational romance, the story has to have an underlying spiritual thread, a place where the hero or heroine has to choose to do what's right, or allow their desires to be changed by the living God. Sometimes, it's realizing God loves them and has a purpose for them. Not only can that add dynamic to the character, but add a new dimension for the reader. Yes, we can keep faith in romance. God is a God of love. Look at Song of Solomon. At the surface level, it's a love story between a man and a woman. At the core, deepest level, it's a love story between Jesus, the great Bridegroom and his bride, the Church. You and me. He loves us in the pure way a man loves a woman. The greatest romance story ever written was penned by the wisest man who ever lived! Pretty amazing.” Rachel Hauck.For inspirational authors, keeping the faith is not only easy, it’s essential part of who they are. Special thanks to Kristin Billerbeck, Sheila Holloway, and Rachel Hauck for their insight into the mind of an inspirational author.All the best...Mary EasonComing July 14th to Linden Bay Romance - Worth Staying For!Dr. Jordan Scott is banking everything, including her life on finding out the truth behind her brother’s murder, but she has no idea it will lead her straight to the man she trusted with everything. http://www.maryeason.com/http://www.maryeason.blogspot.com/
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