My problem with being labeled Christian fiction

Jesus Christ did not beat his followers over the head with a message; He presented it and the audiences came.

Why can’t contemporary Christian fiction be the same way? Many critics and bloggers won’t review “Christian fiction” because they believe it will be sweet and frilly or push a right-wing, religious agenda. The characters will be pious, and the impious ones won’t be believably evil.

I met someone recently who I sensed wasn’t “right.” To this day, I can’t tell you why I thought that about her, but every once in a while, she did something that let me know my suspicions were correct. As a character, I may not think she’s evil per se, but she’s shady.

I write characters like that. It’s clear that Kareza Noor, my antagonist from The Anarchists, is out for something. We know what it is, but we have no idea how she’s going to get it. She’ll kill for it.

That’s the problem with my writing. It’s not sweet and frilly; it’s what’s now being called “edgy.” Still, there are subtle references to spirituality in it that would classify for inclusion in Christian fiction. And that’s where the review blacklisting comes in. Argh!

In my writer’s group, we talk about the trap game. No, not that trap game, the literary trap game – where you write to the market demands, sell it by the boatload, and then write what you want. Here’s the problem: if you became ridiculously wealthy doing the former, why would you ever switch to the latter?  By contrast, do you stay true to your principles and watch your sales suffer to the sweet and frilly?

What do you think?

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