Behind the Fiction Past
By Vickie Adkins


Christian Fiction

In Christian fiction, one's faith in God plays a role in the characters, plot, and ultimate outcome of the storyline. It can be significant, or trivial, but God is there. Does this take away from the suspense or drama? In my opinion, no. Too many are of the mind that Christian Fiction is nothing more than a soft read. If there's no profanity or nudity, then how can it be interesting?

In a recent interview with Ron and Janet Benrey, authors of the Pippa Hunnechurch mystery series, I asked them if they thought it was difficult to keep a reader's attention, -without all the language and workings of the non-Christian world?

"Not at all," says Janet. "A good story is always a good story. Besides, as Ron has said in recent interviews, Pippa Hunnechurch can do anything that Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade could do. The so-called limitations -- no bad language, no explicit sex, no gratuitous violence -- are really preferences of countless mystery readers."

Obviously so. Sales in the Christian market have proven that. A Washington Times article (July 2002) states the results of a survey conducted by Christian Booksellers Association ("CBA"). "One quarter of Christian products purchased in 2000 - some $1 billion worth - were sold at 'general retail,' the CBA said, meaning stores like Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble and Costco, the latter of which had at least two book buyers prowling the conference in search of titles. These figures point to the growing trend of secular outlets snatching territory from Christian booksellers."

Christian fiction has certainly enjoyed a rise in popularity. I remember when our only choices were Catherine Marshall and Janette Oke. The "Left Behind" series certainly got the public's attention and confirmed that interest in Christianity and the conflict of good and evil is prevalent in the majority of reader's minds.

Certainly not saying there won't always be General Fiction, I believe there's plenty of room for both. It's just that now we have more choices, a wider range. And both are available in the same stores.

Every reader has their favorite genre, mine being fiction, and especially mysteries. It's refreshing to see a growing number of new and talented authors, many now writing Christian Fiction books that I can easily recommend without reservation of explicit content. As Martha Stewart would say, "That's a good thing!"

2002 Past Columns

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