So my last few posts have been about who the intended audience should be for Christian fiction. Last time, I wrote about the reason why I don’t think it’s a good idea to write “milk” in Christian fiction. And I also promised to talk about some books that I think “got it right,” so to speak. So here we go.
First of all, we have Sharon Hinck‘s The Sword of Lyric books. This is apropos since she’s in the midst of re-releasing them in expanded edition form. In these books, Hinck deals with some weighty themes such as being called (in the second book) or the Christian’s response to evil (in the third). Actually, it’s not just Hinck’s fantasy books that fit the bill. I also found this “meat for believers” in her book Renovating Becky Miller. In that book, Hinck once again addresses some weighty “mature” themes in one subplot, namely the question, “Does God always think that bigger is better?” It’s these sort of themes that I wish I could see more often in Christian fiction rather than just the simpler “milk” themes. Or maybe I’ve just been reading the wrong books.
But Sharon Hinck isn’t the only example of an author who “got it right,” as far as I’m concerned. For that, we have to look at another epic fantasy, namely Karen Hancock’s Legends of the Guardian-King series.
If you want to find out more about this series, you can check out the massive re-reading review I did two years ago. And while I had some minor quibbles and gripes with the series, I still think this is an excellent series for mature Christians. Now granted, it does have a redemption aspect to the story, a “beginner’s” tale, so to speak, but it’s confined only to the first book. As Abramm Kalladorne continues his journey, Hancock doesn’t simply rehash the simpler spiritual themes that a new believer would encounter. Instead, she delves deeper. For example, in the third book, Abramm wrestles with past sins and whether or not he’s really forgiven. And again, in the fourth book, we see the question of how a believer faces off against the forces of evil.
In both cases, I think Hinck and Hancock hit the concept well. Rather than try to “cross over” to non-/new believers, they focused on the people that would read the books: Christians, ones who have been in the faith long enough that they’re looking for Christian fiction.
Now, this is just my grubby little opinion. I know that there are lots of folks who don’t agree with me. And that’s okay. Maybe I’ve been engaging in a bit of hyperbole over the past few weeks, deliberately overstating my case to get my fellow authors thinking. Who are we writing for? And what do they need to hear?
So that’s it on this one, I think. Honestly, I have no idea what to discuss next. Any suggestions? I occasionally take requests. 😉