Readers, have you ever wished you could find more fantastic fiction out there? In my lifetime we experienced a huge dry period: I read Tolkien and Lewis, and then for years found nothing more. As a young adult, I re-read The Lord of the Rings a hundred times — every time I got sick.
Secular fantasy books tended to scare me silly, and the worldview felt so unstable. So I only tried a few. Eventually I found some Christian fantasy writers: Stephen Lawhead, Kathy Tyers, and then the guys who wrote Left Behind. But for me, there wasn’t enough available.
One reason has been that the Christian publishers found success courting romance readers. They built a solid readership using Christian bookstores. But the fantasy readers couldn’t find much there and stopped going (if they ever went in the first place). So, generally speaking, fantasy titles published and put into Christian bookstores flopped. The Christian publishers couldn’t figure out how to find the readers, people like you and me, and as a result they steered clear of fantasy by and large.
Now some indie presses have risen up, bypassing bookstores altogether and selling paper books and ebooks over the Internet. Marcher Lord Press was the first to focus on Christian fantasy, followed soon after by Splashdown Books and now occasionally some others like OakTara and Port Yonder. There’s a whole selection of books for us fantasy fans. Woo hoo!
But you may find there’s something largely missing from the selection. The books containing just a touch of the fantastic still have trouble finding a publisher.
Enter Castle Gate Press, the new publishing venture from Suzanne Hartmann and me (Phyllis Wheeler). We intend to fill that void and will start publishing books next year. Castle Gate will start publishing books next year, specializing in novels set in the “real world” with a touch of the fantastic.
That fantastic touch can come from time travel, results of science experiments, supernatural elements, a bit of fantasy – we’re not limiting the possibilities. Suzanne and I like to write books like these, but we expect to publish books written by others. We will start accepting manuscripts in January at our website, CastleGatePress.com.
The first thing we’re doing is getting our blog at CastleGatePress.com up and running. Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for advice for writers on marketing and craft, but Friday will soon feature flash fiction to entertain our readers. Flash fiction is a very short story, quick to read but hard to write!
Suzanne is a homeschool mom who edits and who also writes Fast Track Thrillers, a book series about a homeschooling mom with super powers from cell stimulation. The protagonist, Joanne, is a special agent who learns to love NASCAR. She finds herself in all kinds of pickles as she tries to keep from blowing her cover.
I’ve been learning the novel-writing craft for several years now and also do some editing. I’m a book publisher already, of a popular homeschool computer curriculum at MotherboardBooks.com.
We both live in or near St. Louis, Missouri, in America’s heartland.
Suzanne and I love editing, and we’ve been given this vision of helping other writers get published. Our company will operate something like a co-op, with volunteers asked to help in a variety of ways. Our authors will be asked to cross-promote each others’ material. Stay tuned for more information!
Here’s a parting question for you Christian fantasy readers. Do you like to read secular fantasy fiction? Why or why not?
To keep in touch with Castle Gate Press, sign up for emailed blog posts at CastleGatePress.com. We’re also posting fun and useful stuff on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/CastleGatePress. Get ready for flash fiction, coming your way on Fridays very soon! And you can find out more about each of us at Suzanne-Hartmann.Blogspot.com and PhyllisWheeler.com.