Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Author Spotlight - Deborah Kinnard talks about "the easy stuff"

Many of us have heard that Christian fiction is simplistic and boring. Mostly we hear this from people who deliberately stay away from reading in our market – maybe years ago they gave a historical romance a try, or maybe one of those short novels you can find at Wal-Mart.

Their complaints may go a little over the top. Did you cease reading literary fiction because you were forced to read THE LORD OF THE FLIES in high school? Okay, well, maybe you did. But most people don’t dismiss an entire genre because they’ve had one less than stellar experience.

The easy stories, the simple themes – why does Christian fic embrace them? Easy, we’re told – they sell. Prairie romance is better than medieval romance, because it sells better. A popular author is allowed to try her hand at a medieval, and her novel sells a third of what the publisher expects. It cannot be the publisher’s fault, obviously it’s not the author’s – so it must be the time frame.

I submit that Christian fic must rise to the challenge of writing – and publishing – out of the box types of books as well as those that sell predictably. We readers are not all the same. Why should we expect our reading material to be? Since we don’t all read bonnet books, is it necessary to produce only that type of novel?

Is some of this due to laziness? Stay tuned for more thoughts.


  1. In my experience, there is nothing easy about selling a book. Period. What Deb's suggesting about the current surge of interest in Amish flavored books I've often heard said about romance books in general. Start with romance -- you have a better shot of selling. Never mind that your passion lies in writing stories of a completely different genre.
    Then, think about how difficult it is to actually write a decent book that you are excited about writing. Add to that, turning that book into a genre that doesn't suit your interest, temperament, belief systems, or world view. How is that going to make writing any easier?
    I suspect Deb is working toward this. But here's my simple advice to anyone starting a novel: write your own story, to the glory of God. Selling is secondary. And readers' response -- you have absolutely no control over that.
    And speaking of control, I read Lord of the Flies volunteeringly ... but ACK.

    --Gloria Clover

  2. Too right, Gloria! However, to many of us who write and write for our own pleasure, or because we can't NOT write, there comes a time when it does become about selling your work. Then we must make it the best it can possibly be, and we learn the skills it takes to do that. Many times after that, we're told there's no market.

    Some houses, Desert Breeze among them, are deliberately trying to broaden these markets. I applaud all such efforts.