I mentioned in an earlier post that I hadn’t heard the word “genre” before and that I didn’t really know what genre my novel fell into. I wrote the type of book I liked to read (romantic historical saga).
Why, someone might ask, didn’t I write Christian fiction since I was a believer when I began writing? Okay, I’m showing my age again. When I first started writing, the fiction section in the Christian bookstore was about two to three feet wide and two shelves high; it was non-existent, for the most part, in general bookstores. It consisted mostly of prairie romances where the people never seemed to be challenged by serious life problems and they handled those problems they did have with ease. To be honest, I couldn’t relate to such stories, and so I didn’t buy my novels in the Christian bookstores.
I might not have known what to call my first novel, but I did know what I didn’t appreciate in the books I read, so my first novel didn’t contain those things. I wish I could say that none of my novels ever compromised my personal beliefs and preferences, but I can’t — with one exception: I never let a character take God’s name in vain. (I won’t go into more on that topic at this time; if interested, you can check out two pages on my web site, My Faith Story and Why I Write Christian Fiction.)
So the short answer to the title question is: I didn’t write Christian fiction because it didn’t exist, at least not in its present form. And, although I didn’t know it, God had a lot of things to teach me in the next fifteen years to prepare me for a ministry of writing for Him.
And perhaps I should say here that I don’t believe every Christian should be writing for the Christian market. The world needs good fiction written from a Christian worldview. The key is for the author to be certain his/her worldview doesn’t get skewed in the secular publishing process. As with any other occupation, it can be tricky living in the world but not becoming part of it.
Obedience is far better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22)