How the Christian Fiction Genre is Changing
by Lauren Bridges
People either love Christian Fiction or hate it, but there is really not an in between. Christian Fiction is described by Goodreads as “any novel that expounds and illustrates a Christian world view in its plot, its characters, or both, or which deals with Christian themes in a positive way.”
Although many publishers have abandoned Christian Fiction in recent years, it is currently a booming genre. Some are referring to it as a “born-again genre,” and we at CKN Christian Publishing highly agree. What makes this genre so appealing, is not what the books lack, but what they offer: a Christian view point.
These are books that promote family values, teach moral lessons, have a good love story, and show that good always beats evil. They usually have a simple plot that is easy to follow and allows you to finish it with a smile. Readers turn to these books, because they offer a different lifestyle than what we currently experience. We are used to a busy, fast-paced world, whereas most Christian Fiction novels take place in a quieter time, where the characters live with less distractions and complications in their day to day lives.
But times are changing for Christian Fiction, if we want the genre to thrive, it has to be different. Many people agree that Christian Fiction is not a great art, it is simply a popular genre read by Christian readers. These authors are playing it safe as not to offend any of their readers, but readers are getting bored. It is too much of a risk to go outside the “rules” for the Christian Fiction genre, that authors and publishers are shying away from new themes or sub-genres. These books are not supposed to contain bad language, sex, crime, or anything else that might be looked down upon, but authors are challenging that now.
Science fiction, fantasy, mysteries– these are all somewhat new sub-genres in Christian Fiction, and they are doing great! Many are too busy looking for the offensive content in these stories that they miss the whole plot, which is a coming to faith story. Writing duo, F.P. Lione, does a great job with their Midtown Blue Series. This series shows the truth and grit in Tony Cavalucci’s life, and does not paint a pretty picture. But then he meets Joe Fiore who helps him to find strength and confidence through The Lord.
A faith-based perspective remains at the core of these sub-genres, while also challenging the typical boundaries. These authors and publishers are ultimately trying to point the reader toward hope, toward God, but now they are attracting new readership. “You are what you read” stands true for Christian Fiction, but how do you attract new readers and lead them toward hope and God if the genre does not appeal to them? Reg Quist said it best, “As a Christian, if my efforts can somehow bring Glory to God nothing could be better.”