Sunday, April 29, 2012

An interesting Sunday (as in the old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."). On a certain Christian fiction writers' (not readers') loop, one member posted a question that led to a lively discussion: why is C-fic not recognized for its high quality in the larger writing/publishing world? Why no awards for C-fic titles such as the Pulitzer and others?

I don't want to add to the controversy. That's already been done by higher profile persons than me. Some of the on-loop comments have been downright nasty and/or snarky, and I propose to take a higher road.

What books in our market have you read lately, that you thought stood head & shoulders above anything you've read this year? Which would have stood out in the larger pack, had they been published in the so-called secular marketplace? Which were "too good" for Christian fiction?

My short list includes Sandra Byrd's TO DIE FOR. Also Siri Mitchell's A CONSTANT HEART and Susan Meissner's A SEAHORSE IN THE THAMES.

Notice how few there are? Notice that two out of the three are not first-line, highest-profile authors in our market? Maybe that's no accident. I gave up on Kingsbury when she started writing soap opera. The other best-selling Christian authors write in eras and settings that bore me into insanity, so I don't read them either. In fact I read very little Christian fiction these days, since most of it seems as interesting as overboiled porridge.

How about you, readers? What are your "too good" titles and why do you love them?


Janny said...

TALKING TO THE DEAD, Bonnie Grove. Hands down one of the best books I've ever read, and it's definitely NOT the typical CBA book. QUAKER SUMMER by Lisa Samson is another one I'd put right up there, although its Christian content is heavier-handed than TTTD's. WAKING LAZARUS by TL Hines is another; to me that book can hold its own against pretty much anything out there. While there are several other C-Fic books out there that I really have liked, they're so heavily C-Fic that I doubt they'd stand as "mainstream" in anybody's eyes...not that that's a bad thing, it's simply a limitation that might keep them from garnering enough fans on both sides of the proverbial aisle. There are a few of them that clearly come down on the side of a particular doctrine, which disqualifies them in my eyes from having the kind of scope that would win a national book award of any type. Doesn't make 'em BAD, per se, but I think in many cases it does weaken them overall.

My thoughts,

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I just popped over here from your kind comment on Steve Laube's blog! Hmmm. I've only recently started delving into Christian fiction. Mostly I've been steeped in the classics. I was truly impressed with Katie Ganshert's Wildflowers from Winter recently. Not too preachy, with solid writing. Christ.fic is a tricky genre, if you ask me--are we reaching the lost or the saved? I think it's possible to minister to both, if done properly.

I'd like to think of myself as a crossover author, but agents have to choose which publishing houses to pitch, ABA or CBA. I wanted a Christian agent, on-board w/my worldview, so my book is on submission to Christian publishing houses right now. We'll see how it goes!

Sandra Byrd said...

Thank you for this, Deb. I really appreciate the nod. Email me if you're interested in being on the review list for the other Ladies in Waiting books!

Sandra Byrd said...

Thank you for this, Deb. I really appreciate the nod. Email me if you're interested in being on the review list for the other Ladies in Waiting books!