- AUGUST 16, 2011
- BY: ERICA SMITH
To view original article visit: http://www.examiner.com/article/a-new-definition-of-christian-fiction-and-its-ticket-to-multicultural-themes
“Given what we know about multiculturalism and Christianity, do the inspirational novels we read reflect the truth that we live in a diverse world or is it somehow segregated?
Let’s look at the secular world for a bit. There are Young Adult novels, Adult, Science Fiction, and romance novels to choose from. From within each category, there is a reflection of a different culture: Young adult novels range from pop culture to angst, to even magical cultures like Harry Potter. Within the romance genre you have ethnic books written by and for African Americans, Latinos, Indian, and Asian.
This is a pretty broad look at things. Before there was an actual category of Christian Fiction, there were writers who happened to be Christian and showed off some of their beliefs in subtle yet witty forms.C.S. Lewis and Flannery O’Connor come to mind.
However, in the early nineties or perhaps a bit before then, Christian fiction boomed with authors like Irene Hannon, Francine Rivers, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and Terry Blackstock. Many of these authors have been publishing for well over fifteen years. Each of these authors have a special genre they cater to and they have generated a loyal following.
Who are these new Christian writers? The ones who push the envelope, dare to write suspense, and weave historical romances with plenty of kissing and violence. Well, multicultural does not just encompass a race, but a movement.
For example, Ted Dekker has gained loyal following for his suspense novels geared towards teens and adults. Tosca Lee has found her niche in rewriting (or reflecting?) biblical truths such as in her book Demon: A Memoir. Lisa T. Bergren pens very well told historical romances but really broke ground with her latest River of Time series for teenagers with a thirst romance and adventure.
Many more Christian authors are pushing boundaries once restricted and probably some publishing companies will have to revamp their ideals in order to help other Christian authors market their voices to new readers. For now, the new style definition of Christian Fiction seems to be a “genre of literature focusing on the redemptive work of Christ; that which inspires good feelings, hopeful thoughts(e.g. Amish Fiction) without the gratuitous sex or foul language.” “
In truth, at this time it is still very difficult to easily find YA Christian Multicultural fiction that isn’t what (most teens) consider irrelevant, fluff. Or as teen blogger, Tessa Emily Hall of Christ is Write says, many teens see the books that are now available to them as, “cheesy, preachy, or boring. You don’t want to preach to them. You want to offer them a story that believers and nonbelievers alike can both enjoy.”
Multicultural Christian fiction is a very slow growing subgenre, but growing more and more each year. One encouraging sign is the Walk Worthy Press imprint which is offered by Warner books. Also Harlequin’s Kimani Press has a new imprint called New Spirit which focuses on African American Inspirational books. Examples of these are: Choose Me by Xenia Ruiz , Cover Girls by T.D. Jakes, Abraham’s Well by Sharon Ewell Foster, Like Sheep Gone Astray by Leslie Sherrod.
So, as the hunger for this YA genre continues to grow ravenous, I will continue to keep my eyes open for more books like this to be readily accessible not only for this audience, but for those of us who aren’t YA, yet still absolutely love to read ( and write) books in this genre. Happy Reading!