Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Is Christian Fiction?

While analyzing Christian Fiction to get a handle on what it is, I remembered this review of Dee Henderson's The Witness I wrote for in July 2006. I thought it would be useful to include here because I want to talk more about this thing called Christian Fiction. I titled the review, The Middle Drags:

I must admit this is the first Dee Henderson book I've read so I didn't know what to expect. I bought it because it was said to be a Christian romance thriller. It begins with a bang and I couldn't put the book down for the first quarter or so. Then, it seems to go into slow motion for the next fifty percent or so. Then it kicks in again for the close. I was okay with the resolution of the story, unlike other reviewers. I didn't spot the lack of editing as some have reported, but I was distracted by the use of "couple" without "of" after it. I had never seen that before and it appeared a number of times.

I watched for the Christian view, and felt it was subtle. Not preachy at all. Just a few personal prayers, some discussion of one's belief in God. I noticed that there was no swearing or the use of alcohol or drugs. This I appreciated.

I plan to read more of her books.

I'm looking at other Christian Fiction to see how it is different from mainstream fiction because I want Where Love Once Lived to qualify for sale by members of the Christian Booksellers Association. However, I don't intend to make changes to it at this point in time, but I have made it fit the guidelines to the best of my understanding. I'll tell you more about this is a future article.

Have you read novels labeled Christian? If so, which ones? What did you think of them?


  1. The idea of 'Christian' fiction is becoming wider and less easy to define. there was probably a day when we automatically thought of Janette Oke, but now I think it encompasses much more.
    It can be as subtle as a Christian character appearing in the book in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way. I've read a few of these lately - Mark Bertrand's award winning book BACK ON MURDER is a superb example. The hero is not even a Christian, but his police partner is. another example is EG. Lewis's LOST and PROMISES.

    It might be just a christian analogy, a Christian theme, or a full blown gospel message ... There are just so many varietions.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tracy. I was just on a trip involving an airport and looked around in a bookstore in Atlanta airport. They had a shelf labeled "Inspirational" that held fiction and nonfiction. The fictional included Karen Kingsley books. Maybe inspirational is the term.

  3. Hi Sid,
    There are so many different ways people look at Christian fiction now, which is a good thing. The more ways people look at it, the more people being reached. For the CBA guidelines, perhaps think of a publishing house in the CBA you'd like to submit to. Then write or email and ask for their guidelines, or ask one of the agents specializing in Christian books. Once the guidelines, then one must find the illusive key to the door.

  4. Dee Henderson is coming out with a new book in Oct from Bethany publishing Your two books were great, keep writing. (Dee Henderson in my sister's daughter)

    James R. Johnson