Sunday, January 15, 2006

Christian Fiction On the Cutting Edge

All right, I'm climbing on my soap box for a moment. If I hear one more time that Christian fiction is nothing but "precious moments" platitudes written only to make money, I think my head might explode. There is a persistent chorus of criticism leveled at our genre, claiming that Christian fiction is not "literature," is not "real," and does not really present sinful people in a fallen world. I beg to differ, and can only assume that this chorus of critics has not read Christian fiction in the last ten years. Therefore I will give these folks the benefit of the doubt and try to be kinder to them than they have been to the authors who are laboring in this field to present relevent topics and serve both God and their fellow man.

My friend Deb Raney has compiled a list of current Christian novels that deal with real-world problems and present real, flawed, even (gasp!) sinful people who are struggling to find grace in a fallen world. I am happy to offer this list to you, and please know that it is not exhaustive. There are dozens of real, excellently-written novels out there and more appearing every day. There are scores of dedicated Christian novelists who are publishing with both an ear to the reader to whom they want to minister and to the Lord whom they serve.
Social Issues in CBA Fiction

TEARS IN A BOTTLE, Sylvia Bambola (Multnomah)
THE ATONEMENT CHILD, Francine Rivers (Tyndale)
SHOWERS IN SEASON, Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
Alcoholism/Drug Abuse:
BEYOND THE SHADOWS, Robin Lee Hatcher (Tyndale)
LOOKING FOR CASSANDRA JANE, Melody Carlson (Tyndale)
SHADOW OF DREAMS, Eva Marie Everson & G.W. Francis Chadwick (Promise Press/Barbour)
AN EMERALD BALLAD SERIES, B. J. Hoff (Bethany House Publishers)
Cancer/Breast Cancer:
AFTER ANNE, Roxanne Henke (Harvest House)
A TIME TO MEND, Angela Hunt (Steeple Hill)
HEALING QUILT, by Lauraine Snelling
SEASON OF BLESSING, Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
SEASIDE, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
Domestic Violence:
SADIE'S SONG, Linda Hall (Multnomah)
SERENITY BAY, Bette Nordberg (Bethany House)
A NEST OF SPARROWS, Deborah Raney (WaterBrook Press)
CLOTH OF HEAVEN AND ASHES AND LACE, B. J. Hoff (Tyndale House Publishers)
EVIDENCE OF MERCY, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
Drunk Driving:
THE LIVING STONE, Jane Orcutt (WaterBrook Press)
AFTER THE RAINS, Deborah Raney (WaterBrook Press)
WAITING FOR MORNING, Karen Kingsbury (Multnomah)
TIGER LILLIE, Lisa Samson, WaterBrook Press)
SPRING RAIN, Gayle Roper (Multnomah)
A SEASON OF GRACE, Bette Nordberg (Harvest House)
THE LONG-AWAITED CHILD, Tracie Peterson (Bethany House)
LULLABY, Jane Orcutt (Tyndale)
IN A HEARTBEAT, Sally John (Harvest House)
ASHES AND LACE, B. J. Hoff (Tyndale House Publishers)
BREAKER'S REEF, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
THE FORGIVING HOUR, Robin Lee Hatcher (WaterBrook Press)
THE SCARLET THREAD, Francine Rivers (Tyndale)
THE BREAKING POINT, Karen Ball (Multnomah)
REDEEMING LOVE, Francine Rivers (Multnomah)
BREACH OF PROMISE, James Scott Bell (Zondervan)
PRIVATE JUSTICE, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
TIMES AND SEASONS, Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
ULTERIOR MOTIVES, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
Mental Illness/Depression/Suicide:
FINDING ALICE, Melody Carlson (WaterBrook Press)
SONGBIRD, Lisa Samson (Warner Faith)
WHEN JOY CAME TO STAY, Karen Kingsbury (Multnomah)
THE LIVING END, Lisa Samson (WaterBrook Press)
THE NOVELIST, Angela Hunt (WestBow Press)
CLOTH OF HEAVEN and ASHES AND LACE, B. J. Hoff (Tyndale House Publishers)
LAST LIGHT, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
Unplanned Pregnancy:
CHILD OF GRACE, Lori Copeland (Tyndale)
A MOMENT OF WEAKNESS, Karen Kingsbury (Multnomah)
CLOTH OF HEAVEN and ASHES AND LACE, B. J. Hoff (Tyndale House Publishers)
AN EMERALD BALLAD SERIES, B. J. Hoff (Bethany House Publishers)
FIRSTBORN, Robin Lee Hatcher (Tyndale House)
Rape/Incest/Sexual Abuse:
WHAT SHE LEFT FOR ME, Tracie Peterson (Bethany House)
WHEN YOU BELIEVE, Deborah Bedford (Warner Faith)
WHY THE SKY IS BLUE, Susan Meissner, (Harvest House)
MENDING PLACES, Denise Hunter (Howard)
THE ATONEMENT CHILD, Francine Rivers (Tyndale)
ANTONIA’S CHOICE, Nancy Rue (Multnomah)
IN THE STILL OF NIGHT, Deborah Raney (Bethany House)
A NEST OF SPARROWS, Deborah Raney (WaterBrook Press)
AFTON OF MARGATE CASTLE, Angela Hunt (Tyndale House)
AN EMERALD BALLAD SERIES, B. J. Hoff (Bethany House Publishers)
CLOTH OF HEAVEN and ASHES AND LACE, B. J. Hoff (Tyndale House Publishers)
A DISTANT MUSIC, B. J. Hoff (Harvest House Publishers)
JUSTIFIABLE MEANS, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)
THE HIDDEN HEART, Jane Orcutt (WaterBrook)
TRIAL BY FIRE, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)


Angela said...

I have read "Lullaby" and found it excellent. And, as someone who has dealt with this issue herself, I've also written about it: a novella called "The Yellow Sock" which is included in the collection called "The Story Jar." It's only slightly fictionalized, but it's pretty much my story.

I have two adopted children, too. They are precious, but there are also challenges I never dreamed I'd face.

Anonymous said...

Borrowing the quote Jim Bell recently shared, which couldn't be more appropriate to this issue:

"Those big-shots could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than

Could it be that peanuts simply taste better?


Anonymous said...

I just suggested "Spring Rain" the other day to my pastor for his mom. He's got a brother who's gay and their mom struggles with how to love her son without compromising her convictions as a Christian. Gayle Roper handled the subject so well.

Unknown said...

Great information angela. I will definitely blog this back. I agree we aren't reading enough different writers within Christian Fiction.

However, I think part of that challenge is on the part of writers and publishing houses not promoting these books. If you walk into most Wal-marts, Lifeway and Family Stores there are the same authors that have been out for quite a while.

Although I understand the economics involved on the part of the publishers promoting their guaranteed best sellars, blogs like yours will help others to find these books that we seek. And open others eyes to the world of Christian Fiction.

Anonymous said...

I was just trying to categorize Linda Nichols' books in my mind, then read Carrie's comments, above. I've read each of Linda Nichols' books and I agree -- Linda is an anointed writer and does a great job with these subjects.

Anonymous said...

Becoming Olivia by Roxanne Henke deals with the topic of depression wonderfully.