Well, it won't be long until I can start posting my own reviews about the book choices that I've agreed to read! I'm so excited for November to get here to see how all of this develops! I've been reading, talking, investigating and asking hard questions to offer you the best information I possibly can about the books that will show up here on my blog.
While I realize that everyone has their own opinion, there seems to be a lot of debate among readers as to what constitutes good, Christian fiction. Is it the publisher's name on the spine? Is it content? Is it style? There are as many opinions as there are published books it seems. However, yesterday I was given the opportunity to have a conversation with the Vice President of the Fiction Division at Thomas Nelson Publishing, Allen Arnold. He gave me a lot of insight from the publishers point of view about how a book is chosen by their house. (To let you know, the man personally answered a complaint I had emailed to their company! Talk about first-class customer service!)
Apparently, Thomas Nelson has decided that if you are a Christian (agree with the basic tenants of the faith, the basic content of the Nicaean Creed, and proclaim to be a born again Christian) and they deem you to be a good story-teller, they will let you tell your story without a whole lot of restraint. Oh, they read the manuscript several times and go over it carefully, but in spite of that, I've found some things within the pages of their chosen works of fiction alarming and disturbing. While I understand that there is no way to please everyone (why would you even try?), it does seem that when you see the name of a Christian publisher on the spine you should expect a minimum amount of Christian content. I personally think it's a cop out to bury the message so deep that even an English Major with a vivid imagination can't find it! Yet overt Christianity doesn't win the dollars of the 40-something crowd that watches late-night television. It seems the all-mighty dollar is working some wicked scheme in the world of Christian publishing.
Anyway, I'm exploring these philosophies and asking some tough questions of the books I'm reviewing. Edgy fiction is one thing, but plain old non-Christian fiction is something else entirely. Hence the separate markets. However, they are competing for the same dollars it seems. Reeks of compromise to me.
I haven't fully decided which way to carry this thought-pattern, but I just thought it fair to let you know what I'm finding beneath some of the corporate rocks I'm looking under. It sure is an interesting world out there in the land of fiction!
More to come! Stay tuned!!