Girls Write Out
Monday, April 29, 2013

SearchRescue Featured

I'm getting ready to go to the Romantic Times conference. Excited to see my peeps Ami McConnell (editor) and Katie Bond (marketing manager) for a few days. Ami, Lenora Worth, and I will be teaching a workshop on inspirational fiction. One of the things I want to talk about is What is Christian Fiction? 

I'd love to get your opinion. When you go to the store or browse an online shop, what makes you decide to buy the book? What is Christian fiction to you and what strong elements make a difference for you when deciding whether or not to plunk down your money?

I'll pick 5 winners from the comments, and they will get Rock Harbor Search and Rescue, the newest in the Rock Harbor series. So put on your thinking caps and tell me what does Christian fiction mean to you?

Colleen Coble  
posted at 7:11 PM  
  Comments (23)
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At 7:20 PM, Blogger Kelli Jo said...

One thing I look for is the author's name - is it one of my favorite Christian authors? I like to read about someone finding God, or re-finding God. Maybe someone struggling to come to terms with their Faith.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Jackie Smith said...

I love Christian fiction. I tend to follow favorite GWO girls, Deb Raney, Karen Kingsbury, Kim Sawyer, 'cause I know you write Christian based books. I like to read fun, little mystery and romance, and inspiring books.
I shop online mostly and usually read reviews before I purchase, if by a new author (to me).

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Heather Day Gilbert said...

Christian fiction that has characters with quirks or believable situations/dialogue always snags my attention--not candy-coated stuff. I wish there were more Christian fiction with married main characters, for example, since so many Christfic readers ARE married, and it would be nice to see fictional characters working through things we all have to work through.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger lydia said...

I read Christian fiction because I am interested in characters who have similar values with me. I don't want to read vulgarity or profanity. I look for authors I have read before or who have been recommended. I enjoy good stories that are believable but not necessarily predictable.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger mrsfaber said...

I look for something unique; something that doesn't sound cheesy or too sappy. I'll often read the first page to make sure it's not saccharinely sweet or full of awkward diction and syntax. I also see if the setting is one I'm interested in; I'm much more likely to enjoy a book if I'm also learning something new or seeing something a new way. Most importantly, I am guaranteed to read an author's entire list of works if they are gospel-centered. I get so frustrated that "Christian" fiction only needs to be moralistic. That's just moralism--NOT Christianity! The gospel is more than acknowledging God exists in a prayer or realizing that drugs or sex are bad. If your conversion scene never mentions Jesus or his substitutionary's not a Christian or gospel-centered novel. Okay! End of my venting! :)

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Jan Hall said...

I look for a blurb on the back or something in the title that speaks to me about what they are trying to convey, forgiveness, hope, healing or a teachable moment. I so wish I had discovered Christian fiction when I was a teenager or before. Would have saved me a lot of heartache.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger MaryAnn said...

When I see a book is Christian fiction, I expect there to be a faith element along with the story. I expect it to be real, so bad things might be happening, yet not gory for the sake of gory. I expect I don't have to be concerned there will be sex scenes I will find embarassing.


At 9:21 PM, Blogger jel said...

Christian fiction, to me , I don't have to worry about
any bad words(pottymouth) in the story.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Raymond King said...

I have to agree I first look at the authors - although I read a lot of reviews of new books online. Recently the way I've picked up new authors is by buying the first book online - free for Kindle. Also the cover is important, if it looks like not much time was put into it the book probably won't be a great read (I know never judge a book by its cover, but that's a quick attention grabber/deterrent)

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Donna Feyen said...

I look for my favorite authors. But I can browse the entire store looking for a new author. I have to admit I am highly influenced by the cover of the book. I love a good mystery with some romance. My christian fiction does not have to be preachy, and I prefer that it not make me cry:)
I would like to recommend More Than a Review dot com. They rate books on the level of sex, violence, etc so you can purchase a secular book and not be worried about language or objectionable content.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Gail H. said...

I love good clean, wholesome books that are realistic. If I can relate to the character personally all the better. If the cover and title catch my eye, then I go on and read the back. I grew up reading Grace Livingston Hill, probably old fashioned in today's terms, but the overall message never goes out of style.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

The thing that defines Christian fiction is the central theme of the book. Every story involves a character overcoming a problem, but for it to be Christian fiction, the argument the author makes for how the character should overcome the problem must be consistent with the Bible. That’s not to say that the protagonist must always do the right thing. It actually makes a better story if he doesn’t. But the author must be faithful in showing the consequences of his actions. The goal is to encourage the reader to do the right thing, whether the characters do or not.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Marcia said...

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a …” and “I can’t think about this now. I’ll go crazy if I do. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Are not satisfying any more. Make the final scene in Gone With the Wind the first scene and show me how God works in their lives.
I want to see a testimony painted in the characters. I want see what a Christian looks like, how they handle life. That is why I read Christian fiction.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger hobbymomof4 said...

I tend to stick with "Christian fiction" because I know it will not contain profanity or sexual descriptions. I stay away from those authors who are overly preachy, because I already know what I believe and don't need someone else to tell me their views, especially if they misinterpret scriptures or bend them to fit the story. That can lead people astray just as much as worldly fiction's vulgarity, so Christian authors must be VERY careful about that.

At 8:44 AM, OpenID plowingthefields said...

Christian fiction goes deeper than secular fiction because it addresses issues of the soul. It can be a romance or a mystery, but there's that element of faith that I can connect to. Those characters become my brothers and sisters in Christ.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Cindy Regnier said...

Christian fiction means I don't have to worry about reading things or words I don't want to read. Somehow through my enjoyment of the book I will learn a new truth or have an old truth hit home in a new and different way. I will feel uplifted when I'm done, wishing I could read more because the ending is satisfying and the characters I have come to love have their values and morals intact, come out on the winning side. I choose my books by the author. I know the ones I can trust - even new authors are always visible on ACFW loops, facebook, blogs and email until I'm sure I want to read that book. Of course - Colleen Coble is always my first pick!

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Ronya said...

Christian Fiction is a teacher encased in a leisure activity. I learn about God. I learn about people. I learn about myself. I learn about places I've never been, times I've never lived in and professions I've not come in contact with. I believe that all of these things help me to view people with more compassion and grace. Reading relaxes me. I love that God has created through these amazing authors a way to relax and unwind that still benefits us and furthers His kingdom. Series in which we continually come into contact with the same characters are my favorite. And I love most when I read something in a book that stays with me for days, weeks or months after I've finished the book. Christian Fiction is a staple in my life and God uses it to grow me and make me more like Him. I love it!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Abby said...

I look at the author's name. I make sure there aren't bonnets in the picture and that the cover is modern looking and doesn't have a font from the 1990's.

At 4:45 PM, Blogger bonton said...

I love not having to worry about finding bad language, or explicit sex & violence in Christian fiction. I like reading about how God has helped the characters through the problems in their lives, & while there are certain author's names that I look for - I enjoy discovering the writing of new authors also.

At 12:36 AM, Blogger Syndi Cernucan said...

I look for realistic characters and preferably one I can relate to. I am a little more critical than most, I have a three chapter rule, if the author has not captured my attention by the end of the third chapter, I don't finish the book. As an aspiring writer, the best advice given to me was to not take too long to get to the meat of the book throw a few bones out there in the first few chapters to reel them in and then get to the meat or the heart of it with a few twists thrown in.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Cindy W. said...

I am usually drawn to the cover of the book first. I actually have become quite good at determining the publishing house just by the book's cover. The second thing that pulls me in is the author's name. The third, I read the blurb on the back of the book.

I predominantly read only Christian fiction these days. Strictly by choice as I know I am going to get a clean read with no fowl language or strong sexual content.

With Christian fiction I feel I can relate more to the characters. Their values are my values. That in itself helps me to continue reading the book.

Have fun!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

At 5:39 AM, Blogger Amber said...

I'm usually drawn to lighthearted Christian fiction. I like chick lit! I shop on Amazon multiple times a day and much of that time is spent in the kindle ebook section! First I search certain author names: GWO authors, Melody Carlson, Karen Kingsbury, Erynn Mangum, Rachel Hauck, Kaye Dacus, Janice Thompson, and Trish Perry. Next I browse based on recommendations from Amazon. I usually end up purchasing, sending samples to my phone, or placing books on my wish list.

To me, a Christian book should be clean (language & content) and have at least some element of faith or God in it. If religion seems forced in a novel, I probably won't like it. I like characters I can relate to or characters that make me want to draw closer to God. Karen Kingsbury's novels always leave me feeling a little closer to God. I'm ok with a Christian novel using faith as a minor theme. Sometimes I just want to relax and laugh for awhile!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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