Christian Historical Fiction discussion

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1920s > Should a Christian Book Be Advertised as Overtly Christian?

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message 1: by Holly (new)

Holly Weiss (hollyweiss) If you read the plot synopsis of my historical fiction novel, Crestmont (here on Goodreads), you will find no mention of God. However, themes of grace permeate the book and the characters are believers, struggling to make sense of their lives with God's help like you and I. I fretted over how to portray the book to mainstream public. My feeling is that if I want non-believers to read it and perhaps be touched by its message, drawing them closer to Christ, I might be wise to draw them in gently without plastering it all over the back cover.

However, if you read my website, www.hollyweiss.com
you will find my faith firmly entrenched there.

I hope you will check out Crestmont. I look forward to feedback on my choices in not advertising my Christianity on my sleeve or book cover.

Here's the book synopsis:

"A dream, after all, needn't be fueled by particulars, only by desire."
So notes main character, Gracie Antes, in CRESTMONT, a historical fiction gem set in the 1920s.

Determined to take control of her life, sheltered Gracie Antes leaves her unhappy home in 1925 to pursue her dream of a singing career. On her way to the big city, she accepts a job as a housemaid at the bustling Crestmont Inn. Once there, Gracie finds a life-changing encounter with opera singer Rosa Ponselle, family she never imagined could be hers, and a man with a mysterious past. Relive the 1920s with a colorful cast of characters. Discover with Gracie that sometimes we must trade loss for happiness.

Set in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, the story is interwoven with details about the town, the rich history of The Crestmont Inn, and the family who passed ownership from one generation to the next. Many attempts have been made to explain how the mountaintop lake nestled in this tiny town came to be. Crestmont gives a new twist to an old Native American legend, setting the tone of grace around which the story is built.

Let the period of the Roaring Twenties spark your interest with its unique social mores, fashion, jazz, and yes, a little bootlegging thrown in for pizzazz."

Take a look and let me know what you think. Many reviews on Amazon at this url
http://amzn.to/cIChhv
Crestmont


message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Gentry (authorjennifergentry) | 11 comments Holly

To me, there are two types of Christian fiction. One is more "clean fiction", or a novel with Christian-based principles or morals depicted in it. These are more easily promoted to non-Christians who do not enjoy profanity or sexual content in their stories, for example. A cover-mention of your Christian beliefs is not necessarily essential in this type of CF, as the book could apply to anyone.

The other type of Christian fiction is one that presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the book. By that, I mean, somewhere in the book the plan of Salvation is presented. To me, if the strong Christian content were NOT widely presented on the cover of this type of CF book, it would be dishonest and deceptive.

I've read too many posts in the Amazon Kindle forum about publishers and authors who use this method of "stealth evangelism". I never saw one comment about someone who unwittingly read this type of book and became a Christian from it. On the contrary, this practice was so abhorrent to the posters that it left such a bitter taste in their mouths toward Christianity that more harm was done than good.

Not everyone will read a book marked as "Christian". But I think you'd be pleasantly surprised who *would*! I know an Atheist who reads CF books! It is my opinion, however, that we should never be ashamed or try to hide what we believe from anyone.

Congratulations on your book!


message 3: by Holly (new)

Holly Weiss (hollyweiss) Your comment about "clean fiction" was helpful. Thank you, Jenny. I have had Jewish friends read my novel and love it.


message 4: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Chind (cherryblossommj) | 395 comments Mod
In some cases I feel like people need to pay attention to the publisher ---> ie some of the people upset about the Kindle "Christian" purchases were purchasing books that were Christian Fiction publishers, and if they did one search they would see that. But I know that perhaps that's a step they won't go, but if you're already online. ... 'eh that's my two cents.

I think the fact of having "Religion/ Fiction/ General" or whatever at the ISBN covers it. I love when I find a "Christian" novel in the "General Market" section of the store instead of just relegated to the "Inspirational Fiction" shelf, because some people (sadly) won't go there on principle and they might find a book that they'd love by the cover and synopsis. (Planting seeds...)


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Gentry (authorjennifergentry) | 11 comments Margaret wrote: "In some cases I feel like people need to pay attention to the publisher ---> ie some of the people upset about the Kindle "Christian" purchases were purchasing books that were Christian Fiction pub..."

I agree they should do some more research. But many of them won't. About the only research I do when shopping for my Kindle is read the reader reviews (especially for the Jane Austen continuations--there are a number of them with sexual content and in the ones I've seen, readers have been good enough to include that information in their reviews) or to read the sample first.

I think what the people were complaining about was, that (they didn't know the Christian publishers, first of all) there was no mention of Christ or Christianity in the samples they downloaded, so they bought the particular book/s. Then, about half-way through...BAM! There was some heavy evangelizing going on. Their point was, wouldn't we as Christians be offended if a book we deemed offensive was the same way? I know I would.


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly Weiss (hollyweiss) There is no mention of Religion. My ISBN merely says Historical Fiction. Planting seeds - that's exactly what I wanted to do. Thanks, Margaret.


message 7: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Chind (cherryblossommj) | 395 comments Mod
@Jenny One of my favorite "General Market" authors wrote an incredible almost 500 some odd pages novel that I just devoured. Then suddenly the plot took a twist that made it not just surprisingly sexual in nature, but homosexual. I was completely stunned and almost vowed to completely lead a boycott on her books. But because I happen to come across her second novel in the library I gave it a chance and each and every one of her novels since then are incredible. I really disagree with the one plot twist in the first novel, and tell anyone who asks me about the book to be forewarned, but she is an author to enjoy past that. It is my opinion that any reader should be able to get past something that they disagree with if the rest of it is satisfying or extraordinary. I have read so many of those "crazy" reviews, and partly I feel that some of those are people who just want to complain about Christianity in anyway that they can.

You can only fit so much information on the outside of a book to describe the inside. People do not usually freak out when they dislike a book because of too much romance, or too much suspense, or whatever that they were not warned about. I think there is no real solution, other than for people to just stop reading a book and go on to something else if they are offended and dislike it so strongly. The complaints do nothing, but make them spend more time venting on a null point.

Too many books and too little time, why waste the time on anything else?


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Gentry (authorjennifergentry) | 11 comments Margaret wrote: "@Jenny One of my favorite "General Market" authors wrote an incredible almost 500 some odd pages novel that I just devoured. Then suddenly the plot took a twist that made it not just surprisingly s..."

You are definitely more forgiving than I am, Margaret. :-) If I stumbled upon a book with any sex scenes (especially a homosexual sex scene), I would definitely not read to the end--nor would I ever read anything else by the author, either. But I just don't read *anything* with profanity or sexual content. So the vast majority of my reading is CF with some of the classics thrown in there as well. I've been enjoying some Jane Austen continuations, but I've had to do a lot of research on those because there are many that are apparently glorified bodice-rippers disguised as Jane Austen continuations. I've been called a prude, but that is fine with me. ;-)

I do agree that some of those people are just looking to complain about Christianity--especially when I see the same folks complaining in those gripey threads over and over. But I also know from experience that there are people who can't stand to even hear about Christianity and for them to have your experience (of reading about it hidden halfway into the book) would be as offensive to them as reading a homosexual sex scene hidden halfway into the book would be to me.


message 9: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Chind (cherryblossommj) | 395 comments Mod
OH my goodness! No, it was not a homosexual sex scene. That would definitely be a put down and throw the book away for me. Long story short, it was a murder mystery and the victim was killed by poison that was absorbed from a condom and it was set up by his jealous homosexual lover. I did not know that there was even that relationship until the murder came out. Apparently the man was jealous of the wife and so on. Literally the absurdity is on ONE page of the entire book! I was speechless because it definitely could have gone any other way.

*shudder* I'm sorry I was not more clear.


message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Gentry (authorjennifergentry) | 11 comments Margaret wrote: "OH my goodness! No, it was not a homosexual sex scene. That would definitely be a put down and throw the book away for me. Long story short, it was a murder mystery and the victim was killed by poi..."

LOL!!! I AM SOOOOOO SORRY to misinterpret. I read it very quickly this first time and obviously made a HUGE mistake.

Sorry, sorry, sorry! :-)


message 11: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Chind (cherryblossommj) | 395 comments Mod
LOL


message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne (spartandax) | 41 comments I am the same. If any homosexual sex scene comes up in any book I am reading, I immediately close it, and mark that author as "not to read ever again." One author whose books I liked had a gay character, but nothing much was said, so I continued to read her books because they were good. However, suddenly, I got what was then her latest, and within the first chapter was an extremely graphic lesbian scene. I immediately closed the book and have not read one of hers since. if there is a gay character, I can accept that as long as that is all, but when it goes beyone the bounds of what I consider moral and decent according to God's written laws, then I close the book and mark that author. I cannot even watch news scenes about the so called "gay marriage" stuff. It sickens me so. I remember reading an article on a Christian site about how far you can go. It said that once it arouses you, it has gone too far. I think that is a pretty good measure.
Anne


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