Thursday, March 3, 2011

Writing YA Christian lit or Not.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. My parents weren't druggies or alcoholics or abusive. We were just a typical lower middle class family struggling to make it work. My mother stayed at home with us until I was in first or second grade. She then took a job with a maid service. For the first time my sisters and I were given an allowance. As the youngest, I was paid the least for my labor which included dusting and vacuuming. It was $5. And it was enough. A new bookstore had opened in the recently developed strip mall across the street that ran behind our home. The bookstore was the only thing that made the destruction of the farmland acceptable in my mind. I was maybe 8 or 9 at the beginning. Each Friday I would take my $5 and walk to the bookstore. Back then $5 was just enough to buy two paperbacks. This was when I fell in love with Lois Duncan and Christopher Pike. No, there were no Sweet Valley High books for me. My friends were all reading them, but not me, never a one. I was a Nancy Drew girl, a mystery and thriller girl. When I was 10 I discovered what I consider to be the original Twilight series, The Vampire Diaries, LJ Smith. And by the way, the WB series does the book series a great injustice. I read all of Duncan and Smith and Pike and usually read book more than once. When I became a Christian at the age of 15 I was reading Dean Koontz and my Bible and occasionally Stephen King. Seem like a conflict of interest? Indeed. But what else was I supposed to read? Christian fiction at the time left much to be desired. It was poorly written and cheesy to say the least. Recently when I started writing my own YA novel I struggled with this. I wanted to write something Christian parents would approve of and Christian and non-Christian terms would enjoy. Oh but we have Twilight, you say. Um no. While Edward insisting on waiting until marriage to have sex is great and my favorite thing about the entire series, it doesn't override the fact that Bella's entire existence, she thought, hinged on Edward. That's stupid. And unhealthy. While most of my characters are not Christians, they struggle with their morals and with the morals of their Christian friends. But that isn't the focus of the story. It is a thriller after all. And honestly I didn't write it with any moral in mind. My goal was to write a romantic thriller for teens that didn't involve vampires or zombies or werewolves or this ridiculous notion that a girl's life should revolve around a boy. Injecting my Christian faith into the story was tricky. I didn't want to lay it on too thick but I didn't want to ignore it. I'm the end I think a happy balance was found but you would have to be the judge of that. Look for my ebooks Filter at or

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