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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why Inspirationals?

Okay, I'll admit it. Long ago, I signed off from inspirational novels. Why? I often found them trite, preachy, goody goody, and lacking in artistic excellence. Maybe I was a little hard on them, but at some point I kind of felt like: you read one, you read them all. Francine Rivers was the exception in my mind, and she alone gave me some hope.

Well, that certainly isn't true any longer. Three years ago I started writing my own first novel. I assumed I would have to pursue a secular publisher because no Christian publisher would print something as honest, real, and edgy as what I wanted to write. Fortunately, a fellow author assured me that Christian publishing had changed drastically in the last few years, and that I should give it another chance.

He was so right. Since that time, I've read some amazing books. I discovered Christian fantasy, science fiction, and chic lit. I found amazing new historical authors. I had the pleasure of enjoying a romance about a professional Christian ballerina. I even read my first Christian thriller this summer. All I'm waiting for now is a Christian vampire novel :) Think I'm kidding? Watch someone figure out how to do it.

I've read books that have broken nearly every supposed Christian publishing taboo, books with flawed characters, real life drama, and deep spiritual themes. My conclusion is that our incredibly creative God is giving Christian authors all sorts of creative ways to share their faith that no one would have dreamed of twenty years ago. Christian authors are no longer second-rate, they are becoming some of the finest at their craft.

The beauty of the inspirational novel is that while it entertains, takes you to a different time and place, allows you to enjoy the romance, the suspense, the drama, it also uplifts you spiritually. Recently my Bible study group was discussing the importance of filling your mind with the right sorts of influences. I recommended a goal of trying to have at least half of messages we receive come from the right sort of spiritual sources. Novels are perhaps the best way to accomplish that goal.

I hope to expose my readers to new genres and authors and novels within the inspirational category. Many of them will be "awesome," but all of them will have some sort of merit. I will focus on the positive aspects of each book and what sort of reader will appreciate them. Enjoy!


  1. Hey Dina!
    You know I felt the same way. I remember reading inspirational romances and thought they were so unlike real life. Who actually has friends and family that are walking a Christian walk? Or that always have selfless actions and pure motives?

    That's why I was so thrilled to come back to writng and finding the NEW inspirational market.

    Congratulations on your new blog. It's beautiful and I have a feeling you'll do a great job with it.

  2. I hope and pray that everything you hope for is spot-on...since it echoes my own hopes for our market. I feel as though it's still a bit over-restricted, but many of us feel there are changes in the wind. I'll be glad to see more than "bonnet books" out there for the Christian fiction buyer.

  3. I was right there with you, girl. But, times are changing. Authors like Ted Dekker and Francine Rivers are breaking up the sod for us. And, by the way, Christian vampire books are being done, and done well, by Thomas Nelson author, Eric Wilson in his Jerusalem Undead series. He's the author who wrote the novel versions of the movies "Flywheel," "Facing The Giants," and "Fireproof." He's a great guy, and a wonderful writer. Glad to see your blog up.

  4. See, I knew it. Also, Deb, you definitely need to check out my book list. There are some edgy books there. I think you would be encouraged. I always look for that and that's mostly what I read. Although, I read two Barbour romances recently because I had met the authors, and while "sweet," I actually thought they were very enjoyable stories.

  5. I'm a big fan of "grit" in my stories, too, so I keep an eye out for books that boast that. If ever you read some of my reviews at the Christian Review of Books , you'll definitely be able to tell which are my favorites! =)

  6. I like your post, Dina. I feel the wave of change as well. And I welcome it. Not only that, but from what I'm reading on secular blogs, people who wouldn't touch an inspy a couple years ago are now reading them because they give entertainment value without being preachy. Someone asked me once if that wasn't a bit sneaky. But how can it be sneaky if the book is sold as an inspirational?

    Great blog, Dina.

  7. It seems many of us have come to this place as writers "for such a time as this." I love the fact there are inspirational books on the market I can give to my non-Christian friends without being embarrassed by the quality OR the content, and knowing that they will come away from the story with a better understanding of the gospel!
    Signing on as a follower, Inky sister! : ) Oh, how will I find time to write, with all these great blogs to read???