More on Suspense in the CBA
Thanks to everyone who commented on the state of suspense in the CBA. Great words of wisdom shared on a very thoughtful topic. I think this discussion needs to be had. For so long it’s been said that Christian fiction is all about prairie romances and chick lit and Amish lit. But what about suspense? Fans of Christian suspense need to make their voices heard.
One of the commenters asked some questions about my motives for writing and I’d like to address them now with some questions of my own:
Why do you write what you write? I write suspense because I think it most closely mimics real life. Let’s face it, life can be really scary and suspenseful. Monsters are real. They may not look like those phony jobs in old Japanese movies but they are real. They come in the form of cancer and juvenile arthritis and Parkinson’s and the jerk who can’t keep his hands off his teenage daughter. I write suspense because it allows me to explore the human psyche and emotions on a much deeper level, and, I think, a much more realistic level.
What are the reasons for your writing? The reasons are varied. One is because writing gives me an outlet for my crazy imagination. Another is for the reason I stated above, writing gives me an opportunity to study people and get into the human psyche and what makes people tick and cry and laugh and scream with fear or burst with excitement. Yet another reason is because I want to inspire and encourage people through the power of story. And lastly, I write because it gives me a voice. I stutter and don’t always use the words I want to use when verbally speaking, but when I’m writing I can let my voice go and say what I want, how I want.
What are you trying to get across to your audience? Hopefully, what I’m getting across is hope. My stories have to have a strong Christian message to them. I want people to see that no matter how bad life gets, how scary or depressing or suspenseful, there is always hope in Christ. I learned that first-hand again with my own battle with a monster.
What does your writing do for the reader? Again, hopefully inspires and encourages them. Hopefully instills hope. And hopefully gives them an outlet from the work-a-day world, a place to escape to and lose themselves in.
Now, some questions for you:
I hear a lot about attracting female readership by having a strong female protagonist. Last year I wrote a book that I loved. Love the story, the characters, everything. I thought then (and still do) that it was some of my best work to date. But both my agent and editors at my publishing house balked at it because it didn’t have a female protagonist. They said women readers wouldn’t be interested. My question is (at the risk of sounding very chauvinist–which I am definitely not), are women readers that shallow that they can’t read and enjoy a book that doesn’t have a female protagonist? I’ve read several books by varying authors that didn’t have strong male protags and loved them (Dean Koontz’s The Darkest Evening of the Year and The Taking and Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story and Delores Claiborne, to name a few).
My second question is: What do you think of the subgenre of Christian horror? Does it have a fighting chance in the CBA?
I’m looking forward to your comments!