While not exclusively, for years I’ve read Christian fiction, but as a Catholic, I’ve noticed cultural differences. Christian fiction, like Protestant Heaven, is more reserved and restrictive. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any contemporary Catholic fiction, because I don’t know of any. It is the unicorn of the publishing world. I’ve tried to write to the guidelines of the Christian publishing houses, but as a Catholic my cultural background is more freewheeling. I can read a book with dancing and drinking and invectives stronger than “Oh my!” and not be scandalized. If the message is the same, can those who read Christian fiction cross over and read contemporary Christian fiction with a Catholic flair?
While I don’t write graphic sex scenes and use a profusion of profanity, I try to write how real people behave and speak, which does not conform to the guidelines. Sometimes I wonder if the Bible would pass muster with some of the more restrictive publishing houses.
When you boil it down, the Bible is a very racy book. For example, we’ve got the rape of Dinah and her brother’s who seek revenge by duping the rapist and his tribe, the Hittites, into being circumcised. While they are all lying around with ice packs on their groins (did they have ice back then?), the brothers murder them all. We’ve got King David playing peeping Tom and watching Bathsheba bathing naked and then bumping off her husband, Uriah, so he can have her. We’ve got a financial scandal befitting the Madoff family when Jacob swindles Esau out of a fortune. The Bible is filled with people who drink, dance, lie, cheat, curse, kill—you name it and they’ve done it.
My grand experiment in going indie is to satisfy this question: Is there a market for contemporary fiction with a Catholic flair? My stories are not sermons disguised as stories, but I feel many of today’s writers fail to take into consideration that readers as well as story characters have hearts, minds, and souls. I’m hoping to attract Catholics who feel deprived of good books that are realistic and yet have a message, and I’m inviting Christian fiction readers to take a gamble on me. If we, who have cultural differences, can meet over the message, that would be heaven—and one that’s not partitioned!