Welcome to Patrick Craig, whose writing has earned him a passel of fans. Here, he shares his passion for change in the publishing world. I agree with him–every character we create exhibits a spiritual side, even if it’s well-hidden. Some of the greatest books I’ve read would not qualify as “Christian fiction” these days, but they still had a powerful effect on my life.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Patrick, and readers, Patrick is giving away a signed paperback copy of this WWII novel–just leave a reply to the question he asks at the close of this article. (And there are more to come in this series.)
The Resurrection of Christian Fiction
Today I want to talk about my latest book, Far On The Ringing Plains, co-authored with Murray Pura, one of the best writers I have ever read or worked with. I also want to speak to the death of Christian Literary Fiction and its hoped-for resurrection—a resurrection that will only come if authors stop letting agents who tremble in their boots at the thought of one of their clients “Breaking the Brand” tell them what to write.
Murray and I are both former pastors who have been writing CBA (Christian Book Association) books for years. But we have grown weary of an industry dominated by easy- read books written for women, about women and by women.
Most of the fiction books on the shelves of Christian bookstores or the digital shelves of Amazon or B&N Christian books are what the industry calls “HEA” or “Happily-Ever-After” Romance. That includes Amish, Contemporary, Historical, Biblical, and all the other genres stuffed in under the category, “Christian Fiction.”
How did this happen? Back in the seventies the Christian Publishing Industry began grooming their readership to accept writing geared for women who wanted simpler reading fare… authors and readers fought it at the time but the policy prevailed and Christian Literary Fiction became a thing of the past. Male readers left in droves and so did female readers wanting more depth. We want them to return.
Murray and I want to see Christian Literature become what it once was, realistic, deep diving, gritty reading that plumbs the depths of the human experience. We have tried to do that in Far On The Ringing Plains, with the rough edge of combat and the rough edge of language, human passion, and flawed humanity. Just like the Bible, in all its roughness and realism and truthfulness about life. And we have tried to show the best of human nature triumphing over the worst. Christ is there in all his strength, but He’s not “prettified” or made into “the meek and mild Savior.” Instead you will see the God who overturned the tables of the moneylenders and drove them out of the temple with a whip.
Look back on the men and women who wrote from this position: Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterson, Jonathan Swift, John Bunyan, Madeleine L’Engle, Flannery O’Connor, Charles Dickens, and many more. We’re not claiming that we have achieved that yet in our own writing, but that’s where we want to go.
When do we stop preaching to the choir and get out into the world where the sinners hang out? If we are going to present the nitty gritty of our faith to a man or woman desperately looking for something to anchor themselves to, it’s not going to be found in a book where everything turns out peachy-keen just because the protagonists are Amish.
Enough, I say.
Give me some literature that will plunge me to the depths and raise me to the heights. Writing that will ring my bell with moment after moment, line after line, scene after scene that grabs me and shakes me and makes me feel like the author just walked over my grave.
I want the real deal when I read. And that’s what I’m going to continue to write. How about you?
Patrick E. Craig
About The Book:
ISLANDS: Far On The Ringing Plains INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS
In the spirit of The Thin Red Line, Hacksaw Ridge, Flags of our Fathers and Pearl Harbor.
Realistic. Gritty. Gutsy. Without taking it too far, Craig and Pura take it far enough to bring war home to your heart, mind, and soul. The rough edge of combat is here. And the rough edge of language, human passion, and our flawed humanity. If you can handle the ruggedness and honesty of Saving Private Ryan, 1917 or Dunkirk, you can handle the power and authenticity of ISLANDS: Far on the Ringing Plains.
For the beauty and the honor is here too. Just like the Bible, in all its roughness and realism and truthfulness about life, reaching out for God is ever present in ISLANDS. So are hope and faith and self-sacrifice. Prayer. Christ. Courage. An indomitable spirit. And the best of human nature triumphing over the worst.
Bud Parmalee, Johnny Strange, Billy Martens—three men that had each other’s backs and the backs of every Marine in their company and platoon. All three were raised never to fight. All three saw no other choice but to enlist and try to make a difference. All three would never be the same again. Never. And neither would their world.
This is their story.
Patrick authored The Apple Creek Dreams series, The Paradise Chronicles, A Quilt For Jenna, The Road Home, Jenny’s Choice, The Amish Heiress, The Amish Princess, and The Mennonite Queen
Visit Patrick’s Website at Http://www.patrickecraig.com
and Amazon Author Page at http://tinyurl.com/megefh6