I don’t consider myself a deep, philosophical person. I enjoy watching movies from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe … comics), I never buy serious birthday cards for people, and I laugh when people fart. That’s just who I am.
When I write, my stories reflect that. I’m not trying to make a statement or present some grand, universal theme in my books, I just want to write something that entertains people. I want them to enjoy their time reading and, hopefully, be excited to spread the word.
As a Christian, all of my decisions are influenced by my faith, and those influences appear in my stories because I don’t know how to live without them. They’re so ingrained in my nature that they’re part of who I am. I don’t have to decide that I’m going to pray about a decision before I make it, I just pray. I can’t imagine not praying about it.
The same is true of my everyday interactions with people. I don’t tell people that my decisions to donate items, volunteer, and be polite are motivated by my understanding of the Bible. I just live my life the way I believe God is asking me to, and I’m available to explain it if anyone should ask.
Why all of the backstory?
Because I want to explain something about my next book (God willing). Here’s the deal: the first two manuscripts I wrote are Christian fiction. They include obvious references to God and the characters’ faith. One of those stories was release last month (Summer Plans and Other Disasters – check it out if you haven’t yet!). The other will need a complete makeover (face lift, tummy tuck, chin implants, spray tan, highlights) before it ever reappears from the darkness. But I’ve written two more manuscripts since then and am working on a third, and they take a bit of a turn from the first two manuscripts.
Instead of writing Christian fiction, I decided to write clean fiction. No swearing. No sex. Just realistic characters working through their issues in life in relatable ways.
What’s the difference? Exactly what I was describing before – sharing my Christian values and beliefs without announcing what they are.
I decided to make the change for two main reasons. First, I wanted to expand my potential readership and publishing options. Writing a clean romance doesn’t contradict my values, and it makes it possible for me to reach readers beyond the Christian market.
The second reason ties into the backstory. When I meet people at social events, I don’t start off with, “Hi, I’m a Christian.” It’s not that I’m hiding it or ashamed of it, but the truth is that many people are afraid of or offended by Christianity. If, however, they have the chance to get to know me first, I can let my faith demonstrate itself in my words and actions.
I want my books to do the same thing. I want to publish stories that capture people’s attention and make them smile. Then, if they want to know how or why I create the stories that I do, I have an open door to talk about my influences.
This doesn’t mean I have anything against Christian fiction or that I’ll never read it again! It also doesn’t mean that I’ll never write another novel with an overtly Christian theme. It just means that, for now, this is the path I’ve chosen to follow. I hope those of you who enjoyed Summer Plans and Other Disasters will travel it with me.
How do you feel about clean, secular fiction?
Would you keep reading your favorite author’s books if he/she jumped from Christian fiction to clean, secular fiction (or vice versa)? Why? Why not?
Karin Beery – Writer. Editor. Novelist. Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction with a healthy dose of romance. Represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media, Karin is a newly-signed author with Elk Lake Publishing. Her debut novel, Summer Plans and Other Disasters, releases September 15, 2018.
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing or writing business copy through her business Write Now Editing. And when she’s not doing either of those, she teaches Substantive Editing for Fiction and Romance Editing through the PEN Institute. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.