Thursday, November 5, 2015

Christian Thrillers



My guest today is Luana Erlich
author of the Titus Ray Series


1.     Is there a difference between clean/Christian/sweet romantic fiction, or can the terms be used synonymously?

Although the lines are blurred these days, I believe there’s a difference between clean fiction and Christian fiction, and I would fit sweet romantic fiction in as a sub-genre under clean fiction.

That being said, here’s what both clean and Christian fiction do have in common:  As a rule, these types of stories don’t contain profanity or erotica. While there might be violence in either one, the hostility is not portrayed in a graphic or gratuitous way.

What sets apart Christian fiction from clean fiction is that Christian fiction is primarily written from a Biblical worldview and one or more of the characters presents a belief system based on Scripture. In addition, there’s usually at least one character in the story who is a professing Christian, and, at some point in the story, this character will talk about his/her beliefs.

A clean fiction story, on the other hand, may be morally uplifting, but there’s seldom a reference to the Bible or the Christian faith, and, whether or not the characters are professing Christians or not makes little difference in the overall message of the book.

2.     Why did you choose to write clean/Christian fiction as opposed to the guaranteed “seller-type” novels?

My Christian faith permeates who I am from every perspective. While I’ve always been a prolific reader in the secular fiction market, when I decided to put pen to paper (or sit down with my laptop), I realized I couldn’t write a secular, or even just a “clean” story. My main character, a CIA intelligence officer, is brought to faith in Christ by a group of Iranian Christians. Having worked with new believers all my adult life, I decided to write about the difficulties faced by an adult who comes to faith in Christ late in life. I wanted to show if a man whose whole life is built on deception and violence can learn to live a life of faith while being pursued by an assassin and dealing with Jihadists terrorists, then anyone can do so.

3.     Have you had negative feedback on what you write? That is, has anyone or any reviewer criticized your books because they didn’t contain the type of language and scenes many readers are looking for?

I’ve had exactly the opposite reaction about my books not containing profanity and erotica. My first book, which was published over a year ago, has over 350 reviews on Amazon, and the majority of these reviews contain references to the reader being grateful to find a thriller that didn’t use profanity or contain sensuality. “I appreciate not reading curse words or strong sexual content,” writes one reviewer. Another says, “I am so thankful that I don't have to be on guard for the crud and still be a good story.”

4.     Is purely Christian fiction “preaching to the choir”, or does it have a chance of impacting fringe audiences?

While Christian fiction preaches to the choir—an aspect which shouldn’t be minimized—it does have a chance to impact the unbeliever. However, this is true only to the extent the Christian reader is willing to use fiction as a witnessing tool. My thrillers contain the message of the gospel in a subtle thread running throughout the plotline, and, through the testimonies of my Christian readers, I’ve come to believe giving away a Christian fiction book is a non-threatening means of sharing Christ to unbelieving friends and relatives.



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