My first novel/series, Dying for Dragons, could probably fit in, especially as Speculative fiction has started to get a foothold. The main character is a Christian, and there’s a pretty consistent thread, even though there’s no gospel message or overt preaching. A few years ago when I was first pitching it, I got no where, but as the CBA has relaxed, I think I’d stand a better chance now. If I wanted to.
I’ve decided, though, that I’m not really CBA material. I can’t really build a brand in CBA because my subsequent novels are too far out of CBA guidelines.
The novel I’m ready to start pitching is, in my opinion, a Christian novel. It is not a CBA novel. The main character is not a Christian, nor does she become one throughout the course of the story. She uses bad language and has an openly immoral personal life. The story is dark and violent, and contains no overt references to God. There are demons but no angels. Yet it is written from a distinctly Christian worldview. It has a very clear good vs. evil theme, a biblical perspective, and much of my research was from reading Christian authors.
This story will never fly in CBA circles, but does that make it not a Christian story?
I think a lot of Christian Speculative authors are in this same category. Too Christian for mainstream, to not-Christian for CBA. So we flock to small, indie publishers or self-publishing, because we don’t fit anywhere else.
I love that there are these options available. I appreciate that fringe writers like myself can find a place where our stories are evaluated on their own merit, rather than on a narrow set of criteria. I appreciate that we can let our faith out a little without being preachy. But I can’t help being discouraged that the market is still so small. I don’t even know where to start pitching this current story, because it is so “un-Christian.” I’m not a CBA writer. I don’t write Christian fiction. I am a Christian writer. And that world is still really, really small.