Can a Mormon write Christian Fiction?

Those of you who follow this blog know that I have a book being released in March with Valor Publishing. The book is categorized as Speculative Fiction because of the setting and subject matter. But in my mind, the book also touches an area which book sellers call Christian Fiction. There are references to Jesus Christ in the book. Lots of them. In fact, the entire premise of the story is that there is a world peopled with believing souls, most of which recognize that there will be a Savior born, and that in time He will come to them as their King–much like what we are expecting in a Second Coming here on earth, but for them, it will be a first coming–and they know He will be born, and suffer, and die, and rise again. Just not on their planet. 

If you would like to read the book back-liner for the story, click on BOOKS when you get to my website:  http://daronfraley.com

Curiosity about how the Christian market will receive this book–one that has a unique but almost Old Testament feel to it–has been on my mind almost constantly since I got my publishing contract with Valor Publishing. It is hard to tell what will be said about it until the book is actually released. I suspect that there will be those Christians out there who will automatically reject the book on the grounds that I am LDS (Mormon). That much I can expect.

But for those who do not automatically reject it, I wonder: Are Christian Fiction readers going to be willing to entertain a captivating story which celebrates the purpose and mission of Jesus Christ as an underlying theme, if the author is Mormon?

What do you think?

I am looking for honest, straight-forward conversation here. Please be kind. I respect the beliefs of others, so I would appreciate it if comments are given in such a way that people of all faiths are comfortable and not offended by those comments.

One last item. If you have any doubts as to how I might feel about Christ as my Savior, please read my short story “WATER”.  I wrote that story as a personal, worshipful expression. It can be found here under the subject “Short Stories”, or you can find it on my website under “READ”.  I hope you enjoy it.

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Can a Mormon write Christian Fiction? — 15 Comments

  1. YES, a Mormon can write Christian fiction.

    The more difficult question is whether Christian readers will flock to buy it.

    I am optimistic that Christian readers will not discard your work out-of-hand simply because you are Mormon. I also hope to submit a novel (Christian Fiction) for publication in the near future. I am watching you and your experience closely even though I am not writing in your genre. My pieces are set in modern day and could probably be classified in the Christian romance category. Neither of us is targeting a Mormon audience and, I assume, neither of us base our story on principles that are solely LDS.

    I am hopeful.

    I am hopeful that Christians will continue to accept Mormon authors with as much enthusiasm as they have Richard Paul Evans and Stephenie Meyer. I pray that your readership will surge to as great proportion.

  2. I think it could be a tough sell because of the prejudices that are out there. And has nothing to do with writing skill or compelling story-some people will remain convinced that we have horns and are not truly Christians-oh well life goes on.

    But for those that can look past that, they could be in for a moving story that broadens perspective and possibly changes their entire paradigm. I am not aware of anything like your story being done before. Very glad you didn't have to Old Testament it.

    I think there are a number of authors like us that hope for crossover appeal-I am sure gunning for it-but its tricky and we won't know for sure until we are there, but I wondwer if say you and I are both successful with ours into a crossover market if it could open the doors for others behind us-mayeb these LDS authors have something I can appreciate, not unlike the now numerous Jewish faith based stories.

  3. It is true that the fact that you are Mormon could exclude you from the Christian readership. You will have a hard time selling your book in their stores. But you might succeed.

    However, I doubt the Christian world will be open to the belief of other worlds waiting for a Savior. If they accept it as pure fiction, possibly. If they see it as Mormon propaganda for the belief in multiple worlds, no.

  4. I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer the question but I believe that a well done book is a well done book. People will either appreciate it for its beauty and message or they won't. In your case, I'm hoping for the greatest success.

  5. My response is, "It all depends on the Christian." Each person has their own way of looking at things, and where some Christians will be hesitant to read a book by a Mormon author, others won't be bothered by it if the story is good. It's impossible to know how an entire group of people will react when that group is made up of individuals, each with their own free will.

  6. .

    This is a little offtopic, but I have a similar novel idea which I have long neglected (I started on it in high school and still have no more than a couple thousand words . . . somewhere), so I'm glad to see someone tackling it.

  7. Interesting question. In reaction to Tristi's comment:

    Apparently this Mormon author can't write books for a general market (in the mind of one person) if she mentions Mormons in the cast of characters. I recently received an email from a person who avowed that they enjoyed my three novels, but "did not appreciate your promotion of mormonism in Trail of Storms." (Note the lowercase handling of that cultish name.) That stated, they refuse to buy any more of my fiction. Sad. Tom Clancy can put Mormons in his books, but a life-long Mormon can't.

  8. Sadly, Marsha's comment is how I've typically seen people react to Mormons. We aren't treated with the respect of Catholics, Amish, even Jews. We are treated with disdain like Wiccans.

    But an interesting person to ask my beat Chip McGregor. http://chipmacgregor.typepad.com/main/ It would be interesting to get an insider's opinion.

  9. The issue isn't one of "can a Mormon WRITE fiction," but more "can a Mormon SELL fiction." And the answer, at least in my mind, is "nope." Much of Christian fiction gets sold thru CBA bookstores, who will probably not carry it. And within Christian publishing circles, Mormonism is considered too fringy (extra-biblical books, unorthodox view of God, questionable leadership history, etc). I appreciated your take on how you view Christ, but the differences extend beyond Christology. I think you'd face an uphill climb to get a novel embraced by a core CBA readership. (Which might just mean you'd want to look into a broader readership.)
    -Chip MacGregor

  10. I am very appreciative of the kindness shown by Chip in responding here. He has a great website and blog, by the way. I would encourage folks to check it out. ( http://chipmacgregor.com )

    And I do think he has a point: CBA bookstores probably won't touch it.

    I will have a follow-up post to this, perhaps later today or tomorrow. Since there are Christian readers out there who would find this story fascinating, I just need to figure out how to find them.

  11. I agree with many of the other comments. Mormons can write, but will Christians accept it? I think it's going to be an uphill battle because of existing prejudices. Hopefully working together as authors we can begin to break down these prejudices.

  12. Thank you, Daron, for this post – and thanks to the good comments. This exact question brought me here. A growing Christian Speculative Fiction movement has inspired smaller publishers and groups after not feeling accepted mainstream. I write on a blog with several upcoming authors of the movement. Technically, we are all fringe, but yet then my being LDS came up and they decided that they cannot officially call the group “Christian” lest someone challenge it. They voted to keep me on the blog, but I wonder if one of them might watch the viewing stats and wonder if I’m the reason for any big downhills. It is sad, yet I am encouraged by the amount and quality of writing out there from fellow Mormons – particularly in this genre. I intend to forge ahead and have faith, come what may.

  13. Definitely keep writing in the genre, even if there are those who become critical. There are open-minded Christian folks out there who are willing to give a story a fair chance without immediately dismissing it just because a Mormon wrote it. The reason for this post and the one on the following day (Do Christians Believe There Are Other Planets With People?) was because I wondered what non-Mormons would think of my book. I have had several read it since last fall, and I am pleased with their comments. Here is an example of one such review: Duane Scott: Free Your Imagination. By the way, I enjoyed your blog at The New Authors Fellowship. I look forward to reading more!

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