I've always considered myself more spiritual than religious, so it's somewhat interesting that I've found myself in a Christian fiction book contract. I didn't really set out to write Christian fiction -- when I started, I didn't even know the genre existed. I just wanted to tell interesting stories dealing with choices and the people behind them. And because I write stories that draw in readers even without using explicit language, my agent saw an opportunity to find my books a home. A Christian home.
I have a bit of dislike for labels, mainly because I've found that few of us fit neatly under whatever label we fall. And so I didn't know what this new "Christian fiction" label would mean. Would it spill into my personal life and require me to all of a sudden be some sort of perfect person? Would my books have to take on a different tone -- a preachy tone? None of that would work for me. I have faith and believe in God, but I'm certainly no perfect person. And as for my stories, they will never be preachy because to me, preachy is not fun. And I want to write what is fun. So I decided that I'd just keep doing what I was doing. It was -- and still is -- important to me to write stories that are interesting, engaging and yes, fun. And as it turns out, that's also important to my publisher. And readers.
When I wrote Scandalous Truth, I wanted to tell a story of real people dealing with real issues and making decisions the way many of us do, not as perfect "Christian fiction" characters. Nobody is interested in perfect people. I'm not. What's interesting about people are our choices, who we are when we'd rather be someone else, what we do when we're forced to be exactly who we are. Do we make the absolute right choice, or do we justify a wrong choice with a thought that it is right for us at the time? And then I added a bit of suspense to the drama that unfolded, and found that the mix worked. Faith is a backdrop to the story, after all, it is Christian fiction.
Choices are often anything other than black and white. Sure, if I asked you, would you stroll right under the video surveillance camera into your boss's office and steal the stack of money from his desk drawer, you'd say no. But what if I asked you what you'd do if you knew the camera was off, there was a good chance nobody would find out and the amount of money there was just enough to save your family of three children from the foreclosure bearing down on you now that your boss has cut back your hours and is threatening to fire everybody anyway?
Yeah, Scandalous Truth is about the choices we make when we are forced to be exactly who we are. And who we are, no matter whether we proclaim to be Christians or not, isn't always pretty. But it sure can be fun.
From Monica Carter, Author of Scandalous Truth, in stores now (published in January) by Urban Christian/Kensington. www.monicacarter.com