You may have heard me say that my books fall into the genre of “inspirational fiction.” That may be a term that you’re not familiar with, or perhaps you’ve heard it but don’t know exactly what it means.
Many of you know I like to begin researching a topic by looking at a dictionary definition. In this case, hard as it may be for me to admit, Wikipedia is the best place to begin.
“Inspiration fiction is fiction that focuses on religious values; it provides readers with content that is non-offensive and lacks explicit storylines.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inspirational_fiction, accessed 8.13.18
Until about twenty years ago, “fictional books focusing on religious values” were shelved right in with fiction books at the library. The only real way to identify them was by knowing an author who identified themselves as writing in that vein (my trick was to scour the Christian bookstore for those authors), or reading the back cover blurb.
Then, all of a sudden, these books began being labeled as “Christian,” often with a tag on the spine with a little cross so that the reader could quickly pick them out while perusing the shelves. And finally, just a few years ago, the genre achieved status enough so that it now comprises its own section at most libraries, with a separate classification. Subgenres are starting to appear as well: inspirational romance, inspirational Western, and so on. I classify my St. Clair Family series as inspirational romance and my next books, the Perfect Match series, as inspirational romantic suspense (since the main characters are involved in international intelligence).
The content of inspirational fiction can range from a regular story sans vulgarity, graphic violence and love scenes to serious treatment of social and religious issues through a fictional treatment—i.e., a character who struggles and overcomes any one of many critical life challenges. Another point that Wikipedia makes is that many books written in the regular fiction genre involve a positive change in the life of some characters. However, for the inspirational genre, “the main purpose, if not their entire purpose, seem[s] to be using the example of the change in the life of a major character to inspire readers to think that such changes are possible in their lives, as well.” Some inspirational books incorporate Scripture, and sometimes, a character’s spiritual journey is constructed in a way that draws the reader in and encourages them to search his/her own heart.
So, back to my original question. Why do I write inspirational fiction? It’s not to push my religious beliefs on anyone. You don’t have to love Jesus to read my books, and I’m not using this platform to push an agenda. Nearly every citizen of the developed world has leisure time, and many of them will choose to spend it reading. There’s enough pain and heartbreak in this world, and some of us just want to escape that for a little while. To put it simply, I’d like to provide a few more choices out there that will inspire and uplift.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8)