Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Please Welcome Guest Blogger Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher

Every novelist has a worldview, and like it or not, our worldviews find their way into our fiction. It’s partly why we write. At least, it’s partly why I write. I want to invite readers into the world I’ve created and have them see it from my point of view. For me, that means a worldview influenced by my Christian faith. For someone else, it could be a worldview influenced by another religion or their politics or a passion to save an animal from extinction or a host of other things.

For those of us who write romances for the CBA (Christian Bookseller Association) market, we need to weave our faith into our novels as a natural and integral part of the stories.
In general, there are two plot threads in every romance: the internal/emotional plot thread and the external/action plot thread. In an inspirational romance, there is a third plot thread––faith. That faith thread should be so important that, if you removed it, your story would no longer hold together or feel complete.

In Writing the Christian Romance (Writers Digest Books), Gail Martin defines this genre of romance thus: “Christian romance is the story of two people with individual goals and needs, the physical and emotional attraction that holds them together, the conflict that separates them, and their coming together, through a deeper purpose and God’s guidance, to embrace in love and commitment.”

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Over the past twelve years, I have had 30+ CBA novels and novellas released (including six RITA Inspirational finalists and two RITA Inspirational winners). Those books include contemporary and historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. I have found that the faith threads in my women’s fiction present themselves differently than they do in my historical romances. And yet those faith threads are still equally important and integral to the stories I write.

In On Moral Fiction, John Gardner, says: “I think that the difference right now between good art and bad art is that the good artists are the people who are, in one way or another, creating, out of deep and honest concern, a vision of life … that is worth pursuing.”

Because the Christian fiction market has grown by leaps and bounds over the past fifteen years (often being the fastest growing segment in publishing), I have seen novelists, aspiring and published, eager to write books for CBA publishers without a complete understanding of what Christian fiction is. But even before they try to understand the market, those writers need to have a deep and abiding Christian faith themselves. With that as the starting point, the rest will be much easier.

When I was preparing a workshop on this same topic earlier this year, I asked a number of successful CBA novelists to share their wisdom about weaving faith into a Christian romance. I’m delighted to be able to share some of those gems with you here.

You may know James Scott Bell as the author of the fantastic “how to write” books from Writers Digest, Plot and Structure and Revision and Self-Editing, as well as the superb The Art of War for Writers. He is also one of my favorite novelists (Try Dying; Try Darkness; Try Fear).

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In the chapter on Theme from Revision and Self-Editing, he says: “Ever look at a beautiful tapestry? From afar it seems like a painting. Only up close can one see it is really a combination warp (the foundational weave) and woof (the decorative pattern). Put them together and you have art. So it is with a great story, where plot and message combine to create a unified whole. That’s where weaving comes in. You must create the feeling of a tapestry, so the message emerges without fraying the rest of the story.”

The above advice is equally applicable to weaving faith into an inspirational romance as it is to weaving theme into a novel.

“The faith element adds another level to a novel,” says Maureen Lang, Christy Award finalist and author of Look to the East, “deepening internal conflict, inspiring action, explaining motivation. It is underneath and in between every line in a Christian novel, often part of the underlying theme rather than in actual dialogue.”

Hannah Alexander, Christy Award winner and author of The Hideaway Series, has this to say: “Reading a sermon poorly disguised as fiction is offensive to readers, no matter what that sermon may be. It may be a fire-and-brimstone Christian sermon, or it may be a sermon on women's rights, gay rights, or any unnecessary scenes that don't provide forward thrust for the main story––such as a travelogue. When I pick up a book, I want to enter a totally different world, where the characters are real, and aren't simply a mouthpiece for the author. I read fiction to walk in the footsteps of well-developed characters.”

Most readers of the RWR already understand how important characters are to the success of our stories. Before I can get into my work-in-progress, I have to know my hero and heroine so well that they’re able to tell me their stories rather than me making up the stories for them. And if my hero shares my faith, he won’t preach at my readers; his faith will be such a part of him that he walks it out on the pages of my manuscript.

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel always. If necessary, use words.” So it is with weaving faith into fiction. The sharing of the faith plot needs to be done in the actions of the individual character, not in his great oratory on the page.

In the best fiction, the faith plot has to do with the journey of the characters.

“To ring true, faith elements must rise naturally out of the characters’ individual journey and character,” says Christy Award winner Marlo Schalesky, author of Shades of Morning. “Given that, I find that the faith elements that arise most naturally are questions, doubts, and challenges to the faith of characters for whom relationship with God is important. When tension arises due to plot elements, that tension then creates tension in the faith of the characters. Exploring those tensions make for a deeper, richer experience for readers as characters struggle not only with outside forces but also with how those outside forces affect their internal journey of faith.”

RITA Award winner Deborah Raney, author of Almost Forever, says: “The faith element must be about the character, not about the author. While I sometimes realize, after the fact, that my heroine's faith journey reflects a faith issue I'm going through or have struggled with in the past, I feel it's important that when I'm writing the novel, I become my character––not the other way around. If I go into a story hoping to teach a lesson or a moral, it is bound to feel tacked on, forced, or preachy. But if I discover, or am reminded of truths about my faith right along with my character, those elements will feel much more organic to the whole of the story.”

"So long as faith is a real and vital part of your characters’ lives,” says BJ Hoff, Critics Choice Award winner and author of The Emerald Ballad, “it will be a natural part of their story. Prayers and sermons and messages will almost always appear to be ‘tacked on’ and contrived if they're simply inserted to supply an inspirational thread for a novel. Faith needs to be an integral part of a character's life in order for it to be genuine.”

RITA Award finalist Denise Hunter, author of Seaside Letters, says: “Every novel has character growth. In an inspirational novel, that growth is often of a spiritual nature because God is related to every aspect of our lives. If a character needs to see that she can't, in fact, do everything and be everything to all people, then she might come to see the importance of depending on God. If she's been abandoned by everyone she cares about and must learn to trust, she might come to realize that God is the one who will never abandon her. If a protagonist needs to learn to forgive herself, she may learn that God is waiting and eager to forgive her and give her peace.”

Golden Heart winner Leanna Ellis, author of Once in a Blue Moon, says: “The inspirational part of a story needs to come from the very heart of the characters and grow organically throughout the story. You can have a mentor character help your main character along by imparting wisdom they have learned through their experience but no long winded speeches, sermons or prayers. That stops the action of the story and causes readers to roll their eyes. The vine of inspiration needs to be rooted in the theme of your book.”

It is only fair to point out that some readers who don’t practice the Christian faith (and perhaps some who do) may find CBA fiction “preachy” no matter how well a character’s faith is woven into the fabric of the story. I hope the majority of readers will enter the Christian world created in CBA fiction without prejudice, the same way most readers entered the Muslim world created by Khaled Hosseini in The Kite Runner, but I know not all will.

As a woman of faith, I talk about God as naturally and openly as I talk about my children and grandchildren or my writing or my pesky Papillon, Poppet. It is second nature to me to offer to pray for someone in need or who is hurting, as natural for me to say “God bless you” as it is to say “have a good day” or “how are you?”. Thus it is second nature for my characters to do the same. Yet even these small things can turn some readers away from Christian fiction, and the writer has to be prepared for it.

I believe Christy Award finalist Stephanie Grace Whitson, author of Sixteen Brides, says it best: “Faith informs my writing in the same way it informs my life. Having characters who pray or ask God for help comes naturally to me as a writer because it comes naturally to me in my everyday life. That seems strange for people who don't practice the Christian faith. If someone doesn't know anyone in their everyday life who prays about their problems or reads the Bible looking for answers to their problems, then it's difficult to accept characters who do. It's only natural to think those story elements are forced and preachy.

“But the truth is, there are millions of people who do live that way, and for them, seeing their imaginary friends play out those behaviors in the fiction they read isn't weird. In fact, it's a reflection of real life in 21st-century America. It may not reflect everyone's life experience, but to presume that it's inauthentic says more about the reader than the writer.”

If you’re interested in writing romance for the inspirational/Christian market, I encourage you to absorb the advice of these best-selling and award-winning authors on weaving faith into your romance novels. Also, take the time to explore the many different sub-genres within the CBA market and the many different styles of the authors writing Christian fiction today. Then go forth and invite your readers to see the world through the eyes of your characters.

A Home for Christmas, a two book novella that is ebook-only from Robin Lee Hatcher and Mary Connealy
Click HERE to buy on Kindle from Amazon
Click HERE to buy on Nook from Barnes and Noble.
A Christmas Angel

Ten-year-old Annie Gerrard, stuck in a wheelchair since falling from the barn loft, hopes for a beautiful angel to go atop the Christmas tree, but God’s answer to her prayer is completely unexpected.

Annie’s widower father, Mick, hated to ask his in-laws for help, but he had no other choice. He never imagined they would send his wife’s stepsister, Jennifer Whitmore, to care for his daughter. Nor did he foresee the love she would bring into their home. Did he and Annie dare hope that Jennifer might choose to stay?

Heart of Gold
Coming in February 2012
Click HERE to buy
Against Shannon's wishes, love stakes its claim in her heart. Will she discover treasure or treachery?

When Shannon Adair accompanies her minister father to the western gold rush town of Grand Coeur, she's certain she'll never be happy away from her beloved Virginia, even though the South is still gripped in civil war.

Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory either, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. If Matthew ever wants to return to driving coach for the express company--and he does mean to return to it--he'll need a wife to look after the boy when he's away.

Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?


RWA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and former RWA President, Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 60 novels and novellas. She is an eight-time RITA finalist and has won two RITA Awards. Robin serves on the board of directors of the Faith, Hope & Love chapter of RWA. Her latest release is Belonging (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins, 9/2011). Visit her web site at http://www.robinleehatcher.com/.


Helen Gray said...

Coffee pot'set.

A lot to absorb here.

Thanks for sharing.


Vince said...

Hi Robin:

I like to think of Christian fiction as being ‘faith-driven’. The faith element is not so much woven into the story, (as if it were an outside element), but rather the faith element provides the energy that drives the story forward.

While a ‘faith-driven’ story can be either ‘plot-centered’ or ‘character-centered’, it's the power of faith that makes the story work (i.e., gives it its soul).

I think all of the great examples you gave explaining Christian fiction could also be thought of using this analogy .

BTW: I just loved “A Christmas Angel”. I found it a heartwarming ideal Christmas novella which brings up another point: reading “A Christmas Angel” made me feel warm and happy. This is exactly the way I want a Christmas romance to make me feel.


Virginia said...

yes! I loved the point about 'millions of people live this way and it really doesn't seem weird at all'. I'll never forget the first time I picked up an inspirational fiction title and the MC prayed in the middle of a crisis. It was so amazing to see a character acting the way people I know do, talking to God in their hearts, especially while chaos reigns!

Wonderful post!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Good morning, Robin and welcome back to Seekerville!

God bless Helen, she's got the pot ready for us crack-of-dawners. Suh-weet!

Robin, you've touched on a lot of good stuff here, from a wide range of strong writers. Thank you for that. And that quote attributed to St. Francis is one of my favorites. Such a delightful image of how to live faith, not preach it.

Hey, I'm dropping off early breakfast from upstate New York. Dunkin' is stepping in today with extended coffee service, breakfast sandwiches and donuts... Gotta love me some donuts! ;)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Good morning, Robin. Welcome back to Seekerville.

I just downloaded the anthology and am reading and enjoying it!!

Kirsten Arnold said...


This is all such great information. I love the image of weaving our faith in God through our work, and letting the characters have their own journey of faith instead of forcing our personal journeys on them. This definitely makes them more real.

Thank you for this post, it's definitely one to print off and keep.


Audra Harders said...

Good morning, Robin and thanks for joining us today in Seekerville.

What great points you brought up about the characters living their faith in Christian romance. I completely agree about the preachy threads that seem an afterthought unless the faith is coming from deep within the character.

It's definitely more difficult than it seems to write that interwoven tapestry James Scott Bell talks about where all the elements of the plot and characters weave together seamlessly.

Your books are a fine example : )

I've brought a tin of peppermint bark for us to nibble on with our coffee. Mmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Robin, your commentary reads just like your books -- imagine that. I like that part where you say faith can't be tacked on to the story. In the secular market, authors have to tack on foul language and obligatory sex scenes and everybody knows it's tacked on. In the same way, nobody wants to read tacked on spirituality in Christian fiction. Thankfully you do an excellent job of making it real and not just added on. My all time favorite novel of yours is THE FORGIVING HOUR: maybe cuz it was the first one I'd read or maybe it was just that good! Anyway BOOK LOOK has appreciated your contributions to the business.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Robin! Thanks for the packed full of wisdom post on writing for the inspirational market.

I'm excited you and Mary have an eBook novella out! I have A Home for Christmas on my Kindle and look forward to reading both of your stories!


Julie Lessman said...

Good morning, Robin, and WELCOME to Seekerville!!

You said: "As a woman of faith, I talk about God as naturally and openly as I talk about my children and grandchildren or my writing or my pesky Papillon, Poppet."

I think the key word here is "naturally." Just like someone who is not a natural dancer looks awkward on the dance floor, a faith element that is not an extension of the writer will come off awkward and unbelievable. That faith element can even be bold and forthright, and yet, if it is a natural out-flowing of the author's life, I believe it will come across as such and meld into the story as part of the whole.

Wonderful subject, Robin! Thank you for sharing.


Debby Giusti said...

Robin, such wonderful advice from so many gifted Christian authors. Thank you for being with us today.

My faith is who I am, as well. Writing from a Christian world view allows me to go more deeply into my characters and into their struggles. IMHO, their internal journey is more compelling and the story more satisfying when I add a faith element.

Jeanne T said...

This was such an excellent post. As a new writer, I'm trying to figure out how to write the faith journey of my characters more prominently. Bringing them from a place of nominal belief to fervent belief as they work through the difficulties of the story.

This is definitely a re-read post for me.

Robin, I have enjoyed so many of your books, and I've loved seeing faith be an integral part of your characters' lives. Thanks for sharing here today!

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Good morning.
Thank you Robin. I enjoyed reading this book. You and Mary did a marvelous job.

Thank you for sharing these insights. Quite timely as I'm working on book 2 and doing my best to weave well. :)

May sends her best sniffs and greetings to Poppet!

Bridgett Henson said...

Good morning Robin,

I'm a big fan of your work and enjoyed reading A Christmas Angel.

You've provided a lot of excellent advice in today's blog. Thanks.

One of my pet peaves is reading a CBA novel where a Christian faith element has obiviously been added to a mediocre secular work. Don't misunderstand me, I do read and enjoy some secular fiction but when I'm in the mood for an uplifting Christian story I want to read the words of a Christian writer.

Audra, maybe I'm a country bumpkin, but what is peppermint bark?

Thanks for the coffee Helen!

Elizabeth B. said...

I loved your quote by St. Francis of Assisi. With St. Bonaventure University in my backyard, I live in a Franciscan Community, enjoying the hospitality and warmth of the Friars. Although the Friars are men of great learning, their approach to faith is simplistic. One particular Friar always used Charles Schultz' "Peanuts" to exemplify and give soul to the Gospel teachings. What a great example to intertwine a faith thread into our characters!

Robin Lee Hatcher said...

Wow! Lots of folks up early. Thanks for the wonderful welcome and all of the great comments. (I'm trying to ignore the peppermint bark at this hour!!!) And Poppet says "hello" back to May.

Also delighted that so many of you have purchased A Home for Christmas and enjoyed the stories. (Mary's story kept me reading on the treadmill an extra ten minutes; I was too engrossed to stop and get off.)

Anonymous, thanks for the kind words about The Forgiving Hour. It is a favorite of many, but I've always thought of it as God's book rather than mine. I'm delighted that after being out of print for a number of years, Zondervan just reissued in ebook format.

Thanks again, everyone. This is such a welcoming place to visit.


Jan Drexler said...

Robin, welcome to Seekerville!

What a wonderful look at the why's and how's of writing Christian fiction! I think you summed it up correctly right in the beginning when you said "Every novelist has a worldview, and like it or not, our worldviews find their way into our fiction."

The reader can tell when the author is not being authentic - when they're trying to write from a worldview they don't really believe.

A Christian writer will write a Christian book - what is in our hearts will overflow onto the page. The faith thread will come out, whether we intentionally put it in or not. The trick is to walk that fine line between developing the character's faith journey in a way that the reader can follow, and yet keep from preaching a sermon. The best Christian fiction is able to do just that.

Thanks for the great food for thought this morning!

Meanwhile, I'm going for the Dunkin' Donuts, and then a bit of that peppermint bark. mmm...

Anonymous said...

Robin, thank you for sharing these insights with us--I not only enjoy reading your contemporary and historical fiction, but feel blessed to receive such "mentoring" from you (even if you may not always realize that's what you're doing, from a distance)!

Even though I accepted Christ when I was sixteen years old, I had already been writing for several years before an editor, who'd visited our NYC chapter of RWA, suggested to me, "You know, Margaret, you speak so comfortably about your Christian faith--so, why don't you include an inspirational thread in your writing?" Believe it or not, I'd never thought to do that before--even though, as you say, my faith already informed my world view. Then, when I started to include that "faith thread" in my fiction, it seemed as though my words took on a greater power than they had before--because that was exactly what had happened!

Christian fiction has undergone a lot of changes since I first discovered it--as has my own writing. Some of the best-told Christian stories I've read haven't included any overt mention of Christianity, but still the Christian world view has come through loud and clear; some of my fiction is that way now too. I love the fact that I can recommend a story like that to a friend who might, otherwise, say something like, "Oh, I'm a person of faith, but I'm not comfortable with all that preachy stuff"--and then they read the book and come back to me and say, "That was great! That was Christian fiction??? It was interesting AND clean--I loved it!" I have to say, though, I also still love reading (and writing) stories in which characters openly speak of and practice their faith. Thankfully, there's room for all kinds of Christian fiction in the market today--and we can all write it the way we're most comfortable doing so, whether with a subtle faith message or a more-open one--because, as you say, the writing will be stronger if the writer is expressing themselves as they naturally would.


Linnette R Mullin said...

Hey Robin!

Welcome to Seekerville! So good to see your face here. :D Thanks for all the golden nuggets! I've been battling lately with what exactly is my genre? I believe I've come to the conclusion that it's women's fiction even though it is totally doused with romance. I simply can not NOT have romance. :D So, this makes my by-line difficult. I've been using "Life-Changing Romance," but will probably have to change it to keep from mis-leading the readers - even though there IS tons of romance in my fiction.

BTW, you're on my favorite authors list. :D

Vince, I like what you say about the power of faith making the story work. You're so right! It DOES give it its soul!

Mary Connealy said...

Robin! My story made you exercise.
I'm going to go ahead and say that's a GOOD thing, right?

Thanks for being on.

Merry Christmas

Virginia said...

Elizabeth B., what a great place to live!

I don't know a single Franciscan but i know loads (what's the plural? flocks?) of Dominicans and their charism is preaching, being the Order of Preachers.

And it's neat to hear how often, from the ones who are gifted in preaching, they quote that same line. The actions have to be the woof under the warp. Just like the writing analogy.

Robin Lee Hatcher said...

Mary, anything that keeps me on the treadmill or exercise cycle is a good thing!

Margaret, I totally understand. I wrote 30 books for the general romance mass market, but when I began writing faith-fiction, I felt like I'd come home.


Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Robin,

Beautiful post! As someone else said, a definite re-reader! So much to absorb.

It's definitely a challenge to weave three threads together as you write and not come across as preachy. I usually go back after the first draft and work in more spiritual threads. I have a good critique partner who always points out opportunities to add in more faith elements!

Thanks for the advice!

Love the cover of your new book, btw!

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

travelingstacey said...

Hi Robin! I really like the quote you mentioned by Hannah Alexander, “Reading a sermon poorly disguised as fiction is offensive to readers, no matter what that sermon may be." So true! I truly desire to honor the Lord with whatever I write. Doing that naturally through a fictional story can be a challenge. But it's also so important in real life to be authentic when conveying our faith to others. People can tell when you have an agenda or just want to put a spiritual notch in your belt. I love the examples we have in the Bible from Jesus himself on how to relate to others and see truths..even through storytelling (parables). Great post!
God bless~Stacey

Anonymous said...

Virginia, hey, I'm a Franciscan! I made my permanent profession as a Secular Franciscan in October, four years after joining a local fraternity. I love that quotation Robin used from St. Francis of Assisi--it's a favorite of mine. I also like "God doesn't call the qualified. God qualifies the call." (Not sure who said that one, though.) I think He's qualified my call as a writer by bringing me to a point where I write not for my own desire to be published and to become known as a "good writer," but instead, simply for His glory. If He wants to make anything more of my writing than what He has, He will; my life--writing and all--is in His hands.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Popping in to say, hey!

I love the Franciscan orders. Elizabeth actually lives "next door" to my Men of Allegany County series, in Cattaraugus County New York. And we went to high school together a LONG TIME AGO!

Great gal.

Hey, we made fresh chocolate chip toffee cookies to 'surprise' our parents come 12/23, so I'm sneaking a plate into Seekerville before the older kids get here.

Tweens eat a lot. And that's all I'm sayin'.

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Robin! Thanks for such a thorough and insightful post on weaving the faith element into a romance.

I've come across a few stories where it was obvious the faith element was tacked on. It's also disturbing to watch a TV show or movie where they're attempting to portray a Christian character but they've got Christianity all wrong (or at least very skewed).

BTW, I read A Home for Christmas a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed both your story and Mary's! (But not on the treadmill.)

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Robin! You're so right--it's important that the faith thread be woven in with the entire story, not just be an obligatory paragraph or a scripture quote wedged in someplace in a style I've always called "and now a word from our heavenly sponsor." :)

PatriciaW said...

I agree that the faith must be clearly a part of who the characters are, or who they become, in the story.

However, I would caution that not all Christians live their faith in the same way, including praying publicly or offering phrases like "God bless you". Most Christian fiction stays away from denomination, but the fact is that Christian life looks differently within different denominations. Not all Christians are evangelical.

My mother was a devout Episcopalian, a segment of the Christian faith that tends to be more quiet in their Christian living, be it in worship or even in daily life. And she definitely grew up in the mindset of not discussing things like politics or religion openly. A person like her would find some of the things others do and take for granted as evidence of the Christian faith to be not offensive, but let's say, assertive.

PatriciaW said...

That was an incomplete thought. I said all that to say that Christian characters should not be cookie cutter. They come in many shapes and sizes and how they live their faith will be different from story to story.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robin,
I know that my characters are always struggling with what I'm struggling with and so on and so forth! Thank you for mentioning that you have the same experience. And thanks for all the wisdom you shared today.


Jeanne T said...

Bridgett, I hope you don't mind me answering your question about peppermint bark. There may be more than one kind, but the kind I make has dark chocolate on the bottom, and white chocolate with candy canes in it on top of it. It's a delicous merging of chocolates and peppermint, and easy to make. :)

It's been insightful to read the thoughts here today!

Jackie said...

Hi Robin,
Thanks for taking time out of your Christmas season to share this with us today! You made a lot of good points. Thanks again!
Jackie Layton

Ausjenny said...

Interesting post and as a reader we can tell authors with a real faith and ones just writing for the line.
When I started the church library my hope was that the Christian fiction would reach some of the non Christians who come to our outreach programs. A couple have said they dont want to read secular fiction now as they find these books so much better. probably 3/4 of the readers are non christians.
Robin I have a couple of your books in the library missing book one in a series and a couple of readers have gone out and ordered the missing book.

Adding gingerbread to the discussion.

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...


Thanks for this very insightful and helpful post. I've always wanted to be a writer, and I remember as a kid wondering why so many books I read didn't mention God. I wondered if it was a rule that God couldn't be in story books, just like we couldn't mention God in school!

Thanks heavens for Christian fiction! I never really planned to be a Christian novelist, but I realized that there was just no way I could leave my faith out of the story. It's too much a part of who I am to leave out.

God bless :) and Merry Christmas!

Cindy W. said...

Hi Robin! Thank you so much for this post. This is definitely a keeper. As a Chrisitian I love when authors incorporate faith & their Christian life into their characters. But I do understand that it could be a big turn off to the non-Christian. I know of one author that is a 'mega' published Christian author that really has her characters almost preach the Christian faith. My first experience with her work made me think, "wow, her characters are giving their testimonies right here on the pages and because what her characters are going through are so much like what people go through today I can't help but feel people reading her books are quite possibly being led to the Lord. It's awesome!

Thank you so very very much for this post and have a very blessed Christmas!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Faye said...

Lovely post. Ms. Hatcher, I'm actually reading Belonging right now and I really love it :) Can't wait for your next book.

Debra E. Marvin said...

I enjoyed your collection of thoughts from many authors, Robin. I'm thankful for what God has done with your fiction and, for you personally this year. Your faith and strength through a tough health issue really blessed me.

I absolutely love the upcoming cover!

karenk said...

a wonderful posting :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Bridgett Henson said...

Jeanne, thanks for the insight. Peppermint bark sounds delicious. you can never have to much chocolate.
I know it's late but count me in for a piece.

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Robin! Your advice about weaving in the spiritual thread is really helpful. It's not always an easy thing to do well.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Robin Lee Hatcher and only 42 comments? That's a crime!

Casey said...

#1 I flat out LOVE the cover of Heart of Gold. I'll be watching for that one. ;-)

#2 you can't realize how timely this post is! I've actually been pretty concerned about my fiction, because my faith elements are not very overt and while I don't want to have preachy fiction (been there, read that, won't write it!), I want to have faith driven fiction that points others to Christ and I worry I'm not giving dual credit.

So it's either a learning curve (which I'm sure is a huge source of that), but also part of my story telling.

Either way, this post was incrediably timely and I thank you for not only sharing, but also gleaning from other authors. Really, really great!!

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Great post Robin! Thanks for sharing your views and supplementing them with other writers! Love the quote from St. Francis too :)

Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Robin, So good to see your smile here in Seekerville. Sorry I'm so late to the party but hope you had a great day here. Thanks for sharing your pearls of wisdom.

I love your comment about the CBA's growth in the last 15 years. I remember the days when I would try to find a good Christian fiction. Thanks to groups like ACFW and support groups, the genre is really growing leaps and bounds.

And you've had a big hand in that growth. Thanks so much for all you do.

Have a happy holiday and thanks again for joining us here in Seekerville.

Walt Mussell said...

I'm struggling with this. I had poeple say the my heroine of one of my WIPs is overly dogmatic without a good reason for being dogmatic. It's taking away form the character's believablility.

Missy Tippens said...

I'm so sorry I missed today! My internet was out all morning and then spotty all day.

Robin, thank you so much for joining us! I'm heading to read your post right now.

Camille Eide said...

Robin, thank you so much for compiling these words of wisdom & sharing, exactly the thing to articulate what many of us strive to do but sometimes find a challenge, especially amidst the clamor of "selling" our stories. Love what you said about the hero sharing your faith - this is what not only makes for an authentic story and an organic faith thread, but resonates with your readers of faith. This is the beauty of Christianity - that we are connected by the Spirit of Christ as one body, and recognize that spirit in one another. I love that about Christian fiction, the added bond it gives, an added bonus to slipping into a storyworld for a short time. It's not only an "escape", but a fellowship.

I wish I could have attended that workshop you prepared for. Blessings to you, Robin, and to you, Seekervillites, as you use your gift for the One who gave it.

Merry Christmas! (from a faithful day-late-dollar-short lurker....:D)


Robin Lee Hatcher said...

Thank you, thank you, one and all, for leaving your comments. Since I'm on deadline (and behind), I cannot take the time to reply to each and every one of you. But please know that I read them all and appreciate that you took the time to read my thoughts and respond to them. God bless you and a very Merry Christmas.


Christina said...

Sorry I'm a day or two late. Loved the post. Great advice!

apple blossom said...

sounds like wonderful books I've read Robin Lee Hatcher and she's wonderful thanks for the post

Muhammad Zahid Iqbal said...

yes! I loved the point about 'millions of people live this way and it really doesn't seem weird at all'. I'll never forget the first time I picked up an inspirational fiction title and the MC prayed in the middle of a crisis. It was so amazing to see a character acting the way people I know do, talking to God in their hearts, especially while chaos reigns! Good Gifts