This week, I’m hosting author, Kathryn J. Bain
Kathryn J. Bain is an award-winning author of Christian, mystery, and suspense, including the Lincolnville Mystery series and KT Morgan short suspense series.
Ms. Bain has garnered several awards, including two Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards and a First Place Royal Palm Literary Award for Inspirational Fiction.
A past President of Florida Sisters in Crime and Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors, Kathryn enjoys doing talks and teaching about writing.
She lives in Jacksonville, Florida near her daughters and granddaughter. Kathryn has also been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law.
The Unrealism of Christian Fiction
As a Christian author, I hear all the time from readers that they feel Inspirational fiction is unreal. Readers feel when it comes to violence and curse words, because people use them, that Christian fiction falls short.
In some instances, I agree, so I thought it’d be a good idea to break down some of the complaints readers do have.
Readers are correct – Christian authors don’t use curse words. But there are ways we work around that. In Take Her Breath Away, instead of cussing, I use “he released a slew of curse words,” and things along that line. You can also say things like “What he called my Momma at that point wasn’t very nice.” You don’t have to use the word to get the point across. And in fact, it can be better writing to come up with something different. Too many authors these days rely on the “f” word instead of their imagination.
Another complaint is that every character is too nice. That does occur a lot in Christian books. You can usually tell the bad guy because he’s not a Christian whereas the hero and heroine are. I try to make my people real. There are good Christians, and there are people who claim to be Christian who are evil. The same with non-believers. I believe some authors are afraid to write about Christians who sin because they might see themselves a bit deeper than they care to.
In Take Her Breath Away, my couple is trying to repair their marriage after Ty, my hero, had a one-night stand. He’s a Christian man who made a mistake and is now paying for it with the possibility of losing his wife. That’s real life.
Readers also complain that Christian fiction is too sweet with very little violence. Right now, the popular genres in Christian fiction are Amish and Historical. However, edgy Christian is moving up.
Christian fiction doesn’t use a lot of violence, however, we do use suspense. Lately, too many authors confuse shock with suspense. They go into great detail of the violent act with very little lead in. Two big names in the edgy Christian market are NY Times Bestselling Authors Terry Blackstock and Ted Dekker. Blackstock deals with things such as drug abuse and child trafficking, while Dekker writes serial killer books. I tend to write more toward the edgy realm also.
The final complaint is the lack of realism in Christian books. True, but couldn’t the same argument be made of other books, including romance? Most have the hero and heroine disliking each other from the start, yet within one week, and a wild night of sex, they’ve fallen in love.
But, the point of fiction is to escape. Romance readers want men who are sexier than the one they have at home. Christian readers are no different. We just want them to be either Christian or heading in that direction.
We read fiction to delve into a world different than our own. Christian readers have the same worries and concerns as anyone else. We read fiction for escapism also. The only difference is we want Biblical scripture in our books.
Take Her Breath Away
Rayleene Davenport’s world turns upside down when she learns of her husband’s one-night stand. They eventually separate, but when she receives a call that he’s been shot, she rushes to him. After discovering someone placed a hit on him, she decides to help him recuperate in Lincolnville, Georgia. Can she rebuild the trust lost before a killer ends their reunion for good?
One mistake has grown into a nightmare for Ty Davenport. He’s on the verge of losing the one person he loves most in the world, his wife, Rayleene. During his recuperation, they start to grow closer again, however, a killer in the shadows comes out of hiding. And Ty soon discovers Rayleene is hiding a painful secret that can do more to destroy their marriage than any killer’s weapon.
Here is an excerpt from, Take Her Breath Away.
The rancid smell of garbage coated the Atlanta, Georgia air to the point Ty Davenport could almost taste the spoiled lettuce at his feet.
He was getting too old for this.
He stood between the dumpster and the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, the Glock secured in the waistband of his jeans. Every nerve in his body told him this deal might blow up in his face. Lack of a Kevlar vest didn’t help, but Hector Jones didn’t deal with people who wore them for fear of coming up against a cop.
The black Lexus IS 250 pulled up. Three men inside. Hector got out of the backseat. His two comrades followed his lead, one got out from the driver’s side, the other from the front passenger door. Under all their jackets, clearly, they had Kevlar vests.
What the… Ty’s stomach knotted. Too late to change things now without looking suspicious.
The old dilapidated buildings in the warehouse district gave no sense of security. Revitalization was occurring blocks away. Of course, no one worked construction on a Sunday.
His eyes darted in every direction. He scanned his surroundings. The best escape route would be out the alley on the bike. Potholes slowed most cars. Too bad the same couldn’t be said of bullets.
He mentally shook the thought from his mind.
Instead, he turned his focus to the new guy, Michael Ware, stooped down at the corner of the building. His job was to make sure no one, like some poor homeless guy looking for a place to sleep, came along and screwed up the case.
Hector’s two comrades waited next to the Lexus. All three scrawny drug dealers looked as though they were still in their early twenties. Nothing stood out about two of the three men to get them noticed in a crowd. But the driver had a scar down the length of his left cheek.
Who’d he tick off to get such a reminder? No one brandished any weapons, but each man knew the others were armed. The nature of the drug world. Guns and death. “So, you got the money?” Hector asked.
“You got the stuff?” Ty pushed back a couple strands of hair that had come loose from the camo bandana on his head. He looked at Michael, whose bald head nodded the go-ahead. “I got it.” Hector jerked his head in the direction of the car.
“Is it the good stuff?” Ty asked.
“Test it if you’d like.” Hector pulled a small plastic bag of white powder from his pocket. “Just a sample of what’s in the others.” Ty reached for a vial of an acid compound in his shirt pocket. He inserted a tiny spoon into the bag given to him. Then he scooped a sample of the powder and shook it into the solution. From the purple color, definitely an opiate.
“Well?” The drug dealer’s smile showed perfect white movie-star teeth.
A flock of geese squawked overhead, heading home for the evening. They all looked up. Once the birds had passed, Ty reached over and flipped open one of the saddlebags on his bike. The bulky manila envelope got stuck for a second, so he had to force it out. Hector turned to the scar-faced guy who pulled out a shopping bag from the back seat and walked over to them. The guy held the bag in a gloved hand, a sneer on his face. Ty took the package and handed over the envelope. Heroin for one hundred grand.
“Nice doing business with you.” Hector walked back and slid into the backseat of his Lexus. “Let me know when —”
Bang. Pain exploded down Ty’s leg. He hit the ground before the second shot got off. From the sound, a rifle.
The Lexis spun a circle, spraying gravel and debris. Ty slid around the dumpster away from the gunshots. He looked over at Michael who held his position a few feet away behind the water barrier. He shook his head, and then glanced around, waiting.
Clink. A bullet bounced off the dumpster where Ty had been standing.
Who? What the…? Where was backup? Too many questions with no answers.
Sirens sounded. Loud voices followed footsteps. DEA agent Ignacio Howard stuck his head around the corner of the building. He looked in all directions. After a second, he rushed over. He pulled out a knife from his pocket and cut open Ty’s jeans.