I’ve been looking at some of your writing and a lot of it appears to surround Christian/Catholic dogma and beliefs. As a non-christian (Muslim) I was wondering how, as a writer, you appeal to non-Christian readers, or are you writing for that specific demographic?
If someone who doesn’t believe the same thing that you do picks up one of your books, how do you encourage them to read them if you do at all?
Great question and one that I’ve meaning to tackle for a while. Honestly, while my writing does focus a great deal on Judeo-Christian belief structure, there are a few key things that you should know:
1. More often then not, when I bring up Christian beliefs and the practices of the Church, its often more to criticize the structure of the organized church. I also criticize what many people consider fact, when they have no business calling it fact.
2. I do include non-christian names and places in my writings as well; Charon, the River Styx, as well as several demonic and angelic names, which I pulled from various Jewish and Islamic writings.
3. Other than the socio-political issues that I deal with in my books, the characters are only loosely based on their religious counterparts. Take a look at how angels are described in most Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts:
(Hey, what part of ‘Be Not Afraid’ did you not get!?)
They’re quite different from the more fantasy-style that I’ve gone with:
So I’d say that my take on it is more christian mythos more than dogma.
Other than that, I don’t see why someone of a different faith would take issue reading my work. Consider this, have you ever read Greek Mythology, played Skyrim, read Lord of the Rings, or pretty much any other fantasy novel dealing with goblins, trolls, orcs, elves, dragons, or hydras?
Well… believe it or not, someone believed in those at some point. Yes, today’s Fantasy and Mythos are yesterday’s religion. Don’t look at works of fantasy that focus on christian creatures as preachy books solely for Christians. Are those books out there? Yes, but they’re usually clearly listed in the religious section of most book stores and libraries. Mine are very comfortably situated under the ‘Science Fiction/ Fantasy’ section.
As long as you look at it like you’re reading mythology, folklore, and fantasy, there really shouldn’t be an issue. At least that’s how I always viewed reading stories from other religions.
So to answer your question, I try not to cater to a specific demographic. I want everyone to be able to enjoy my work, which is why I really try hard to push a ‘fantasy’ narrative above all else. When I describe the after life, Heaven, Hell, etc. I am very careful about how I describe them as to make it difficult to differentiate with religion’s description I went with and… often I go with several different descriptions, combining them into one.
Readers, what do you think? Do Divinity, Damnation, and my other works have a place in the hands of non-Christians, or do you feel that they are targeting a christian demographic? Are demographics even important when writing fiction? Can a non-christian get the same enjoyment Judeo-Christian Fantasy? Let me know in the comments!
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
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Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:
Catch you on the flip side!
You know that makes sense. As a christian and a paranoid schizophrenic I always get so touchy when it comes to this subject. Take the DaVinchi Code novels for examples. When it first hit shelves it angered me with how the author was using religion to tell a story. I was angry at that book for a very long time, especially when they wanted to call John a woman. But not too long ago my pastor said it’s ok to read such material because we don’t have to view it as fact. Then I thought back to that moment in college when I stormed off after that scene in the DaVinci Code.. Why am I angry? I thought at the point of realization. I know the Bible. I know the difference between fact and fiction. I’m not sinning if I read or view such material so long as I know that difference. Thanks for bring this up James. This was a very interesting article.
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Thx for an illuminating post.