Box Office Revolution: “What inspired you to first write Christian books?“
Angela Hunt: “I have never felt inspired to ONLY write Christian books, but since I am a Christian, I tend to write books about people who believe what I believe—to a point. Someone once asked me whether I considered myself a Christian writer or a writer who was a Christian, and after giving it some thought, I’d have to say the latter. Christian dentists don’t only work on “Christian” teeth, so why limit my intended audience? Of course, when you’re writing for the world at large, you have to speak the language of the world at large. That does not mean using inappropriate speech, but it does mean avoiding “Christianese.”
BOR: “What do you feel is your underlying philosophy of writing?”
AH: “I write to communicate something important, and often I have to figure out what that is as I’m writing. For instance, I once wrote a book about cloning (THE PEARL), and though I knew we Christians were generally against it, I wasn’t sure exactly why. I mean, if we could clone a liver to save someone’s life, why not do that? So I had to investigate to understand why, and then I had to present both sides of the equation.”
BOR: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a good Christian book?
Ar: “What is a “Christian book?” Is it a book for Christians or a book containing Christian characters and concepts? If it’s the former, well, Jesus didn’t speak only to believers. And if it’s the latter; He told lots of parables, but few of them were about religious people; most were about farmers and families. Lately I’ve been writing a lot of “biblical fiction,” but if something is biblical, it can’t be fiction, right? I prefer “historical fiction involving biblical characters,” but that’s not nearly as succinct. But I haven’t answered your question. The hardest part of writing ANY book is getting started. There is always something else to do, like laundry, gardening, staring into space . . . . “
BOR: “What do you think we need to see more of in Christian novels?”
AR: “More characters whose flaws are revealed through deep, strong pressure. All Christians struggle with specific issues, but often we never see those struggles in our fiction because our characters maintain a pristine facade. We writers tend to be too gentle for fear of offending an audience that is too easily offended. We live in THE WORLD—Jesus said, “I pray not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15). Once at a convention, a womancame up to me with a copy of my book—she had written BANNED across the cover in thick, black marker. She wanted to be sure I knew she would not allow a story (about an unsaved woman who has an affair—with nothing explicit described) in her church library. I understand the principle of being gentle with weaker brothers, but why are folks who have been Christians for years still weaker brothers? They ought to be strong enough to realize what is happening in the world around us, and rejoice when a believing character’s grace (another woman in the book) makes a difference in an unsaved character’s life.”
BOR: “What do you think needs to be improved about Christian books as a whole?”
BOR: “How do you feel about Christian novel writing as being a collaborative effort rather than a ‘lone ranger’ creation?”
AR: “Collaborative efforts can be fun—a couple of years ago, Bill Myers brought Al Gansky, Frank Peretti, Jeff Gerke, and I together to write a series of novellas, and that was a blast because we brainstormed events beneath one story arc. But in the end, each of us still had to sit alone with our computers and spin our own stories. At its core, writing is an individual expression.“
BOR: “How have Christian books improved during the time you’ve been involved in writing?”
AR: “Christian novels have come a long way in the way they describe reality. I can’t think of any subject that we haven’t addressed from a Christian viewpoint and with discretion and sensitivity.”
BOR: “Is working with Christian publishing companies any better or worse than working with ‘secular’ publishing companies?”
BOR: “What are your future plans for new novels? Can you tease any specific upcoming projects?”
AH: “I am about to begin writing the fourth book in THE JERUSALEM ROAD series, a series about actual women who lived at the time of Christ. I have learned so much by studying the Jews of the first-century—it’s been an amazing experience that I hope will translate to my readers. After that, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but God does. :-)”
Thank you for your time and for sharing your perspective Mrs. Hunt!
Excellent perspectives. Christian dentists don’t work only on Christian teeth, and Jesus didn’t speak only to believers. Hopefully everything we do in life will involve an outworking of our real faith.
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