Wednesday, January 2, 2013
A Resurgence of Catholic Fiction
Right now, I have two paperback novels I received from Canadian author Ellen Gable on my nightstand, which I intend to bring along in my carry-on bag when my husband, my son, and I fly down to Florida tomorrow (Notre Dame is playing in the championship game on January 7, in case you haven't heard!). For once, I don't need to make a trip to the bookstore to find something to take my mind off the fact that I'll be sitting in a chair 30,000 feet above the ground. I have Emily's Hope and In Name Only all ready to pack. (When I finish them, I'll review them here for you.)
Like the homeschooling movement that took place in this country several decades ago (whose brave pioneers faced public ridicule and even prison time as they paved the way for people like my husband and me, who successfully homeschooled our youngest son from 2002-2007), there is a growing movement going on right now to put more Catholic literature on the shelves of libraries and bookstores around the country. I was motivated to write for that very reason--to put out a novel for young people that was unabashedly Catholic and might combat the damaging secular messages that are being thrown at them daily from every direction, to create a story that could be both entertaining and filled with the beauty of the Faith. The fact that I was not able to write a book before I did is evidence to me of God's grace, because the timing was actually perfect. Without the current Catholic literature movement and the greatest marketing tool of all time, the Internet, I doubt my book would have ever seen the light of day. Without dedicated people like Cheryl Dickow of Bezalel Books, I doubt I could have found a publisher who would be interested in the kind of fiction I'd written.
There was a time when there were many great Roman Catholic authors writing fiction. These literary giants enjoyed critical acclaim, reader popularity, and financial success. Think C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, and Graham Greene, to name a few. I used to wonder if the era of the Catholic writer was dead, because although there are plenty of books in the "Christian" and "New Age" sections of our local Barnes & Noble, there don't seem to be any that are specifically Catholic, as far as I can tell. But up-and-coming Catholic fiction writers are out there. As Dickow says, they are "taking leaps of faith as they witness and work to share the Good News through their God-given talents...These men and women are taking very seriously their responsibility as part of the body of Christ."
I am both thrilled and humbled that my little book plays even an infinitesimal part in this movement to promote modern Catholic fiction. I'm pretty sure it will never make me rich (I joke with my husband that I am making "ones and ones of dollars"!); but through the process of publishing and marketing it, my life has been immeasurably enriched.