07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stories of Faith

Maureen Lang
I’ve loved both reading and writing stories nearly all my life, so it seemed natural to try sharing my stories with as many others as possible—through publication. As isolating as a writing career can be, storytelling is really a way for us to share the human experience, to understand others and to be understood. So it makes sense to write to the community we’d most like to inhabit.

For me, that’s the Christian market. Faith is a big part of my life so filling my books with characters sharing the same faith just makes sense. My stories have been set in various eras, both contemporary and historical, and have covered a multitude of topics. But no matter what my characters face, at some point along the way their faith will play an important role in their growth or happiness.
With the increasing popularity of e-readers, I’m happy to report that Christian fiction ranks No. 3 in e-book sales, following Literary/Classic and Science Fiction (according to Publisher’s Weekly and the Bowker PubTrack Consumer service). General romance follows in spot No. 4. If electronic sales are a wave of the future, then Christian fiction is already on its way to capturing a healthy chunk of the market.

But as you might have guessed from my opening, neither market share nor money has much to do with why I write Christian fiction. I’ve always wanted to tell a story, preferably a romantic one. To me, a romance is about keeping two people meant for one another apart—at least for the length of the book—in a fun, believable and exciting way. I want to tell a story about realistic people, characters we can all identify with at some level. Eras may change but people stay basically the same: we all have a need for love and acceptance, we often don’t know what kind of courage we have until a situation demands it of us. I can explore all of that and more in Christian fiction, with an added bonus: I can include a spiritual dimension that can bring another layer of conflict—one that happens to be important to me.

Christian fiction has come a long way, baby. Gone are the days when characters talked about going to church, stopped to pray at a pivotal moment, never had an impure thought. Today’s Christian fiction can touch on just about anything from the headlines: from human trafficking to drug use to pre and extra-marital sex. While the details are not salacious or gratuitous and there is likely to be a consequence to the range of behavior, there is also plenty of redemption. That’s another thing that appeals to me, that Christian fiction isn’t about judging but about loving—from a human and divine perspective. The best of Christian fiction doesn’t preach at a reader, but it does reveal a level of spiritual awareness not likely to be found anywhere else.
Some of the topics covered in my books:

Available July 2012
Genetic mental retardation and physical disabilities in The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill and My Sister Dilly. (The only way to lighten up such topics was to put them in a romance!) Eras represented: from contemporary to Victorian.
My Great War Books, set during the years 1914 to 1918, explore such things as whose side God might be on in a war, whether or not it’s “right” to fight, left over guilt from war activities, even political and economic choices like socialism and capitalism. Sound too serious? Rest assured there is a romance in each.

My current series is set in the Gilded Age and tackles the love and pursuit of money, which I’m having particular fun with. Thieves and would-be thieves conspire to do the wrong thing, only to have forgiveness and redemption win their hearts and actions. (Bees in the Butterfly Garden)

I hope this offers a glimpse into the Christian/Inspirational Market!

About Maureen Lang:

Maureen is the author of a dozen novels and her Inspirationals have earned various writing distinctions as a finalist for the Rita, Christy and four times in the Carol Awards. She’s won a Holt Medallion and Holt Award of Merit as well as the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. An avid reader herself, she also loves taking research trips to get a feel for the settings of her novels. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, children, and Labrador retriever. Visit Maureen at her website www.maureenlang.com


Judith Ashley said...


Thank you so much for a enlightening post. I'm always interested in why an author chooses to write in a particular genre. Your current work, set in the Gilded Age, since it deals with money (and I'm assuming a bit of greed) seems very much a story for today (IMHO).

Love the book cover! I think you said it will be out in July?

Diana Mcc. said...

I really like the title, "Bees In the Butterfly Garden", how did you come up with the title?

I can tell you love what you write, that's wonderful. Thanks for an inspiring post.

Paty Jager said...

Love the title. I've found I like the newer inspirations because they are more real to me. Great post.

Maureen Lang said...

Thanks very much for your comments, ladies! Bees in the Butterfly Garden releases in July, although my publisher usually starts shipping a few weeks early if no unforeseen problems come up. So it could be available online and in stores as early as mid-June. And it has very much to do with money and greed, so you're right on target, Judith!

The inspiration for the title is actually in my Author's Note in the book - about how I was writing one day and happened to look out my window to my garden (planted to attract butterflies). My only visitors just then were a pair of huge bees. So, feeling sorry for myself, I said "I plant a garden for butterflies and all I get are bees. Bees in the butterfly garden..." Saying the phrase aloud made me put my sour mood behind me, because I thought it sounded like a great book title. All I needed to do was write a book to follow! So that's what I did. :-)

Sarah Raplee said...

Love your title! I enjoyed your post.

Maureen Lang said...

It was such a pleasure to be here! Thanks again for having me. :-)