Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Genuine Question for LDS Readers

I have a genuine question that I'd like to pose to LDS readers - not because I'm trying to start a debate or anything, but because I'd like the answer.

I really enjoy Christian authors Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, Karen Kingsbury, and Lynn Austin. These ladies write fantastic stories with dimension and plot and great characterization. The tension in the suspense novels is awesome - I loved The Negotiator by Dee Henderson for that very element.

Because these ladies are Christian authors published by a Christian publishing company, it's no surprise that the characters are Christian. They go to church, they share their beliefs with others, and they pray when they get into tight spots. For the most part, it's not overdone - these are just Christian characters reacting to the trials in their lives in the way a Christian would.

LDS authors, though, don't have that ability. When we write a book, we have to be careful how much of our religion we include or we're told that we're being "preachy." If one of our characters bears their testimony to another character, our readers tell us that they feel uncomfortable.

The crux of my question is this. We believe that we belong to the restored gospel. We have testimonies of Jesus Christ. We seek to follow His will in our daily lives. Why is it, then, that LDS readers shy away from these things in LDS fiction? If a Christian reader can pick up a Dee Henderson and enjoy a conversation in which a character bears their testimony to another character, why do LDS readers feel that's inappropriate?

Again, I'm not trying to start a debate - I truly want to understand this. As an LDS author, I have often wanted to include more religion in my books only to be told by a beta reader or my critique group or my editor that I need to take things out because the LDS readership will find it too preachy. And they're right - the readership will complain. Why?

If we believe we belong to the true church, why is it bad to talk about it in the books we write?

So I open the floor to you. Help me understand this.

40 comments:

Karlene said...

I think it makes non-LDS readers uncomfortable because often we try to assert that we're the only true church. That is one of the Church's beliefs, so often it shows up in the testimony. Other Christians only speak to their testimony of Christ, not their organizational structure.

That's just my guess.

Karey said...

Boy, I'll be watching this closely. I feel the same as you. In fact, on both Gifted and For What It's Worth, I felt like I shared an appropriate amount of my characters' belief-based actions and had a few readers really bugged. It was called didactic and like I was giving a sermon. What? Every other religious person (or even unreligious person) in literature seems to be allowed to react the way the character would react, but if it's a Mormon character, we have to dilute their faith-based actions. It's puzzling to me because I like characters to react in an honest way, not in a universally comfortable way.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Karlene, I understand why it would make a non-LDS reader uncomfortable - I might not enjoy a book stating that Hindu is true, for instance. But why are LDS readers struggling with it? That's what I'm hoping to understand.

Terrie Lynn said...

I have wondered about this, too. I think possibly we've trained ourselves to leave religion out of our regular writing or to make ourselves "fit in" that we've gotten into the habit of restricting church to, well, church. One of the things I loved about this church was that my LDS friends talked about it all the time in a natural way. I read a Christian author who balances things nicely, I think. Throughout her books, she inserts morality issues, such as dating standards or integrity, mentioning them as part of her faith. Characters attend to church and comment on praying during a time of trial. It's tucked into the story and doesn't go on so long it brings the story to a halt. At the end, she tends to get heavier in that area by helping someone become "saved." The stories don't feel like a sermon. They feel like a story. The trick is to integrate the religion into the story so it feels natural, the way we handle religion in our ordinary life, which might include a conversation on it.

Lisa Asanuma said...

I may be the wrong person to ask about this, because I don't really read Christian fiction... or LDS fiction, much, even. Personally, I'm not usually looking for Gospel when I'm reading or writing fiction. For me it's such a simple, beautiful, personal thing that it's not something I want when I read a book. Maybe that sounds backwards, but it's true. I want fiction to deal with the plethora of "what if" questions that can apply to anyone, rather than things of a more spiritual/personal nature, if that makes sense. But really, it's just a question of audience, and I'm not really in that audience, so maybe my opinion doesn't really matter.

Gina said...

Honestly? I feel like mainstream-Christian authors like Kingsbury ARE being preachy. I feel like they take sacred things like prayer and personal revelation and treat them lightly and without respect. I do think their characters' Christianity is overdone.

I prefer a story in which the character has religion, and that religion affects their life and their decisions, but the story is not about just the religion. Melanie Jacobson does a good job of this and in the national market, I think Jason F. Wright does a good job. I like that faith is just another attribute of his characters, instead of their only attribute.

LouLou said...

I'm with you on this one Tristi. It doesn't bother me when LDS authors put religion in their books, especially if their target readership is LDS. I enjoyed the Bracelet series by Jennie Hansen because I felt like she wasn't afraid of putting religion in there. I'm not sure if she held back or not. Faith of Our Fathers by N.C. Allen was an enjoyable read for the same reason. After reading your post, I am now wondering if these authors wanted to put more religion in their books but held back a little. I am personally not bothered by it, in fact a well written book would only get better when faith and testimony is added. I don't understand the issue others have on this subject.

Tamera Westhoff said...

I agree with Gina. I read both LDS and Christian books. The Love Inspired line is super preachy, but I still read and buy them, even though I get tired of reading about people being "saved" by saying something. I happen to love when LDS Authors use LDS themes and actually get upset when I feel it's been written for the world instead of us. I was so sad about LDS books (I won't mention the author) who had tons of LDS themes in her books and I loved them and then rewrote them and released them as mere Christian(ish) books. I don't know. I may be strange!

Cindy W. said...

This is a very interesting post. I've been reading Christian fiction for some years, and I have favorite authors whose style I'm comfortable with. The same happens with LDS fiction- there are some authors that I prefer, and sometimes the 'preachiness' is a factor in that favoritism.
As an LDS writer, I struggle with this balance- how much is too much or even too little? When I publish my book. I do know I should pretty much expect negative reviews on my novel from non-LDS readers who can't take LDS religion in a romance novel, now matter how little of it has.
I think a writer has to write what he/she loves to write, but I have also been surprised to see LDS indie authors remove all specific LDS religion content in an effort to appeal to a wider audience.
I will be following this debate.

Emily Mah Tippetts said...

I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that these Christian authors don't face this in the Christian community. Christianity still holds a strong majority in the United States, but Christian fiction is a subgenre with a smaller audience than non-religion specific genres. One cuts their reading audience substantially by writing Christian fiction, so even if there are enough Christians who don't get uptight about the use of religion to make a book a bestseller, there are still tons who wouldn't read Christian fiction if they were paid to do it.

Terri Wagner said...

You really have to decided what is your readership? Is it truly and only LDS readers? My guess is those that suggest to take it out are still considering it a book for a more general audience. On a personal note, I even found The Work and Glory too preachy at times for my taste. I think it's a matter of fiction and testimony seem an unnatural fit. If you are going to be purely LDS then perhaps a non fiction approach is best. I have read the Left Behind series and found it far too preachy for my taste. I think it's the fiction/non fiction area that is still pretty black and white.

Elizabeth said...

That is a wonderful question. I think a lot of us are scared. Terrie Lynn mentioned about wanting to fit in. I know that I would want to fit in with the rest of the group. Another blogger mentioned trying to find a balance. Maybe we are trying to find that balance between church and social life. I'm not completely sure, but that is a really excellent question.

Monique said...

I have struggled with this as well and have decided that I will model my books after the movie Forever Strong. It is a movie about a non-member who joins an LDS rugby team. Never once do they mention the church by name--but you see the name outside of the church building when they enter it lat in the movie.

What the team says is this: These are our standards--we don't drink alcohol or do drugs, we stay morally clean, we are honest and expect our team to be honest. If you see a team member not keeping these commitments, you are obligated to say so. If you can accept these standards--you are welcome to be on our team, if you can't, we hope you'll still be our friend.

No apologies for their beliefs--but an extension of friendship.

So basically, we allow our characters to be who they are. My characters --so far-- are 2 active LDS families. I don't go into LDS doctrine by name--but my books deal with themes of accountability, forgiveness, empowering and encouraging people to live well in spite of challenging circumstances(IE: making hard choices to do the right thing when wrong choices would be easier. Harry Potter often did this--and he's not religious.)

Let your characters be who they are and act upon their convictions--however they come to them. I have found my books resonate with people of faith (Jews, Buddhists, Christian of all denominations, Catholic, etc) They want moral stories without being preached too. Since I've come to the conclusion I want a national audience, AND my characters to still be LDS, I use gospel principles without calling them by LDS names: IE: my characters are very big into family time without calling it FHE.

I don't have a problem with reading an LDS book with LDS characters--but I don't read many as I try to read in my genre--and there aren't a lot of LDS MG books. Originally, I wanted mine to be LDS MG--but my story arcs are bigger than that-- I want abused kids (and people who want to help them) to find comfort and courage in my books.

I am getting feedback from readers who were abused kids that they do find healing in my books-- and healing and forgiveness and empowerment to be who God intended you to be are all gospel principles--without spouting LDS doctrine.

I'm not sure if this part helps answer your question. But for me--writing a book that can help more people, when some would shun it just because it has LDS beliefs or characters, does a better service to brighten my corner of the world, than writing an LDS book that doesn't really have an audience.

while we should be able to share the gospel happily-- it's a beautiful gift, the presentation may make the difference in how it is accepted.

My characters make decisions based on their belief systems--my readers either embrace or disregard them because of it. But I am finding that living LDS principles without stating them as such resonates well.

A lot of people don't really know what LDS people believe--and make a decision on other peoples' opinions-- which can be either positive or negative. If is negative--and uninformed-- I believe the reader has been given a disservice.

i hope this helps. ;)

Jonathan Langford said...

I'm probably not a good person to answer this question, because I don't think I really understand the LDS market. I admit, though, that I've been puzzled how few of the Whitney finalists I read feature Mormon experience. We as Mormon writers mostly don't seem to be stepping up to the plate to talk about what it's like to live as a Mormon.

There's a lot of religion in my novel, No Going Back. In fact, there's not really any way it could be more Mormon in focus. And yet I found (to my surprise) that not only LDS but also non-LDS readers, and even those with no LDS background, were mostly comfortable with that element. Of course, my book is a lot more edgy in other areas (heavy themes, teen language and behavior) than a lot of readers in the LDS market are comfortable with.

I think there's often a fear that incorporating religion will become preachy or simplistic. In my view, that's not an argument against including religion, but rather against doing it poorly.

Religion is a source of comfort but also conflict in any truly believing person. If nothing else, there's the conflict between the person you are and the person you feel like you should be.

I like to see some of that complexity when I read about the experience of Mormon characters. I suspect, however, that some Mormon readers aren't comfortable with that kind of complexity in their fiction, even if it's present in real life. I think sometimes we feel that our fiction should "put our best foot forward" in the area of religion--which means not showing doubts and difficulties. And yet doubts and difficulties are a big part of what makes belief real -- and makes stories engaging.

An important question. I'm glad you asked it.

Cathy said...

I've read plenty of LDS fiction that does talk about religion and I've never once felt uncomfortable. I kind of like that there are authors out there talking about what I believe in! :)

Chernobyl said...

I think if you present your work as an LDS product, such as "Mormons in Love - an LDS Novel," then you should feel free to get as preachy as you want. My previous novel was not presented as an LDS novel so I kept the religious references to a minimum and marketed it towards LDS young adults. I still got the occasional complaint but "Frankly Scarlett,..."

Whit said...

Is it possible that we are comfortable at a similar level in books as we are in our lives. I have a lot of LDS friends who often "preach of Christ" and a lot who never bear testimony even on Fast Sunday. My guess is they would be comfortable at their level... ?

JoAnn Arnold said...

Very interesting comments, all of them. Thank you, Tristi, for asking that question. I've wondered about that very question for a long time.

Jen plus 6 said...

To my understanding, authors take time to research and put a fair amount of fact into their fiction. I have had conversations that I can remember being ripped apart in my defense because the first place I could remember reading it was in a fictional book and –didn’t you know authors make up all that stuff – at least that’s what they said to completely dismiss everything I had said. Even though I knew that wasn’t the only place this particular item could be found it was the first that came to mind and I said it… granted maybe I should have searched my brain for a different reference and I have learned not to get into discussions of that nature. However, I have come to realize that people are not expecting REAL - truth and fact and… reality in fictional books. They want their fiction to be as believably real as it can get, yet they still refuse to believe that while it seems real, some of it is actually REAL.
I am an LDS reader and I have read Christian authors because I can pretty much guarantee that it will be clean, I read many more LDS authors because I know it will be clean as well and they have some serious talent! I get drawn into the story and some are so good I’m in another world in my head for a little while and it is amazing. If there is a quoted line of scripture it doesn’t faze me, but I get uncomfortable when a book goes into page after page of quotes and testimony and things that are real and I know it’s real, but I get uncomfortable because I know that there are those out there who are going to completely dismiss the whole idea because they believe the author “made it all up”.
Another side to this whole thing is that I have a friend who is a convert and some things that I have read and enjoy the comedy of, she took the wrong way and told me she couldn’t believe I read that kind of thing EVEN THOUGH it was totally clean and cute, there were ideas that were a little outrageous to a convert that I as a gal who was born part of an LDS family didn’t think twice about. She told me there were people who would never seriously consider joining the Church if they had read this work of fiction. It did change the way I look at fiction, she actually changed the way I look at a lot of things.
It’s really going to come back to you as the author though. If that’s the way the story plays in your head, or if that’s what your character says will happen next (depending on your writing style) write it, if it ends up getting cut in an edit, it happens. Just write true to how you want to write, keep yourself happy with your job in the process and if you can consider the audience at the same time that is awesome. Just remember there are ways to bear testimony and have the religion in the book without directing quoting scripture and having the sit down “I am going to bear my testimony to you” moments.
I don’t think I have finished answering that question, so I may be back, but I have 5 little ones begging for attention so I will stop for the moment ;^)

Lolawid said...

This is really food for thought! Since the Gospel should be a part of who we are and not something that we "put on or take off like a cloak", and we're not supposed to be ashamed of it, why is it so hard? I, too will be watching this.

Suz said...

I'm probably out of my element here. My story isn't religious, but when I write, my characters take on a mind of their own and I write them as I see them in my head. If a character is facing, or causing his/her conflict because of his/her faith, of lack of it, then a writer must remain true to the character. How can a reader complain about the convictions or testimony of a character. (Unless every character is the same).

On the other hand, if the religion is in the story as a running theme,such as every character thinks and feels the same, or in the end, arrives at the same place as the other characters, it may very well seem preachy to anyone who hasn't had the same spiritual experiences or is not at the same place on the testimony scale.
Is the religion the story or is the way the character resolves his/her conflict by the use of religion, the story?

I like the comment about the difference between testimony of Christ vs. testimony of church structure...and I would like to add, culture.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Emily,

It's very true that some Christian authors may be told that their books are too preachy, but the main difference is that their books are still getting published. In the LDS amrket, if you're too preachy, the LDS publishers won't publish you. They know it won't sell.

Britt said...

For the same reason that in my high school English class, where I swear every single one of us was LDS, the teacher couldn't speak openly about his mission or make comparisons between Judaism and Mormonism when discussing Chaim Potok's works. I don't know what that reason is, and I think it's dumb, but I think it's something we're over sensitive about.
For what it's worth, it's much worse in Utah than out. Where I grew up in Nevada, religion came up in the classroom with different perspectives and no one had an issue with any of it.

mormonhermitmom said...

I've read a bit here and there in the "Christian" sub-genre and the LDS market. When it gets "too preachy" for me is not when the characters express their religious beliefs but when the same "message" is brought up CONSTANTLY in the story. There's sticking to a theme and then there's bludgeoning the reader over the head with a two by four; cross the line and I will roll my eyes and put down the book. That said, my biggest peeve with some LDS works is the "miracle/deus ex machina" factor. In some novels, the "miracle" sounds so much like the short experiences in the back of the Ensign, it's pathetic. I know that miracles happen, but sometimes I think they happen in LDS novels just a little too easily.

Jodi Orgill Brown said...

Tristi, I have no idea if this is true at all, but here is the way I think of it. As an author, one of the biggest rules is to "Show" not "Tell", right? Well, bearing testimony through actions is a perfect way to help people understand how much someone really understands the gospel, because they are being Christian. Have a character bear testimony feels more like "telling" than showing, which could make the reader feel: 1) uncomfortable, 2) bored 3) lost or 4) preached to.

I don't personally have a problem with it if I am reading an LDS book, but maybe it is actually a style/good writing element more than anything. Who knows, but you have created an interesting online conversation. :) Jodi

Jodi Orgill Brown said...

Tristi, I personally don't have a problem with it if I am reading an LDS book, but here is a thought. As an author, one of the biggest rules is "Show" not "Tell". Having a character serve others or act Christian is a beautiful example of showing a testimony. Having a character bear testimony feels more like "telling" than showing, which could make readers feel 1) uncomfortable, 2) bored 3) lost or 4) being preached to.

Any time I read a passage that feels like a "testimony" on any subject (fitness, nutrition, how-to, etc) I get a little bored with being talked at instead of being shown and then left to come to my own conclusions.

So, maybe it is style/good writing element more than anything. (Though readers may not be able to identify what it is about the testimony or dialogue that turns them off.) Truth is, I have no idea, but you have started a fascinating online conversation that is making me think twice. :) Jodi

G. Parker said...

Tristi, I think this is an important question. I found the same situation in my critique group. I have a story that they felt would be great for national publication. The only problem was, it was written for lds readers. I caved and rewrote it for national market, but was never happy with it. I finally dropped the rewrite and went back to the original premise simply because that's how it felt right. I started writing main to do lds fiction, so that my daughters could have something clean to read. I have read lots of Christian fictional romance and most of it isn't preachy, but usually has more than the run of the mill LDS stories do. I think it's totally the whole 'can't offend' anyone mentality. Some people are just not confortable reading spiritual things. I guess we'll just have to do what we can and hope the spirit gets through. ;)

Renae Weight Mackley said...

I wrote a Book of Mormon fiction story and my critique group found several sections that they called too preachy. I was disappointed because I felt the way you do. I took most of what they said to heart and revised. Guess what? I liked it better revised. I found out that less is sometimes more because the revised way felt more natural and used less words to convey a feeling or doctrine, which didn't feel like it was pounded into your head again and again. I made certain to keep the doctrine short but decidedly in there, and I believe that people familiar with church doctrine will 'get it. It will still ring true and cause emotion. I'm waiting to hear back from publishers on my book and wonder if they will have any comments about this.
Thanks for the question. Great comments so far.

Auburn said...

I read some LDS fiction and write historical fiction (not LDS-specific) and my feeling on the subject is this. Gerald Lund, I think, does an amazing job telling a riveting story and incorporating doctrine and testimony. Some LDS authors I've read have a difficult time presenting the doctrine and other 'churchy' type topics in a way that is sincere and not cheesy. I think it has more to with the method the doctrine is presented rather than the doctrines themselves. I know for me personally that sometimes when I read LDS fiction where everything works out perfectly and feels too 'rosy' I sort of roll my eyes. (-: People in the church who have strong testimonies still experience doubt, pain and other struggles. I have friends who are faithful members of the church who apply the atonement in their lives but still their lives do not resemble some of the 'happily-every-after' type situations sometimes presented in LDS fiction. I suppose, in the end, it really boils down to how an author presents the LDS subject matter. It can be done well and realistically, but I believe it is tough to do that! (-: Great conversation starter.

Jennifer Jensen said...

Great conversation going on, Tristi. Personally, I don't care for sections of one character bearing testimony to another unless it's a short one-liner. Perhaps it's too personal to *not* come across as preachy, perhaps it's that the only time we bear our testimonies in one large chunk is at the pulpit. I'd much rather it come from actions and one-liners.

The exception I found was in one of Anita Stansfield's book - the one about the child with leukemia who needed a bone marrow transplant. When the mom was in the room with him, it got really intense - searching scriptures deeply, pondering,etc. But she was in an intense situation, with time to do it, and it fit her character.

I'm in the midwest and don't get a chance to read as much LDS fiction as I'd like - I tend to pick them up by the armful, especially off the sale table, when I visit. I don't feel like characters acting their beliefs comes across as preachy, and I don't feel like small snippets do either. I read some Christian fiction, but most of it seems preachy to me. Even if it's minimal throughout, the whole purpose seems to be someone being "saved" by the end. I'll have to check out the authors you mentioned and see if we're on the same wave length. :)

I have a middle grade time travel making the rounds of agents now, and it's completely secular but with family values that mirror my own. I also have an LDS women's fiction in the works (if I ever get back to it) that involves one woman whose family is solid in the gospel, one whose husband has wandered and so has teaching moments, and one who is not a member and becomes converted - blatant gospel discussions there. Outsiders will undoubtedly say it's preachy, but I've never expected that LDS readers would. It will be interesting to see what the reactions are.

Kristy said...

Consider Christ's parables (not that any of us are the same story telling league as Jesus) but his stories make us think, as all good stories should. After reading one of my novels, my daughter and I had a conversation about a good boyfriend vs a bad boyfriend and even if no one else ever reads that book, it was worth writing just so I could have that conversation with my daughter. If it helps others rethink an unhealthy relationship, then as a story teller I've done my job.

My characters aren't overtly LDS, but they sometimes attend church, will pray when in a pinch (because that's what most people do) sometimes they quote scriptures. No one has complained, and I'm not sure if I would care if they do, because I was true to the story and how my characters would honestly behave. (I hope that doesn't sound preachy.)

Jeanna Stay said...

I agree particularly with Auburn above. I think the problem I have with a lot of the inspirational/Christian (including both LDS and non-LDS) fiction is that it feels unnatural. It's presented in a manner that is either preachy or cheesy.

The next problem is that, in my opinion, it is much harder to write good lit that is directly religious (because of how easily it falls into being cheesy or preachy). So it's easier to avoid it unless you're just a really really good, nuanced writer.

Finally--and this is maybe why I personally am sometimes more critical of preachy LDS stuff than other Christian writing that is preachy--as Mormons, we are sometimes under a lot of scrutiny from outsiders (and, okay, insiders too). Because of that, I'm always frustrated with Mormon authors/singers/actors who do things that are clearly against our morals. I kind of want to distance myself from them because they're giving the rest of us a bad name. I admit I want them to be better because they're being watched. I think I feel that way about the quality of our writing too, not just the moral content. I have higher expectations for good writing that handles moral issues in nonpreachy, noncheesy ways.

It's probably not fair, but I think that's probably the way I sometimes judge these things.

JoLyn Brown said...

I struggle with this in my own LDS fiction novels. I also write non-fiction where I'm very open about my beliefs and it's easier to share the experiences when I know they are real. The issue for me in my fiction story, and also in some LDS fiction I've read, is I'm used to religious messages shared by the urging of the Holy Ghost. No matter what is said, if the spirit tells you to say it, it somehow works out. You can't fake that. I wonder if what is lacking is what LDS readers are so used to in real life. So much of what we learn is through the testimony of the Holy Ghost. I've read LDS fiction authors who naturally bring in the gospel and the spirit. Those are the ones that I love. How can you put that in a book? Ideas?

John Waverly said...

I've always thought that it was a matter of scale. I think there are just as many Christians per capita that feel that christian literature is too preachy. One major difference is the "per capita" part. There are what, 7 million Mormons in the US? There are 240 million Christians. So, Christian authors can "offend" the same percentage of people and still sell 38 times more books than an equivalently preachy LDS book.

Tristi Pinkston said...

John, one of the differences is that the Christian publishers will publish them, where an LDS publisher shies away from them because they know they won't sell. So the Christian market must not be offended enough to affect the sales side of things.

Pam Williams said...

What popped into my head when I read your post was "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ..." We need to be straightforward and honest about our faith. Personally, I feel a compulsion to write for my own LDS people, but I realize that other LDS writers are interested in a broader national audience. They're not wrong and neither am I. In fact, I don't think what I write is preachy because it deals with characters engaged in their daily battle with the 'natural man," which is a very real struggle that doesn't always have a happy ending.

Abel Keogh said...

LDS writers who struggle with this issue would need to read "Lost Boys" by Orson Scott Card. It's the bible on how to write about LDS characters and issues in fiction.

It can be done, but most LDS writers can't take the necessary objective look at their faith and their book's characters in order to do it well. JMO.

Jenny Gamboa said...

I think it is just a matter of being written well. Our testimonies are a huge part of us and if we see a character in a book with a testimony that doesn't ring true to us I think it makes it sound preachy because it doesn't sound real. It is hard to put that kind of deep feeling in a book, so when it's there but its not at the right level, spiritually speaking, it sounds cheesy and forced.

Heidi said...

Wow, I didn't know LDS publishers had this policy. I'm guessing it doesn't sell because, as others have pointed out and I've personally experienced, it's written in a way that isn't believable, pulls the reader from the story and negatively impacts their experience.

If that is the case, I'd love to see publishers teach authors how to write it in a way that does sell, rather than just taking it all out.

Maria Hoagland said...

Yeah, I'm probably too late to chime in, but I really wanted to since my books are geared toward an LDS audience. I find myself shying away from conversion stories, but I love reading fiction where the characters are LDS--complete with the culture and issues we have without being demeaning or preachy. There are many that do this well, but the first one that came to my mind was Lipstick Wars by Christine Thackery.

I know that by making my characters LDS, in a way I am limiting my audience; I have had friends who flat-out refuse to read LDS fiction. However, the books that I've written so far need to have the LDS-ness in the book (rather than making them mainstream Christian) and I think there is a market for well-written books with genuine LDS characters...if only we can convince LDS publishers and readers to take a chance on them. All I know is I write what I like to read, so I look for them. :)

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